image: header
image: gownflare

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Spotlight on Candace Calvert and Critical Care


CANDACE CALVERT is an ER nurse who landed on the "other side of the stethoscope" after the equestrian accident that broke her neck and convinced her love, laughter--and faith--are the very best medicines of all. The inspirational account of her accident and recovery appears in Chicken Soup for the Nurse’s Soul, and launched her writing career.

The author of a madcap cruise mystery series in the secular market, Candace now eagerly follows her heart to write Christian fiction for Tyndale House. Her new medical drama series offers readers a chance to "scrub in" on the exciting world of emergency medicine, along with charismatic characters, pulse-pounding action, tender romance, humor, suspense--and a soul soothing prescription for hope.

Born in Northern California and the mother of two, Candace now lives in the Hill Country of Texas. She enjoys cruise travel, Bible study, bird watching, hiking, gardening, cooking, and being her husband’s biggest karaoke fan.

by Candace Calvert
Published by Tyndale House


After her brother dies in a trauma room, nurse Claire Avery can no longer face the ER. She’s determined to make a fresh start--new hospital, new career in nursing education--move forward, no turning back. But her plans fall apart when she’s called to offer stress counseling for medical staff after a heartbreaking day care center explosion. Worse, she’s forced back to the ER, where she clashes with Logan Caldwell, a doctor who believes touchy-feely counseling is a waste of time. He demands his staff be as tough as he is. Yet he finds himself drawn to this nurse educator . . . who just might teach him the true meaning of healing.

Buy Your Copy of Critical Care today!


1. This is your debut novel. Congratulations! What gave you the inspiration for this story?

Like my heroine Claire Avery, I was a long time ER nurse. I also acted as a peer counselor for Critical Incident Stress—part of a team trained to support medical and rescue workers in the emotional aftermath of catastrophic disasters such as 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. And with the less dramatic but no less harmful cumulative effects of “burnout.” Very much a concept of “healing the healers.” It bothered me that medical TV shows are so very popular but rarely address issues of faith when, in truth, countless prayers are sent heavenward from hospitals by patients, family members, and medical staff. I wanted to help "Grey’s Anatomy find its soul"!

2. How much of your own experiences influenced your characters? What aspects became traits that are theirs and theirs alone?

My experiences in the ER (and as someone who has experienced grief, loss, and a renewal of faith) absolutely influenced the dramatic struggles that the characters face on the pages of Critical Care.

I’m a goal-oriented, list-making planner: which undoubtedly spurred Claire Avery’s unwavering drive to plot her entire future out on spread sheets—and expect God to give His stamp of approval. I was a jogger, and she’s always looking for that soothing endorphin rush that comes after her runs.

I like country music, and spent wonderful summers at Lake Tahoe in northern California: Dr. Logan Caldwell escapes stress by jumping on his Harley and heading into the Sierra Mountains. And he’s not half bad at the Texas Two Step.

3. If one of your characters were an ice cream flavor, what would he/she be and why?

Amazing question! Let’s see . . .

Nurse Claire Avery would be Neopolitan—perfect, parallel stripes of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry. Cautious and highly planned out. Because that’s the only way she feels safe.

Dr. Logan Caldwell would be Ben & Jerry’s "Willie Nelson’s Country Peach Cobbler"—eaten from a Styrofoam cup, with tongue depressor. On the go, mission accomplished and no excuses, STAT—because that’s what he expects from himself and his ER team.

4. Are there any themes in Critical Care that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the stories progressed?

The overall theme in is one of hope; that there is a loving plan in place to give us hope and a future. And in order for that to happen, we must be willing reach out in faith, accept help to face our fears and past hurts. The story utilizes symbols and motifs to support the overall theme.

For instance, Claire Avery has a cat named Smokey who lost an ear in a fight with a raccoon and is afraid to venture outdoors. His struggle is similar to Claire’s refusal to work in the ER after her brother’s death in a trauma room.

