Candace Shaw is the author of fun, flirty and sexy African-American contemporary romance novels. She is a PRO member of Romance Writers of America and Georgia Romance Writers. She is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
When Candace is not writing or researching information for a book, she’s reading, window shopping, gardening, listening to music or spending time with her loving husband and their loyal, over-protective weimaraner. She is currently working on the next novel in the Arrington Family Series.
How did you start out your writing career?
In the summer of 2007, I was contracted to write teacher workbooks for an educational company after I sent a manuscript of a workbook I’d written for my students. In the back of my mind, I knew I needed to complete a novel I had begun the year before and think seriously about my goal of being published in the romance genre. I joined Georgia Romance Writers, a chapter of Romance Writers of America to hone my craft and to gain better insight and knowledge of writing contemporary romance novels as well as the publishing industry.
What did you hope to accomplish with this book?
With Cooking Up Love, I want readers to feel as if they have read a fun and flirty romance novel that doesn’t necessarily fit all of the guidelines of a traditional contemporary romance novel.
What came first with this story, the characters or the plot? Why?
The characters came first because I was inspired while visiting Memphis, Tennessee. I was contemplating a series centered around five siblings and Memphis seemed like the perfect city with blues, barbecue and the downtown trolley. While sampling barbecue at the Memphis in May festival, I got the idea to make the heroine a food critic and the hero a restaurant owner and chef like my grandfather.
What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
Receiving emails or Facebook messages from readers saying they enjoyed the book and can’t wait for the next one in the series. It keeps me motivated to write and on my toes thinking of new and fresh ideas for future books.
What aspect of writing do you love the best, and which do you hate the most?
I love being able to use my imagination to create people, places, situations and events in order for them to have a happily ever after. I dislike writer’s block or not being able to write when I want to because something happens that I don’t have any control over.
What are three things you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now?
I wish I had known that some days I would be promoting more than writing, that everyone isn’t going to like my books and that everyone in my life isn’t going to take my writing career seriously or support it.
Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?
Do join a writer’s organization in your city that is geared toward your genre in order to attend the workshops and conferences they offer. These organizations are also beneficial to meet fellow aspiring authors as well as published authors who can mentor you along the way and offer sound advice. Don’t give up after one rejection letter from a publisher. If I had done so in 2007, my teacher workbooks wouldn’t be in teacher supply stores nationwide. I received “the call” from the second publisher.
What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?
It’s my career, not a hobby.
Tell us something few know about you?
I actually like to and know how to cook. I just tell people I don’t so they won’t ask me to make a dish for an event. I’m always scared it may not turn out right. I have perfected a few dishes that I don’t mind bringing but as of right now, nothing outside of those.
When you're not writing, what do you like to do in your spare time?
I like to hang with my husband, read, shop, work in my gardens, travel, decorate my home, eat out, listen to music, watch my favorite television shows, and spend time with family and friends.
What do you do to interact with your readers?
I’m very accessible through Twitter, Facebook, email and my website. In the future, once I have more Facebook fan page followers, I would like to do contests and games centered around my books. I’m also available for any book clubs who would like to chat on line about my books or meet in person if they are in the Metro-Atlanta area.
Our theme for this month is INDEPENDENT PUBLISHERS. Have you ever considered self publishing your work? Why or Why not? If you are an independent publisher, can you offer some tips for taking this journey.
I decided to self-publish after I received a few rejections for Cooking Up Love. However, while waiting for the editors to respond, I began research on self-publishing just in case I decided to take that route. My best tip to give someone who is contemplating self-publishing is to find fellow authors that are successfully self-published and to listen to whatever advice they give you. All of it may not pertain to you depending upon the audience and the genre you write, but the basic things such as formatting your manuscript correctly in order to load it properly for the ereaders is important information. I’m fortunate enough to have a critique partner that is a bestselling author---published traditionally and independently--- and I listen to everything she has to say.
Who was the first author you ever met?
I honestly can’t remember who she was, but I was in elementary school either in first or second grade. The author read a children’s book she had written to our class. I remember being in awe of her because I wrote short stories and my teacher suggested I read one to her. I was so shy at the time, but I did it anyway and she liked it. From there, I felt more confident and began to write more.
Oprah always asks, what do you know for sure?
That God and my husband love me.
Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?
Sure. The next book in the Arrington Family Series, The Game of Seduction, is about Dr. Bria Arrington, an allergist who works for her family’s medical practice. Much to her father’s dismay, she prefers to incorporate holistic and naturopathic medicine with traditional for her patients. She wants to practice freely, but her father is against it, therefore Bria is contemplating accepting a position in Atlanta at a medical practice that will allow her to do both. On top of all that, she is falling for her best friend the handsome, arrogant, mocha-covered playboy, Rasheed Vincent. An ex professional basketball player, he is a self-proclaimed, life-long bachelor after his fiancée left him for another basketball player when Rasheed hurt his knee and opted to retire. This book definitely has some hot scenes and more of a sexy tone unlike Cooking Up Love, which was more of a fun and flirty tone, in my opinion. The Game of Seduction will be released in early fall 2012.
How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)
Cooking Up Love is available as an ebook with Amazon, Barnes and Noble and All Romance Ebooks.
Thank you so much for having me on Shades of Romance today, LaShaunda.
What happens when a suave, handsome chef meets a cute, sassy food critic?
When Shelbi Arrington accepts a position as a food critic in the hopes of burying her medical career and foregoing her residency, the last thing she’s searching for is love. However, that’s just what the doctor ordered especially when she lays eyes on the handsome chef, Justin Richardson. While sorting out her secret conflict of continuing her medical career, she falls for his mouth-watering charm, leaving her hungry for anything he has to offer.
Justin is leery of doctors because a doctor’s negligence caused his mother’s death when he was twelve. He has put his focus and energy into his restaurant, which had been a dream he and his mother shared. Justin is immediately smitten by the cute, sassy food critic that has him cooking up different ways to please her appetite. But when things start to heat up, Shelbi learns of a shocking revelation that could extinguish the flame of their relationship. Will Justin be able to forget his pain and commit to the woman who has stolen his heart?
Cooking Up Love is the first book in the Arrington Family Series.
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