Candi Sary, Winter 2010 Contest Runner-Up

Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Candi’s Bio:

Candi Sary has written seven novels. Five made it to the finals in competitions. Black Crow White Lie was a top six finalist in the 2009 William Faulkner William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition; Finding Grace made the short list for finals in the 2007 William Faulkner Creative Writing Competition; Love Me Madly won second place in the 2007 Dahlonega Literary Festival Novel Contest; The Sound That Red Makes and Thrown Away were finalists in the 2002 Santa Fe Writers Project Literary Award. Lavender Roses is her first short story, inspired by a writing exercise on Janet Fitch’s blog.

Candi graduated from UC Irvine with a BA in psychology. She lives in coastal Orange County, California with her husband, their two teenagers and three dogs. She finds spiritual connection in surfing, running, listening to music, and filming the life around her.
Visit her website at

Check out Candi's winning entry, Lavender Roses here, then c'mon back for our chat with her.

Interview by Jill Earl

WOW: Candi, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule today. First, congratulations on your winning entry, Lavender Roses! How does it feel to be a runner-up in our contest?

Candi: I am thrilled to be a runner-up! Thank you. This was my first short story.

WOW: You did a marvelous job with it! What prompted you to write your story?

Candi: Janet Fitch has a writing exercise on her blog called 'The Word'. She posts a word, and writers are supposed to come up with a two-page story using that word somewhere in the story. The first word she chose was ball. The phrase "I had a ball" came to mind. And I could hear my grandma saying it.

WOW: That’s a great example of how writing prompts can lead to publication! Think I'll check out Janet's blog myself for some inspiration.

Moving on to your story, telling it from the point-of-view of your five-year old narrator was a fresh idea and added some levity to an otherwise heart-rending situation. P.O.V. can have its challenges. What made you decide to do this?

Candi: I chose the five-year-old narrator because I knew her well. My grandma had Alzheimer's Disease. I was that five-year-old who found magic in the way her mind worked; the way she could look right at me and believe I was my oldest sister. As I got older I understood the tragedy of the disease, but there was a short time when my love for her wasn't burdened with understanding, and the resulting sadness. I thought it would be interesting to go back to that innocent time.

WOW: I thought it was an interesting perspective and I could be wrong, but I don't think you often hear how witnessing the devastating effects Alzheimer's has from children or teens. Good job!

Let's turn to your writing history for a moment. Can you tell us how got you started?

Candi: I started writing when my children were born. I had just graduated from UC Irvine and the transition from intense intellectual stimulation to the daily chores of motherhood was somewhat challenging. I found that writing, and escaping into the lives of interesting characters, kept my busy mind happy. Just as the kids needed to release their physical energy through play, I needed to release my mental energy through stories. I have been writing for 15 years now. I think it made me a more patient and happy mom. And I am sure it made me a more fulfilled individual.

WOW: You make a good point about writing as an excellent release and so fulfilling, especially with the busy lives we lead today.

Now, your bio states that you’ve written seven novels and had five of them make it to the finals in various competitions. What an amazing accomplishment! Do you have any tips to share for entering writing contests?

Candi: Writing contests are a great way to build your resume. Agents and publishers seem to be much more open to requesting manuscripts when you can "show" rather than "tell" them that the novel is well-written. So the "show, don't tell" advice for fiction seems to apply to the business of writing as well.

WOW: That's a good point and you're a great example to follow. How about current projects? Do you have any in the works?

Candi: I am currently working on my eighth novel while I submit my previous novel, Black Crow White Lie. It was recently a semi-finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. Publishers Weekly gave it a positive review and that has helped generate interest. Here is a link to an excerpt of the novel and the PW review on Amazon here.

WOW: Thanks for the link, I’m sure our readers would like to check it out. And more congratulations to you! Any last bit of advice you’d like to leave our readers with?

Candi: I'll leave them with the Winston Churchill quote I have up on my refrigerator: "Never never never give up."

WOW: Excellent quote! Thanks, Candi, it was wonderful speaking with you! Best of luck with your writing!


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