Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Candy Crum gives us a gift

Candy Crum
Will you share a little about The Eternal Gift with us?
The book centers around Kailah, a 20 year old woman who lives a very busy life as a nursing student as well as an ER tech (Certified Nursing Assistant in an ER). When she meets a new physician she begins having strange visions and panic attacks. She soon finds herself in the middle of a war between Vampires and Immortals that has been ongoing for the better part of 3,000 years. She learns that she is the descendant of a long line of Immortals but that her great-great grandmother commissioned a Native American tribe to use their magic to break the link between herself and her family because she couldn’t take running from them any longer. Her family is filled with cruel Immortals that will stop at nothing to annihilate the Vampire Race – though most do not deserve it. Because the powers were passed from generation to generation down to Kailah without ever having been tapped into, now that they have awaken, Kailah is believed to be the most powerful Immortal to ever exist – except she has no idea how to use her abilities yet. The Vampires want to use her to kill the Immortals; the Immortals want to use her power to destroy the Vampires. But there are the innocents out there that only want to help Kailah do what she knows is right.

What are your current projects?
Currently I am working on the sequel to TEG. It will be titled The Eternal Echo and I am hoping for a mid to late November 2011 release. I am also getting ready to start laying out the design (with an amazing artist/designer friend of mine named Jodi Lane) for a graphic novel based off of the first novel. I am hoping that it goes well enough that Jodi and I can create one for every book. I think this would be so much fun to do!

What do you consider to be your best accomplishment in writing?
My best accomplishment is being published. It doesn’t even matter if it sells just one more copy or a billion more (though I hope for somewhere in between!). All that matters is that I can officially say that I did something a lot of people won’t be able to do. I think (and hope all do) that everyone should have that moment in their life. When they do something they know not many others can do, so they can carry that pride with them. Whether it’s being a nurse or doctor and saving a life, or writing a book, or selling a painting, or inventing something, or anything at all your mind can dream up. Everyone should have that moment of happiness and self fulfillment.

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Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
There is a lot of me in Kailah. And I wrote it that way because I am living vicariously through her. I want everyone to know that your life can change in an instant. You may not be living up to your true potential and you won’t ever know that unless you do something to get there. In real life, it was my writing. That is how I am living (or trying to!) up to my true potential. I am learning more and more all of the time about writing technique and how to improve.  If you look inside yourself, there is something in there no one else has that you haven’t tapped into yet. Finding it is the mystery and most people get overwhelmed trying to find it. I’m 26 years old and just now getting to know my better side. It takes time. Don’t get discouraged around 18 or 19 years old and burn out thinking it will never get better. That’s how you get stuck! Take whatever you have and build from it. That’s my message from Kailah. She starts off in this life of hers where she feels ‘stuck.’ Eventually, when she realized who and what she is, it shocks her so greatly that she is just in a state of darkness. She feels she can’t go up and can’t go down. But something big happens to her that forces her to grow and once she sees what life means to her, she forces herself to deal and build off of what she can already do or what she knows.

Do you have a ritual prior to writing?
I usually don’t do anything special when I start to write (though maybe I should!). When I begin a new project, I sit down and make a timeline. I make a list of 20 or so things I expect to happen and an ‘estimated’ ending. Once I have that list of 20 or so things, they all become their own chapter (if they are ‘major’ ideas). Once I get all those into their own chapter categories, I begin building off of those and writing in smaller ideas. I do this because I began a novel seven or eight years ago and I made it to chapter 6 because I was just writing when I sat down. I had no plan, no timeline, nothing. I got lost and writer’s block settled in and it made it nearly impossible. So that is why I take so much time coming up with the initial ideas!

Are your characters based on people you know?
Kailah is more or less myself but named after a beautiful girl I used to work with named Kailah Clark. She is so easy to write because I’m so sarcastic and we share the same sense of humor. Amanda (Kailah’s sister) is based off of my sister Amanda. Rachel is loosely based off of a couple of friends of mine. Not one in particular but a jumble of three of them all together. Aeric, Brett, Khanae, and Sayen are all figments of my imagination. I didn’t really have anyone in mind when I wrote them, which is good because I want them to have their own attitudes. Kailah’s great-great grandfather (who remains nameless in the novel) is based off of my own great grandfather. I didn’t know him. I never even saw a picture of him. But I remember my grandfather telling me about him and the powers he had as a Native American man and it gave me a mental image of him. It’s probably way off, but I hope that he understands and finds honor in the strong man I portrayed in his image.

How can writers improve the writing experience?
My biggest advice is to start with the layout. Please, just make the layout so you know where your story is headed. Even if “well it’s all in my head and I know it front to back.” It doesn’t matter. Write it all down. Do not start editing until the book is done. You will bore yourself and slow yourself down and losing momentum can be a bad thing. Focus on your story first. You can always rewrite later. I always leave the last chapter I wrote open so that when I start the new one I can go back and remember exactly what I wrote (since its usually a few days between writing sessions). It’s also how you can keep the flow going nicely in your book. It will have less ‘chops’ going through.

Find out more about Candy Crum in the links below.

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