First, tell us a little about yourself.
I’ve been married to a high school football coach for almost 20 years and we have three kids, including a recently-turned-adult daughter with special needs, a high school senior, and the “baby” in middle school. I’m a former chemistry teacher and cross country coach who now works from home summarizing work histories in asbestos cases. In my free time, I savor the escape of fiction through both reading and writing!
Lots of writers loved to read when they were young. Were you an avid reader as a child? If so, what did you read?
I learned to read at age four and haven’t been far from a book since. Some of my early favorites were the Little House on the Prairie series, Chronicles of Narnia, The Borrowers, Black Stallion, Jannette Oke’s Love Comes Softly, and Watership Down.
Let's talk about your writing. Why do you write?
I write to give readers a place to escape the stress of life for a few hours. I also write to create the stories I love to read. But mostly, I craft stories that show genuine faith in action, give a glimpse of God’s character, instill hope that obstacles can be overcome, and remind readers that God pursues and loves them even more than a romantic hero pursues the heroine.
Tell us about your latest book.
Catch of a Lifetime is about a rookie college football coach who breathes football and the bitter tutor/athletic trainer who shudders at the very mention of the sport. As the two work together, sparks fly, but their growing relationship must remain hidden behind a wall of professionalism in order to avoid a career-ending scandal. This story was an ACFW Genesis Finalist in 2014 and is my first published novel.
What do you love about this book? And what do you hope readers will tell others about it?
I worked hard to capture the energy of a college football team pursuing their goal of a bowl game as well as the competitive tension of close game with high stakes. Several advance readers told me they couldn’t put the book down with hearts pounding in their throats at the end so I think I achieved that goal. I want readers to find a satisfying read and fall in love with the hero right along with the heroine, even if they don’t particularly like football themselves.
How do you get to know your characters?
I’ve learned a huge time-saving and story-crafting trick from Susan May Warren and the gang over at My Book Therapy. While I generally have an idea about physical traits and a profession for my characters, I don’t really get to know them until I’ve figured out that dark moment in their past that left them wounded and believing a lie about either themselves, the world, or God. While their goal is to avoid repeating that pain, the story’s black moment will re-open the wound and the truth they eventually embrace will bring healing. So, I ask them “Why?” over and over until I reach the heart of the story and uncover their motivation. Of course, I also find a picture of each of the characters and hang them over my computer when I’m writing the first draft.
What is your writing schedule and where do you write?
Right now my goal is to create three days a week while my special needs daughter is away at her transition program. Sometimes I set up camp in my home office, but other days I take my Alpha Smart to a comfortable chair, park, or the library to just pound out words as fast as I can. Then, I edit and revise what I’ve written on other days or in the afternoons because when I’m interrupted it’s easier to jump in and out of editing mode than the creative fog. All the marketing and social media pieces get fit in around the edges.
Are you a plotter or a pantzer?
I’m generally a plotter. Before I invest hours writing, I make sure I have a solid structure, character sketches, and have divided out the essential scenes into a rough sequence of chapters. I often start with index cards on a grid-marked posterboard but soon transition into Scrivener where I can keep track of the pivotal scenes, dialogue snippets, research facts, and other ideas that have been percolating for months waiting for this story’s turn. Once I’ve filled in the gaps enough to know the story will work, I turn into a “planster” during the first draft. My characters always surprise me with theme elements to take deeper or twists in the plot so I’ve learned to run with the small detours as long as the basic structure stays strong.
Does your faith affect your writing? How?
My faith is such an integral part of who I am that it can’t help but affect my writing. I try to create an honest picture of Christian characters struggling with real issues in life, and yet show hope because God is right there with us through the trials. I also try to weave in some aspect of God’s character. For instance, in Catch of a Lifetime, I focused in on how God examines the heart while mankind only sees the outside appearance.
What are you working on right now?
Right now I’m plotting the sequel to my next contracted novel that is set in a dinner theater. This heroine is an outside-the-box, anti-rules rebel actress, photographer, creative type person who’s about to discover there is amazing freedom inside God’s plan once she gets her eyes off the religious rules and onto a loving relationship with God. Of course, the rugged hero plays a big part in opening her eyes to the possibility that she tried to fit God into too small of a box.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
My advice is to be patient. Be willing to invest the time learning the craft, reading, writing, practicing, and taking baby steps as you build a solid foundation for a writing career. Self-publishing avenues make it easy to get a book out there, but you only have one chance to make a good first impression. Guard that first book by making it the best it can be. Then work to make the second book even better.
He breathes football. She shudders at the very mention of the sport. After a tragedy involving a football player destroyed her family, athletic trainer and graduate student Cassie moves across the country looking for a fresh start, but a change in financial aid lands her in the middle of her worst nightmare. Meanwhile, rookie coach Reed worries his dream career will slip away as injuries plague his players and his star receiver teeters on the brink of ineligibility. As the two work together to salvage the season, sparks fly, and Reed must eventually choose between the game he cherishes and the woman he loves.
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Candee Fick is the wife of a high school football coach and the mother of three children, including a daughter with a rare genetic syndrome. When not busy with her day job or writing, she can be found cheering on the home team at football, basketball, baseball, and Special Olympics games. In what little free time remains, she enjoys exploring the great Colorado outdoors, indulging in dark chocolate, and savoring happily-ever-after endings through a good book.
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