Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Interview with Candace West and Giveaway

by Kathleen L. Maher

My guest today is a fresh new voice in Christian literary historical fiction. This lady is one to follow, because I see writing awards in her future… lots of them. I have read her three novels and they are the kind of stories that stay with you long after that final page turn and deep satisfying sigh.

Her name is Candace West, and I am thrilled to give her a shout out today.


Me: Candace, welcome! Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Let’s start with where you live, because it plays such a big part of your story setting and the authentic way you portray your characters.

Candace: Hi Kathleen, I’m thrilled to be here! Thank you for having me. I’m a country girl, born and raised in Arkansas. I’m blessed to live in the area where I grew up, not far from a small town where everybody knows everyone else.

 Me: How many generations of your family have lived in that vicinity, and what are some of your fondest memories and traditions??

 Candace: My stories are set in the Arkansas Ozarks. My mother’s family, on both sides, have lived there since the mid-1800’s. I grew up listening to my grandparents’ stories, going to reunions, and exploring all the places my ancestors lived and were laid to rest. I didn’t grow up in the Ozarks, though. Because my dad is a minister, we live in the southern part of the state—the Delta.

My fondest memories of the Ozarks are roaming the hills with my grandpa—visiting the homeplaces, the school, the cemeteries, and the creek that whispers and connects grandpa’s childhood with my present time. Getting to know my “kinfolk” who still live there was a delight. The most important tradition is the spiritual journey that God has led my family through even to this day.   

 Me: How long have you been writing?  Do you have any first drafts of stories that are collecting dust on a shelf or encrypted on a floppy disc somewhere?  Of course not. You’re not old enough to remember floppy discs, are you sweet friend? 😉

 Candace: Oh yes, dear friend, I am! I saved many a paper on floppy disks! Before I had my first computer, I filled notebooks with stories, and they are shut away in a chest under my mama’s bed, collecting dust. I started writing stories when I was twelve. Until then, I acted out my adventures in the fields and woods surrounding our place.

 Me: Tell us about Valley Creek and how you came to create such a visceral, beautiful, haunting and redemptive place? (I suspect some of this answer reveals your own faith journey, so please share how you have come to write about hard subjects with such grace and wisdom.)

Candace: I could talk about this for a while. Valley Creek was inspired by all of those places I explored in the Ozarks. My great-grandmother inspired Lane’s story in book one. She had a harsh upbringing but grew into a strong woman of faith despite the hardships she endured. When I wrote Lane’s story, I was also facing a spiritual battle unlike anything I had ever known. My anger and hurt became Lane’s. By the end of her story, God had used her healing and victory to become mine as well. I give the Lord the credit for leading me through these stories, granting me the words that I pray will touch and help others.

 Me: I loved Lane Steenyour first story in the Valley Creek Redemption series. And then I became consumed in the follow up story about Lane’s parents. Valley of Shadows is so rich, so touching. Sentimentally sweet without being saccharine. There wasn’t a single false note in the whole beautiful, tragic and gloriously redemptive book.

But now, you have written book 3 in the series. What is left to say now that I’ve used up all my superlatives on the first two? Dogwood Winter stole my breath. Poetic, lyrical writing combines with a tale that would almost be gritty if it weren’t for the refinement and dignity of your storytelling and your resilient and determined characters. They truly face some serious challenges, don’t they? 

Candace: Wow. I never cease to be blown away and honored you feel this way. Whenever I read your stories, I feel the same. I want to write like you when I grow up!

George and Ella do face some difficult challenges, but they never do anything halfway. What I love about them is that I never intended for them to be main characters in this series. They had different ideas, however. By the end of Valley of Shadows, Ella and George were begging for their own story. My challenge was how to get them back to Valley Creek.

I’d love to share the blurb for Dogwood Winter. Releasing August 24th 2021

A Lukewarm Correspondence. A Tattered Reputation. Two Hearts at Odds.

He is walking away while she is fighting to walk.

After a springtime swim, Ella Steen is stricken with a dire illness, leaving her without the use of her legs. Meanwhile, Dr. George Curtis, the man she secretly loves, faces ruin. For over a year, the crusty New York City bachelor and vivacious spinster have exchanged dozens of letters and formed a wary friendship.

Neither are willing to open their hearts completely. Until they face each other. The past looms between them, however. Does George still love another or is his heart completely free?

A trip to Valley Creek holds the answers. Instead, when George and Ella arrive, they encounter obstacles that force other truths to the surface. Is George brave enough to confront what he fled in New York? Can Ella confess why she hates dogwood winters? Will their hearts survive?

If only their pasts would keep out of the present.

Me: Please, where we can find your books, and when does Dogwood Winter officially release?

Candace: They are available at Amazon and on KU. Valley of Shadows is also available at other booksellers like Barnes and Noble. Dogwood Winter releases August 24, 2021.

Purchase links:

Lane Steen: https://www.amzn.com/B07VCZ5MV3

Valley of Shadows: https://www.amzn.com/B08BTQ5BPJ

And where can readers find and follow you?

Visit my website at www.candaceweststoryteller.com and sign up for my newsletter.

Author page: www.facebook.com/inspirationalnovel

Instagram: www.instagram.com/candace.west.posey.10

Also feel free to send me a Facebook friend request (Candace West Posey). I love forming friendships with other readers and writers!

Me: Thank you so much for spending time with us here at the Diamond mine of Christian Fiction. I understand you are willing to offer a giveaway. So exciting! Do tell our readers how they might win  your book.

For a chance to win a signed, paperback copy of Valley of Shadows, please leave a comment for Candace with your email 

-example: you (at) mailserver (dot) com. 

(contest for continental US residents only)



Leann said...

Congratulations on your third book release. Your covers are beautiful 🤩 usmaria at yahoo dot com

Kathleen L. Maher said...

Thank you for visiting Leann. U2 are my favorite new authors

Renee P said...

Oh wow, I have been wanting to read these! They look so very good! schoolingtwoboys at gmail dot com.

Phyllis said...

I truly love these stories and will read them again and again. I would love to have a copy of Valley of Shadows to keep in my family! I truly couldn’t believe that Lane Steen was Candace’s debut novel! I am so looking forward to Dogwood Winter and have its release date on my calendar! ❤️ Ptrollan7 (at) gmail (dot) com.

Phyllis Rollan

Hannah Corner said...

Hello! I love discovering new authors. Your books sound great! My email is corner@alumni.cedarville.edu

Leann said...

💕❤️. You and Candace have lit my historical Christian fire!

Kathleen L. Maher said...

Hi Renee! Candace's books are so beautifully written with characters that stay with you. You will love them.

Kathleen L. Maher said...

Hi Phyllis. I agree—Candace’s books are keepers. Thank you for commenting. Good luck in the drawing

Kathleen L. Maher said...

Hi Hannah! Thanks for coming by. These stories are so beautiful. You’ll be an instant fan.
Good luck in Tuesday’s drawing!

Kathleen L. Maher said...

Congratulations to Renee P, our winner for Candace's signed copy of Valley of Shadows. Candace will be emaiing you soon for your info.

Thank you everyone who came by! Be sure to watch for the release of Dogwood Winter this summer, and in the meantime, follow Candace on her social media links to see all her upcoming news.
See you next time!

Candace West Posey said...

Thank you so much, Leann! God bless you!

Candace West Posey said...

Thank you, Renee! I'm so happy you stopped by!

Candace West Posey said...

You bless me with your kind words, Phyllis. I'm honored! Thank you so much for stopping by! ❤️

Candace West Posey said...

Hello Hannah! Discovering new authors and making friends with new readers is one of my favorite things about social media. Thank you so much for stopping by!