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Candace Havens is a sixteen-year veteran of the entertainment industry. In addition to writing countless columns on everything Hollywood, she has published a biography of Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and is a radio personality in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
An Interview with Candace Havens
PNR: Have you always wanted to be a writer, what led you to pursue writing as a career?
Candy: I’ve always loved reading books, I don’t know about writing one. I didn’t think about being a journalist until I was in college and my dad suggested it as a major. I was confused about what I wanted to do, and he said, “You’ve always written for the school papers, why not journalism?” I’ve been writing columns about entertainment for a long time, but the fiction thing came about three years ago. I wanted to see if I could do it, and now I can’t seem to stop making up stories. (Smile)
PNR: How do you manage to balance your writing and personal time? What do you enjoy doing when you are not writing?
Candy: That’s a tough one for me. I have a job as a columnist, I’m also on the radio and I write fiction. I don’t sleep much and I’m lucky that I love what I do. That’s my way of saying I don’t have much free time. I haven’t had a vacation in 12 years, though I’m working on that. I do make time for my kids, I never miss a performance or a game, and since most of what I do is from home, I’m here for them. When I’m not writing, I’m reading, watching TV or films. Of course, those last two things are part of the day job as a TV and film critic for radio and print.
PNR: What is the best part about being a writer? The most frustrating?
Candy: The best is when you type that last word, on the last page of a novel and you think, “Holy, crap, I did it.” That’s an amazing feeling. Or that moment in the middle of your story when it just sings, and you know you are on the right track.
The most frustrating is the business side of things. I don’t like keeping up with all the little details. I need to sell a lot of books so I can’t afford an assistant to take care of all of that. (Smile)
PNR: Where do you get the ideas for your books? Do you outline or “go with the flow” when writing?
Candy: As for the ideas, they just come to me. Sometimes before I go to sleep, or when I’m driving, story ideas pop into my head. I’ll see a character in a situation and then the story sort of weaves around that. I get inspiration from everything.
There are times when I’ve written by the seat of my pants with no preparation, and other times when I’ve used a synopsis. My editor at Berkley likes some kind of idea of where I’m going before I begin, so I do a short synopsis for her. But it’s not much. I usually know my characters and where they need to end up, and then I sit down and write.
PNR: Which author(s) is your favorite? And who has most influenced your work?Which books are currently in your TBR pile?
Candy: Wow! Picking favorites is tough. That’s like choosing a favorite child. I was influenced by Janet Evanovich, Laurell K. Hamilton and Nora Roberts. I didn’t discover Mary Janice Davidson until after I’d sold my first book, but she’s absolutely become a favorite. Jodi Thomas, Geralyn Dawson, Ronda Thompson, Jennifer Archer, Britta Coleman, geez, I can’t name them all.
PNR: You have published non-fiction in the Smart Pop series, could you tell about these projects?
Candy: Sure. I wrote the biography, “Joss Whedon: The Genius Behind Buffy,” and have essays in “Five Seasons of Angel” and “Alias Assumed: Sex, Lies & SD-6). I love television and it’s fun for me to write about my favorite shows. I sort of freak the folks at Benbella Books, who publish the Smart Pop series, out because I always have a weird way of looking at things, but so far it has worked pretty well.
PNR: Your first novel, Charmed & Dangerous, was a hit with readers and reviewers; could you tell us about the publication of your book? Where did you get the idea for this novel?
Candy: The idea for Charmed & Dangerous came from me writing so much about Joss Whedon who created “Buffy” and several of my favorite TV shows, and also J.J. Abrams who did “Alias,” “Felicity” and “Lost.” These guys create tough chicks, who can be so amazingly strong and at the same time very vulnerable.
As for the idea, I’ve always been fascinated by witches, and I wanted to write one who was really powerful and good at her job, but had a tough time in the love department.
PNR: How does it feel to have such positive recognition for your first novel?
Candy: Absolutely amazing. Here’s the thing. First, you can’t believe a publisher bought your book. Then you can’t believe readers bought it and actually liked it. It still freaks me out a little. I’m so very, very grateful.
PNR: The much anticipated second book in the “Charmed” series, CHARMED & READY, hit the bookstores in September 06. Can you tell readers what mischief Bronwyn is up to in this latest offering?
Candy: It’s so much fun. This time around Bronwyn has to protect a British rock star, Zane, who happens to be one of the sexiest men on the planet. Of course this doesn’t set well with the love of her life, Dr. Sam, who is back in Sweet, Texas wondering why Bronwyn and Zane keep showing up in compromising positions in the tabloids. Then she ends up in Los Angeles with her demon-slaying friend Simone, and it’s a hoot. What happens when you mix a powerful witch, lethal demon slayer and sexy rock star? Crazy, crazy stuff happens. I have to admit this book made me laugh out loud and cry while I was writing it. I hope it does the same for readers.
