Author Interview & Giveaway: Candace Wondrak
Do you have any favourite authors?
I don’t know about favorite authors, because when I read, I usually read a full series at once. If there’s been an author that’s been steady and that I’ve liked, it’d have to be S. Jae-Jones. Even though she only has Wintersong and Shadowsong, I love her writing, and her plot—I could gush about her stuff all day!
Are there any specific books you’re looking forward to in the upcoming months/year?
Maybe this year I’ll finally jump onto the Falling Kingdoms and Throne of Glass bandwagons! (Yes, I know, I’m a bit late.)
What are some great books you’ve read recently?
I loved Wintersong. I also really enjoyed a Sky in the Deep. Both books are books that aren’t your typical YA.
How did you think of the idea for your book? Did it take long to develop?
Honestly, I was taking a walk and listening to music—that’s when I come up with a lot of story ideas in my head (not all are good, unfortunately)—and I came up with an urban fantasy heroine who couldn’t die. She’d get into all these awful situations—like car crashes, bullets, and the like—and she’d just pop back up after a few minutes with some witty one-liner. I thought it was hilarious, and I ran with it, the next time I sat down to write. Initially, I didn’t plan to have it be about the apocalypse; I wanted it to be an ongoing series like Kim Harrison’s. But lately, I don’t really sit down and plot out my books…I just type whatever comes in the moment and pray that it ends up being all right. I think I made the right call here, because it’s one of the funniest, most action-packed books I’ve ever written. It probably only took me three or so weeks to write the first draft up.
Are there any main messages you want readers to take away from your book?
It’s not really a sit-down-and-think kind of trilogy; it’s a sit-down-and-enjoy-the-ride kind.
How do you cope with writer’s block?
I start a new story. And then I usually leave them unfinished.
Do you outline in advance or do you just write whatever comes to mind and edit later?
My fingers puke out the words as my mind comes up with them.
Do you have any advice for new writers who are trying to break into the industry? How long did it take you to have the courage to do so?
Like I’ve seen in a lot of other places, I’d say the best thing to do is keep writing. I did. I’ve been writing steadily for over fifteen years now, and looking back, the first eight or so years of stories I wrote were…kind of crap. I hate to bash my Nightwalkers series, which I published probably before they should’ve been, but it’s so obvious that I’ve grown as a writer. Even if you think you can’t get better, you can. You always can.
I first dipped my toes into Amazon back in 2015, with my Nightwalkers series. And my Nightwalkers series was old. Re-reading it, I used the words Blackberry and K-Mart. Yeah…so clearly it took me a long time to get the courage. Don’t rush yourself. Only attempt to publish if you think you’re ready, if you think your book is the best it can be. Don’t rush it.
What has been one of your most rewarding experiences as an author?
I don’t know if I’d call this rewarding, but I remember in college, I’d make my roomie read my stories. I had one particularly long epic fantasy, and at the end, a very nice, very beloved character is murdered very suddenly. My roomie didn’t talk to me for a week. I will never forget that—because that means I did something right. Call me George R. R. Martin Jr.!
Out of all your characters, which is your favourite and why?
I’m going to narrow it down to this book, otherwise I just have too many characters! In A Mark Unwilling, I’d have to say my favorite is Lexa. She’s a smart mouth, sassy, courageous (and sometimes stupid) woman, but she’s also vulnerable; she’s got anxiety about her Demon master. She resents her parents for what they did to her. She’s very human, and I think she’s very relatable.
Do you draft by hand/use a journal or do you prefer to work digitally?
Type. Always type.
Aside from writing, how do you spend your free time?
I love reading (too many books in my house), and I also love playing videogames. I’m a huge fan of RPGs like Fallout, Mass Effect, Dragon Age, and The Elder Scrolls. My husband and I, in addition to our day jobs (and my writing) also flip houses.
What are the upsides and downsides of being an author?
