AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: CANDACE BLEVINS
So Candace what is out recently for people to pick up?
Safeword: Matte, from Excessica Publishing.
Tell us a little about Safeword: Matte, what inspired you to write Safeword: Matte?
I write about strong women who happen to be submissive. For this story, I wanted a couple capable of getting rough with each other, and a Dom capable of handling a submissive masochist with multiple martial arts titles.
Matte – pronounced mah-tay – is the word used in some forms of martial arts to stop a fight. It’s the Japanese word for stop or wait. It seemed the perfect safeword for this couple.
When you start writing, do you already have the story plotted out or do you let the characters dictate what will happen?
My stories start with the characters; I let them percolate in my head for weeks, possibly months, before I begin writing a story. I’ll write their description, some things about their personality, what they do for a living, where they live, what they drive, how they dress, and what their kinks are. The plot forms from there.
I know who my characters are, and I know the main conflicts, before I write the first sentence. Sometimes I have most of plot details at the start, sometimes I don’t. Having it plotted doesn’t necessarily mean much; I’ve been known to get a brainstorm partway in and head off in a different direction.
What inspired you to write in your genre? Is this the genre you started writing in or have you morphed to this one?
What’s the saying? Write what you know? I love reading in the genre, but was frustrated with so many of the BDSM-Lite books out there. Not that there’s anything wrong with them, they just aren’t for me. A few authors write serious BDSM and do a great job, and I decided to give it a try during NaNoWriMo a few years ago.
Do you have a favorite character you have written?
Tough question. I’m not sure I can name a single favorite character. And if I start listing them, it turns out I list all of them, which doesn’t help.
Who was the toughest character for you to “get right” that you have written so far?
Probably the characters in the book I’m editing now, Safeword: Davenport. I’m writing more emotion and drama into this one than I’ve ever attempted. I know who my characters are, but I find myself doing a whole lot of finessing during this editing pass, to make sure the readers see them as I do.
Do you draw inspiration for your characters from real life? Any fun stories you could share?
My husband and I once rented a vacation cabin outside of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and he set us up on the screened in porch as a storm was coming in. We were high on the mountain and could see the storm getting closer, could hear the thunder bouncing off the mountains around us. We were into the scene pretty intensely by the time the storm reached us, and the energy of the storm became part of the scene.
The flogging portion of the storm scene in Safeword: Matte is loosely built around that experience.
What do you find the hardest part of writing?
Wow, another tough question. I’m not sure the answer is the same for every story. Sometimes I have the hardest time with the blurb, sometimes it’s with a plot point, and sometimes it’s during the editing process.
Name one thing that your readers would be surprised to know about you.
I paid my way through a good part of college performing as a juggler during summer breaks.
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Reading in the tub with the jets going, and a nice glass (or two) of wine. I put my Kindle in a plastic freezer bag to protect it though; Kindles don’t mix well with water and wine.
What do you need before you start writing? Anything that is just a must have or the creative juice doesn’t flow?
I can write with noise around me, but I need quiet when I’m editing. I put headphones on with Bach or Strauss playing when I’m editing, usually.
Does music influence your writing? If so, do any of your stories have a theme song?
Bookaddict on Goodreads gave Safeword: Matte a theme song. It’s called Pain Makes you Beautiful, by the Judybats. You can listen to it HERE.
If your story was optioned for a movie, who would play your characters?
Ethan would have to be Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, or possibly Vin Diesel. I have no idea who could play Samantha, but it would need to be a kick-ass heroine who can handle fight scenes.
Where were you when you got your first contract? Who did you tell first?
I was at work, and my husband is the only person I told. I didn’t want to jinx anything – LOL.
How old were you when you read your first romance book?
Much younger than I should have been. I was reading at something like a tenth grade level in the second grade, and I stayed with my grandmother a lot in the summer. She took me to the library multiple times a week, as well as the used bookstore. She was an avid reader, too, and I quickly figured out her books were better than the ones I could get in the children’s section. I read her bodice rippers while I was still in elementary school, probably third or fourth grade. I remember reading Flowers in the Attic in sixth grade, borrowed from one of my high school cousins.
What author causes you to “go fan girl”/ squeal over/anticipate upcoming books?
I’m not sure I can name a single author. I love Annabel Joseph’s mixture of romance with BDSM, and Morgan Hawke does great fantasy BDSM. I love the old Joey W. Hill stuff (her Nature of Desire series), and Roxy Harte with her Chronicles of Surrender series. I also enjoy Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling series, as well as JD Robb’s In Death books.
What are you currently working on, and what else is in the wings?
I’m currently working on Safeword: Davenport, which will be the most emotional book I’ve written to date. In the wings behind it is Safeword: Quinacridone, which is finished, but it needed something more, to give it a bit more oomph, so I set it aside to percolate. I know what that’ll be now, so it shouldn’t take too long to get it into shape once I finish Safeword: Davenport.
If you could co-write with another author who would it be?
I have no idea how authors manage to co-write. It’s such a personal experience for me, I’m not sure I’d want to give control of my characters over to someone else. I know it’s done, and can think of a few examples of it being done well. The Deviations series by Chris Owen and Jodi Payne is extraordinary. And then there is the married writing team of Ilona Andrews. My husband may be my soul mate, but I’m not convinced our marriage would survive co-writing a book.
How do you pick your characters names?
Sometimes the name comes to me, but if it doesn’t then I figure out what year they’d have been born, and go to the social security names database and look at the top 500 names for that year, going down the list until the right name jumps off the page and whaps me across the head.
Do you prefer the love at first sight approach or a steady growth throughout?
My preference is a strong attraction followed by a steady growth, but I’m not opposed to lust at first sight that feels like love at first sight. The perfect scenario depends on the characters.
Where can readers find you?
And for the silly side – What is your favorite type of chocolate?
I realize I’m expected to come up with some exotic dark chocolate, here, but I love Hersey’s Kisses. Ghirardelli has some chocolate mint squares I really like, too. For guilt free chocolate, I love the Luna mint-chocolate protein bars – more protein than carbs, and no HFCS – doesn’t get much better than that.