Dr. Logan Caldwell repeatedly takes an axe to the oak stump stuck square in the middle of his future home site—very much like his stubborn struggle with faith.

I hope that these elements combine to offer an enjoyable and spiritually uplifting read.

5. What were your most difficult parts to write? Your favorite?

Strangely ( given my background in the ER) the intense medical scenes were likely most challenging. Not clinically; I know the subject. But when my (awesome) editors pressed me for "more emotion," I had to overcome my tendency to "protect" the reader from the tough realities of ER. Much the way I always protected my friends and family, I suppose. And I imagine that some of the scenes made me re-live those heart-wrenching moments.

On the other hand, I loved infusing warm humor and bits of quirky dialogue into the story. It tempers the highly emotive medical drama and makes the characters come alive for the reader. Dialogue is one of my favorite things to write, and I had such fun with the exchanges between Logan "McSnarly" Caldwell and Claire Avery. It was a hoot to have her nearly sit on a chicken, and for him to make a fool of himself dancing the "Watermelon Crawl" at children’s charity event.

6. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?

The second book in the Mercy Hospital series, (working title) Disaster Status, is scheduled for release in January 2010:

ER nurse Erin Quinn (introduced in Critical Care) escapes personal turmoil to work at the peaceful California coast. But when a pesticide disaster brings dozens of victims to Pacific Mercy Hospital, she suddenly finds herself immersed in community panic—and at odds with ambitious fire captain Scott McKenna, a man who is no stranger to the toxic effects of tragedy.

* * * * *

Thank you, Candy, for being in the spotlight with us.

Readers, leave a comment for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of Critical Care.

Make sure you also leave your email address (name at domainname You won't be entered in the drawing without it. If you wish to comment but don't want to be entered, say so when you post.

And if you want to make certain you don't miss anything, check the box that says 'email follow-up comments to:' when you leave a comment and they'll be sent to the email address associated with your blogging account. That way you'll be notified of any comments and will know when I announce the winner.

This week, the contest is open to anyone worldwide.


Carmen said...

When Harry Kraus endorses a novel regarding a book, Critical Care, then I know it's good/great! Please enter me in your contest.
desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Mocha with Linda said...

I don't need to be entered - just had to say I love this book! And Candace Calvert is a sweetheart. (I met her at the Expo in Dallas.)

Edna said...

I love to read about the authors it makes me understand them better and where they get their ideas. I am always telling my husband now how a book is written and I can't write a lick. LOL
Please enter me into the drawing to win the book
May God bless


CandaceCalvert said...

Tiffany, I'm still chuckling about "Dr. McSnarly" and Claire Avery as ice cream flavors--what an imaginative question!
Again, an honor to be featured on your blog. Thank you so much, and I look forward to personalizing a copy of CRITICAL CARE for your winner.

squiresj said...

I would love to read this but then I would probably have to relive my own experience in the ER after a car wreck. I was bruised from my neck down and broke my ankle which I am still dealing with. After 10 years, I had to have it fused this past year. I've suffered through a knee replacement, fixing ankle, ankle fusion, gallbladder surgery, and thought I was finding an end. But now it is back procedures and today my doctor says I have a big hole in my right knee. So back to my surgeon who praise God is a Christian. I love the hospital I go to because it is a Christian hospital. All my doctors are Christians except I don't know about my Pain Management as I just met him and had two procedures.
If I win, I promise reviews.

Merry said...

Critical Care's ER setting makes this sound really engaging. I love stories of hope and touches of humor, please include me. Thanks!


CarlybirdH said...

This sounds like a really good book. I really enjoyed this interview. Please enter my name in the drawing. Thank you.

Jo said...

This book really sounds great and one that I can really get into and not want to put down. Please enter me in the drawing.


Carrie Turansky said...

This sounds like a very interesting story. I am always eager to try a new author. Thanks for sharing this interview with us.
carrie (at) turansky (dot) com