Friday, August 17, 2012

Talking Medical Drama with Author Candace Calvert!


Last month our book club read a medical drama. Out of the five choices, we picked Code Triage--the 3rd book in the Mercy Hospital series! You can read our review HERE! I emailed Candace to tell her how much I personally enjoyed the book and she offered to not only skype with us, but to send us bookmarks and host a drawing on the night of our meeting! She's lovely, witty, charming and a fabulous author! So I'm honored to have her here today! 

Candace is a former ER nurse who believes love, laughter and faith are the best medicines. Her Mercy Hospital and Grace Medical series offer readers a chance to “scrub in” on the exciting world of emergency medicine—along with a soul-soothing prescription for hope. Wife, mother, and very proud grandmother, she makes her home in northern California.


JP: How long were you in the medical field before you decided to write medical dramas?

CC: As Cha Cha (the parrot) in Code Triage likes to say: “Forever.”  I was an ER nurse for more than three decades, and began writing seriously (for publication) in around the year 2000.  I caught an agent’s eye (Natasha Kern) and signed with her in 2002—but didn’t begin to write medical drama until a few years later. We contracted with Tyndale House (for the Mercy series) in 2008.

JP: Do you use real-life ER experiences you’ve had in your novels?

CC: Oh, absolutely.  Many of the dramatic (and humorous) scenes in my stories had beginnings in my “scrubs” days.  I’m sure that’s what makes readers say they feel like they are “dropped into the middle of the ER.”  But my depictions of medical cases, patients, and staff are fictional composites in order to protect privacy, of course.  Though my husband is quite certain that every hero is purely based on him.

JP: LOL! My husband seems to think the same thing. Your novels have been compared to Grey’s Anatomy, but with faith elements. That show is super popular. Have you seen a spike in sales since the comparison? I watched ER, but I’ve never seen Grey’s.

CC: When we pitched the idea for my medical fiction to the publishing house, we did indeed describe it as “Grey’s Anatomy finds its soul.”  It was something fairly new to the inspirational market. And after three encouraging years, I think we’d all agree that the popularity of TV medical programs really does carry over into print.  I have quite a few readers who first picked up my books because they were sad to see the series “ER” end—or because they are now fans of “Grey’s Anatomy,” or “House.”  In addition, many of my readers are employed in the medical, fire, rescue and law enforcement fields.  I’m honored by their enthusiasm.  I love being able to infuse faith into medical drama; in real life, it’s always been there. But mostly, I’m delighted when folks call me the author of “medical hope opera.”  That’s as close as it gets. 

JP: I’ve always been a fan of medical dramas and books. I’m a huge fan of yours now, Candace! If you could put one of your books on the big screen which one would it be and why?

CC: Interesting question. Probably my current release, Trauma Plan. It’s set in San Antonio during Fiesta, with colorful scenes down on River Walk, at the Alamo, in the charming Texas hill country towns of Boerne, Fredricksburg . . . and on the famous dance floor at Luckenbach.  Cinematographically, it would be a feast for the senses:  especially the breath-catching skydiving moments!  But the characters are richly drawn as well: a “maverick” doctor, a beautiful and determined nurse-chaplain . . . along with a big-hearted rodeo clown and his crippled doggy sidekick, “Hobo.”  The plot has a lot of action, warm romance, and tear or two— elements perfect with buttered popcorn.

JP: Ooooh that does sound wonderful!  And lucky me I have it sitting on my desk to read! Okay, now a few fun questions! What do you like to do for entertainment?

CC: Hubby and I love to hike, birdwatch, and are in love with travel: simple day trips to glorious nearby destinations like Lake Tahoe, San Francisco, Napa wine country, or the Pacific coast (all settings for the Mercy Hospital series). Our grander journeys have found me swimming with stingrays in the Caribbean, hiking an Alaskan rainforest, atop a camel at the pyramids, kissing the Blarney Stone in Ireland . . . and gazing in awe at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.  We’ve worn out some luggage.

JP: That all sounds so perfect! Would you fit me in your suitcase? J Fill in the blanks: If I had a weekend with no obligations and I could go anywhere in the world, it would be:

CC: …a spiritual place with complete solitude, a few days of peace and reflection because our everyday world is noisy and far too hectic. And I think it’s easier to hear God’s voice when we step away from all of that. “Be still and know . . .” Amen.

JP: That’s perfect, Candace! Thanks so much for taking time to come and visit with us today.

CC: Thank you, Jessica for hosting me here. I’ve SO enjoyed having this chance to connect with your readers. I’d be honored to have them “scrub in” with my stories of hope.

You can connect with Candace through her website, facebook, and twitter!