The upside is that I can create worlds, stories, and characters that I’d want to read about (and I hope other would want to, too). The downside is that I honestly don’t think I’ll ever make enough to quit my day job and become a writer full time. That’s the dream, I think, for all of us.
Do you have any favourite quotes that keep you inspired or motivated?
Do not demand respect. Earn it.
How many drafts did your book go through?
Gosh. I wrote this on my free time at work, usually scene by scene. I think that’s why it’s so action-packed, and there’s not really a lot of downtime in it. I printed out each page, and then I re-typed it into my computer at home. During this time, I added scenes, tweaked dialogue, and fixed a lot of missing words and typos. I went through it, once it was all in my computer, two more times. I think this is the most polished story I’ve ever written.
Which part of the book are you proudest of? Do you have any favourite scenes?
Such hard questions. I love the whole book. I love all the characters. I think my favorite scene is when Lexa and her crew are stuck in the vampire sanctuary underground—when Lexa finds Deb drawing a certain picture. I had so much fun writing that scene. It was just ridiculous, and yet so funny! A good way to lighten the mood that the apocalypse brings.
Does writing energise or tire you?
When I’m in the mood, I’m in the mood. I can whip out 10,000 words in a day, if I sit there from morning till dusk. Sometimes I have done that. I get into a groove; I don’t want to stop. It’s harder to do, with a day job.
How often do you try to write?
I try to write every day, but lately I’ve been focusing on A Mark Unwilling and getting its sequel ready to be released.
Did anybody specific inspire Lexa’s character?
I grew up watching Buffy and Xena (Clearly.), and I always loved the characters who could kick butt, who had sarcasm ready to fly, but who broke down occasionally. I think Lexa’s a conglomeration of all the heroines I grew up watching and reading about.
Are we ever going to be reunited with Xena?
…maybe. But it won’t be like you think.
Are there are any hints or information you can give in regards to the continuation of the series/storyline?
The next book involves a betrayal, and trust me when I say, it’ll hurt. It hurt writing it, and it’ll hurt reading it. You might hate me for it. I can say that the next book brings in more mythology and more Greek gods. And, I promise, Hades has a reason for his actions; he’s not just the stereotypical bad guy.
Lastly, as I’m an aspiring author, are there any words of warning or wisdom that you would like to impart?
I would say, if you plan to release anything self-published, get a professionally-made cover. People do always judge books by their covers. And edit, edit, edit—even if you have to read through it ten times yourself. Each time, you’ll find new things you missed. A badly-edited book is, other than the cover, the most common complaint for indies. Also, it helps to set it aside for a while—I wrote this whole trilogy last year, and I set it aside for about six months before going back to it and editing it. Trust me, it does help a lot. You go into the book with new eyes. You see things you missed. Lastly, don’t give up! Write a good story, work hard on it, and put it out there! You only live once.
I just want to say thank you again to Candace Wondrak for getting in touch with me and generally offering me the chance to review ‘A Mark Unwilling’. It really was a pleasure and I’m so glad I got the opportunity to work with you. Best of luck with the rest of the series and all/any future works!
Now for the giveaway! Candace has wonderfully paired up with me to offer 5 copies of the book which will all be Like I said, Leen and I are offering 5 copies of ‘A Mark Unwilling‘ which has only just been released, so we suggest you dive right in! All the winners will be emailed a digital copy of the book in either a .mobi or .pdf format from the author herself.
If you’re willing to and happen to receive a copy of the book during the giveaway, please do consider posting a review of the book on GoodReads or Amazon! It really does make an author’s day, and I know they love to hear your feedback. If you miss out this time but are still interested in giving the series a look, then why not add it to your ‘TBR’ GoodReads shelf? Let others know and join the experience! If you’re happy to, why not give Candace a follow-on GoodReads as well?
The giveaway will be open for a week – so it will be closing on Tuesday 8th May.
Thanks for joining us for this author interview, and I’ll write you later.