Today’s guest blogger is Candace Havens. I first met Candy back in the fall of 2006 when my critique partners convinced me to join her online FastDraft course. I’d stopped writing for close to 15 months at that point, and needed a swift kick in the rear. Candy delivered it in spades. Two weeks later, I’d written almost 80,000 words in an urban fantasy (that I’ve yet to edit! Bad Leah!)
I learned two important things from that course – one was that you have to keep your butt in the chair and your hands on the keyboard and keep writing forward. The other was that writing is a business. You have to treat it like you would a job – you have to find time to write every day, set goals and meet them.
So I’m thrilled that Candy accepted my invitation to be a guest blogger today.
Could you tell us a little about your upcoming release, Dragons Prefer Blondes? Alex Caruthers is a sassy socialite who knows when it’s time to turn in her dancing shoes and kick some serious dragon booty. But when Ginjin—the dragon warrior who’s tried to kill her numerous times—chooses her as his mate, Alex finds herself in a situation that’s too hot to handle. For help she turns to Jake, head of Caruthers security—and a total hottie in a suit—and asks him to pose as her boyfriend. Their relationship might be fake, but Alex can’t deny that one touch from Jake makes her burn hotter than any dragon could.
Since this book follows The Demon King and I, do you find it harder to write sequels? The sisters in these books are so different it’s not really so hard. Most of the books I’ve done so far are part of limited series, so I think it might actually be easier for me.
Is there anything about Dragons Prefer Blondes you’d like to share with us? An particular scene you’re proud of? Something that inspired you? This book as so many elements that make it fun for me. Not only is she trying to save our world, fighting dragons and running her clubs around the world, she’s also trying plan a wedding for a friend, who happens to be the craziest bride on the planet. I love that one minute she’s slicing off a dragon’s head, and the next she’s helping her friend pick out a wedding dress with no one the wiser.
What’s your favorite scene of all your books? I can’t pick a favorite, but in all of my books there are scenes where friends/sisters are just hanging out. Those scenes always manage to move the story forward, but in a fun way.
Who’s been your favorite character to write? This question is like asking someone to pick a favorite child. I will say, Bronwyn, from my Charmed & Dangerous series. So much of me is in her, and I worked through so many issues with those books. She’s my very first fictional character and will always have a special place in my heart.
What’s your biggest distraction when writing? Life, and the day job. I’m an entertainment journalist, and no matter how hard I try to structure my days, they are always fluid and changing. I’ve had to teach myself how to write in 15-minute time increments when necessary because life gets so crazy sometimes.
Do you play music when you’re writing? If so, do you have a playlist you could share? My playlist changes with each book. I will say that I have listened to Joss Stone’s Body & Soul CD so many times I’ve lost count. Some other favorites are Carrie Underwood, The Dixie Chicks, The Killers, Rolling Stones, Marie Digby and I’m sure I’m forgetting several others.
Do you “cast” your characters using pictures or actors to help inspire you when you’re writing? It’s funny how my brain works. I usually have a character in mind, and I don’t really know what they look like. It comes out in the writing, then I usually sort of find a celebrity who fits that look.
You’ve written about Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy the Vampire, Angel, Firefly and Dollhouse. You’re obviously a fan or admirer – do you try to use any of his writing techniques in your own work? I am absolutely a huge fan! He was one of the people who greatly influenced my writing. I learned the art of dialogue from him, as well as writing tough but vulnerable chicks, which all my books have.
Your bio says you’ve interviewed everyone from George Clooney to Orlando Bloom (there were some women in there too, but who cares about them!) Considering the drooling and daydreaming that’s probably going on right now about these hunky silver screen heroes, can you share a favorite anecdote? LOL. I’ve been doing this for so long, 21 years in July, it’s tough to pick one. But my all-time favorite moment was when I was chatting with John Travolta a couple of years ago. I told him that when I was working on the set of “Urban Cowboy” as a dancer when I was teen, that he told me I had pretty eyes. He gave me the sweetest grin and said, “You still have pretty eyes.” Made my year!
With holding down a full time job that involves a lot of travel and being a mom, how do you juggle all your responsibilities with writing as well? You know, it isn’t easy. I tried to take a vacation last week and wasn’t successful. There was never a day when I didn’t have something work-related going on whether that was editing stories, getting stuff together for a publisher or writing something to promo my books. But that’s okay. Life is good, and I’m grateful for the opportunities that have come my way.
If you could go back to when you were just getting out of high school to give yourself one piece of advice, what would tell yourself? Believe in yourself! You’ve got the goods!
Candy is running four separate contests – commenters from this blog will automatically be entered into her contest #3. Go here for the information about her other contests – there’s also a treasure hunt and a photo contest, along with an opportunity to win something by helping her “spread the word.” And while you’re over on her website, check out the rest of her books too – www.candacehavens.com.
Oh, and by the way, Candy celebrated her birthday last Saturday, so …