PNR: Bronwyn is such a wonderfully witty character that readers have fallen in love with. What is it about Bronwyn that has captured the hearts of readers?
Candy: I think it’s that even though she’s one of the most powerful women on the planet, she has the same insecurities as the rest of us. We can relate to her and the troubles she goes through. I write these crazy situations and stories for my characters, but what they are going through is something all of us must deal with at times. Bronwyn is relatable.
PNR: She tells her story in first person; what are the challenges you face in writing from this viewpoint? Do you believe Bronwyn could effectively tell her story in the more traditional third person viewpoint?
Candy: First person is the easiest viewpoint for me to write in, and Bronwyn’s voice is so strong in my head, I can’t imagine doing it differently.
PNR: There were many humorous scenes in Charmed & Dangerous and Charmed & Ready; do you enjoy using humor in your writing?
Candy: I do enjoy the humor. I’ve noticed it sort of slips into everything I do. I think a few light-hearted moments give the reader a rest from all the tension.
PNR: What are your plans for the “Charmed” series?
Candy: Well, the third book comes out in June 2007 and it’s called Charmed & Deadly. We haven’t gone past that as far as planning, though I do have a proposal into my editor right now. I have many more Bronwyn stories in my head, but to be honest it depends on the sales of the books. If they do well, the publisher will ask for more, and I sure want to write them.
PNR: In your opinion, what do you believe accounts for the sudden interest in all things paranormal in movies, books and television?
Candy: It’s simple, the real world is kind of hard to take right now, and people need fantasy in their lives. I know it’s why I read so much paranormal. I think the genre also allows writers to step out and do something really wild and wonderful.
PNR: Why do you think the "witch" is such a popular character in the paranormal romance genre?
Candy: That seems to be fairly recent. When I wrote Bronwyn, I hadn’t really seen many witches in my fiction. I know I’ve been fascinated by them since “Bewitched.” (The TV series) I can’t tell you how long I would stand in front of a mirror as a kid and try to wiggle my nose. I actually haven’t read many witch books beyond my own, and Yasmine Galenorn’s “Witchling,” so I guess I need to go buy some.
PNR: Are you planning to continue writing in this genre? What is your favorite genre to write? Is there a genre you would like to try but haven’t?
Candy: I love paranormal and plan to do many more books in the genre. It is my favorite. I think I might like to write a contemporary gothic. I have a great idea for one. And I’m trying to step into the world of Young Adult.
PNR: Could you tell us about your current projects, what can readers expect to see in the coming months?
Candy: I mentioned Charmed & Deadly, that’s in June. I’m in an anthology that’s coming out Feb. 2007, but we don’t have everything finalized so I can’t talk about it yet. I’m working on a Young Adult paranormal, that gothic I mentioned and hopefully a book about one of Bron’s friends. We’ll see.
PNR: Thank you Candace, for taking time out to speak with us; where can readers find out more about your work?
Candy: This was so much fun. You can check out my website www.candacehavens.com you’ll find everything you need on there including the blog, calendar and writing workshops. I teach free writing classes online every month, and you can sign up on my website. E-mail me people. I want to hear from you. (Smile)
Buy it Now!
September 5, 2006
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& READY Monday, 5 PM - Greenwich Mean Time
I'm so bad at this man thing. After spending most my life single (for witches it's practically an occupational hazard) I finally found someone to love. OK, so then he got killed, but he's recuperating nicely. And I should be home, nursing him—maybe just a little bit naughtily—back to health.
But no. The Prime Minister asked if I could look after this rock star buddy of his, Zane. Creepy Goth guys in cloaks keep showing up at his concerts and zapping his mojo. Hmm, smells like teen warlock to me. Anyway, I owe the PM, and Zane is fun, too—I mean, what girl wouldn't want to hang with the hottest man in music? How was I to know the press would be lying in wait when we stumbled out to his limo?
Look, everyone has vices. Right now, I'd like to indulge in one of mine and blow some people up so I can get back to my sweetie in Texas. But if these caped dudes don't show themselves before another paparazzi shot of Zane and me hits the tabloids, I may not have a boyfriend to go home to...Buy it Now! Berkley Pub Group
September 6, 2005
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CHARMED & DANGEROUS When Bronwyn turned twenty she took the oath to protect, and for the last five years she's kept that promise, working as a kind of one-witch secret service to the British Prime Minister. Her arsenal includes a combination of potions, spells, explosions, mind-reading tricks, and general butt-kicking skills. But Bronwyn has a soft side, too—especially when it comes to Dr. Sam, the favorite physician of her new hometown, Sweet, Texas. He's smart, funny, adorable, everything she could want in a man. Except he's also a warlock—a big no-no in Bronwyn's book of dating. Being a witch is definitely getting in the way of her sex life. If zapping evil jerks is easy, why is finding a boyfriend so hard?non-fiction by Candace Havens
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