Today’s author spotlight is on Candace J. Thomas. Her series Vivtera has won a literary award and we at LOGI wanted to hear about her success. First, I would like to mention that I like her twitter tag line: “I’m made of imagination, with a dash of skittles.” I think this is such a great way to describe a writer. Thoughts and plots are so multi-colored in our consciousness. It’s like a rainbow of skittles.
legendsofgreenisle: Candace, thank you so much for being a guest on Legends of Green Isle. I’m always curious about what makes an individual seek writing as a creative expression, so I’ll begin by asking that question first.
Candace: I have always been creative, writing little stories and plays and such. Acting was a passion before writing took over. My biggest obstacles were dyslexia and self-doubt. The craving to create was still there, even though it was hard, I still wanted to tell stories. It’s like writing was something that formed in my cells and colored my blood. It wasn’t going away, it had to come out. I had to keep writing. And the more I worked on it, even thru the frustrating parts of it, the better and easier it became. I’ve learned tricks and tools that have helped me.
legendsofgreenisle: Overcoming obstacles like a learning disability can be challenging, but you are such a role model for doing so, and you have been successful in your endeavors. When did you figure out you wanted to be a writer?
Candace: Funny enough, my encounter with Harry Potter gave me confidence and filled me with possibilities. This might sound dumb, but the font that Scholastic used was really easy for me to read (Garamond, by the way). And it blew my mind with its creativity. Any author that makes me envious, I will respect forever. They become favorites of mine. And also, Harry Potter turned the tables for the genres and widened readership. It helped me know more about what kind of story to tell and who my audience might be.
legendsofgreenisle: I certainly can see that. I get it. There are events that shape who we become. Several of your publications have won awards, correct? Can you tell us about these?
Candace: Vivatera is the first book in my series. It is my debut novel. It came out in April 2013. In September of that same year it won the League of Utah Writer’s Diamond Award for Novel of the Year. I was floored. I didn’t think I would win, so I didn’t go to the awards banquet. It wasn’t until the next day that someone told me I won. I felt so stupid. I learned ALWAYS attend an awards banquet, just in case. I have all three finished in the series: Conjectrix (April 2014) and Everstar (November 2016). I also have a short story published: Hawkweed, in Moments In Millennia (January 2014) and a satirical vampire novel: Vampire-ish – A Hypochondriac’s Tale (July 2016).
legendsofgreenisle: That was a wonderful moment for you, I’m sure. I think I will take your lesson to heart and ALWAYS attend award ceremonies – just in case.
Can you tell us a little about the books? The characters?
Candace: Vivatera is about Naomi’s journey in discovering magic. She has a mark of a six-pointed star on her neck and she hides it behind a scarf. She’s never known what it meant, and as far as she knew, she was the only one that had this mark, until the day when she saw someone with the same mark. And wouldn’t you know it, when she searches out the person, Naomi is quickly kidnapped away by a rogueish stranger, Reynolds Fairborne, a protector of magic and keeper of many secrets. And that’s just the first chapter.
I really like to focus on characters and letting them tell the story. I try to keep out of it as much as possible. I’m a discovery writer in a way. I do have a rough outline that matches the story I’d like to tell, but I try to get to know the characters well enough so they can tell me the story. It’s just a lot of fun writing that way.
Naomi’s story came to me in an early morning brain take-over. I woke up with the idea and could not rest until I had filled in the details to Naomi’s life and mystery.
legendsofgreenisle: I think you and I write in similar style. My characters take charge of the story too. I always feel my writer’s block is usually because they are all off on a cruise or playing a card game.
Where do you believe you will be in five years?
Candace: I have been in the publishing world for a while and I feel that I just barely found my stride. I’ve been dabbling in other aspects of publishing, becoming a freelance editor and venturing into book art. Right now, my only editing commitment is to the Billy Blacksmith series by author Ben Ireland. There are eight books planned in the series, and that could easily fill up five years, though I can’t say I will be with them all, but I really hope I will. It’s very fulfilling being part of this project. It’s a great series.
There are always more books. I’m currently exploring doing companion novels to my Vivatera series as well. There is a lot that goes into developing a world from scratch, and I think there are stories that could be told. I also have several ideas being fleshed out. I may send out a book of poetry. I know, right? Or a magical realism romance. That sounds super ambitious. I love my Hawkweed story and though it is a novella, I think it has series potential. The world is FULL of stories. I hope I can tell them all.
legendsofgreenisle: Candace, you are so creative and seem to have a detailed outline of where you are headed. We here at LOGI wish you the best in all you do. Before you leave, how can our readers find you or your books?
Candace: I have links to everything on my website: candacejthomas.com and I try to keep an entertaining and active blog, too. It’s mostly random writing stuff, but I like being funny and geeking out. I’m kinda nerdy, and I like to fangirl at things. My hometown of Salt Lake has their own Comic Con, Sept. 21-23. I’ll be posting all about it. I highly recommend the Billy Blacksmith books as well. It’s my favorite series right now. Vampire-ish is now on audio, which is way fun. I’m also offering a free short story, it’s a fairy tale, on Instafreebie, if anyone would like to join my mailing list and keep tabs on my silly adventures.
legendsofgreenisle: Thank you again, Candace, for being our guest today. We look forward to seeing more from you in the future.