Question for you? Have you ever had to go to the ER? And did you watch ER or Grey's Anatomy?

Here’s a peek at her newest novel: 

Sidelined by injuries from a vicious assault, nurse chaplain Riley Hale is determined to return to ER duties. But how can she show she’s competent when the hospital won’t let her attempt even simple tasks? To prove herself, Riley volunteers at a controversial urban free clinic despite her fears about the maverick doctor in charge.
Dr. Jack Travis defends his clinic like he’s commander of the Alamo. He’ll fight the community’s efforts to shut its doors, even if he must use Riley Hale’s influential family name to make it happen.
As Riley strives to regain her skills, Jack finds that she shares his compassion—and stirs his lonely heart. Riley senses that beneath Jack’s rough exterior is a man she can believe in. But when clinic protests escalate and questions surface about his past, Jack goes into battle mode, and Riley wonders if it’s dangerous to trust him with her heart.

*You still have time to enter the contest for the Kindle Touch along with Donna Pyle's new Bible Study, The God of All Comfort (and other goodies)! Contest closes Sunday, August 19th! Check out the awesome prizes HERE and ENTER to WIN! 

14 comments:

  1. Ooooh. Candace's books sound fantastic. I love a good medical drama. In fiction, that is.

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  2. Fun interview!!

    Yes, I've been to the emergency room. Broke my collar bone as a kid. Funny thing was, that same night my brother was in a different hospital getting his tonsils out. My parents had to split up, one in each hospital. Good times. :)

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  3. Grey’s Anatomy finds its soul.” LOVE that!!

    I watched a few episodes of Grey's Anatomy, but I have a hard time commiting to any TV shows because time. :-)

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  4. Great interview! I haven't read medical dramas in years, but I used to be a big Robin Cook fan. I'll have to pick up one of Candace's books!

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  5. I've never had to go to the ER...lucky me:) But I did watch that show. I love it so much more than Grey's. Great interview, ladies!

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  6. Hi Jessica--I'm starting to feel at home here these days. Thank you for the hospitality!
    HEATHER: I'd love to have you "scrub in"!
    MELISSA: Ouch on the collarbone. Did you get one of those "fun" padded (posture improving!) splints?
    JENNIFER: I hope you'll have time to check out version of Grey's with its hopeful twist.
    JESS: Thanks! And I was a huge Robin Cook fan myself.
    SUSAN: Lucky indeed. ER was great--so real that I often had trouble watching it because it would get my adrenaline pumping. The last thing I needed after a 12 hour shift in the real deal.
    Thank y'all for stopping by to comment!

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  7. Candace, you are welcome here anytime! I've really enjoyed this week!

    I think everyone should "scrub in" and grab a book by Candace. You'll become and instant fan! :)

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  8. Ok, so I was wondering WHO hadn't been in an ER at least once, and now I know - it's Susan! I did watch ER up until the last few years, and I've just started watching Grey's (and caught up thanks to Netflix!) Great interview!

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  9. Interesting series. I do like medical dramas so this sounds right up my alley. As for the ER - sure. I've been a handful of times for myself but got to know the staff on a first name basis when my boys were teens.

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  10. You know, maybe I went to the ER once when I was a kid for something I did jumping off the swingset wrong. Oh yeah, and the one time my dad lifted me up on his shoulders and my head hit a metal sign and I bled and bled...and got one stitch as a result. Yep, one stitch. So I've never had stitches...only stitch. And never broken a bone. Compared to my brother, who probably knew the ER docs by name...lol.

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  11. MELISSA: Don't ya just love Netflix for catching up? I recently overdosed on Downton Abbey.
    LD: Thanks for stopping by. We had patients we got to know on a first name basis. (smile)
    LINDSAY: Ouch on the metal sign--even one well placed stitch can staunch a dramatic bleed. I thought I'd be deaf after so many years of holding little guys still while they got stitches. Plenty of warranted howling!

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  12. Enjoyed this post. My husband's a family physician, so I enjoy reading medical dramas -- but he usually skips that genre because he says he lives it. And besides, he doesn't have a lot of time for pleasure reading.

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  13. What a great idea for a niche market!! I enjoyed reading this interview. Thanks, Jessica and Candace!

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  14. (waving) Hi Beth! You mean your husband has no urge to co-author a medical book with you--like Cheryl Hodde
    and her doctor husband--ala Hannah Alexander? (grin)
    Thanks for stopping by, Carol. It is great to find a new niche, AND I love that other new authors are joining me now too. Like Dr. Richard Mabry and Jordyn Redwood. It's starting to feel like the "scrubs" days!

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