Our guest today - Candee Fick
Hello Seekerville! Candee Fick here, and I'm so glad to be back. Audra first invited me to be a guest several years ago and back then I shared about my never-ending journey as a pre-published author. And now I'm back a fourth time as my third novel is about to release. (I guess the moral to my personal story is to never give up!)
As a child, I remember reading Aesop's Fables in school. You remember those, right? Super short stories with thinly disguised messages, but years later, the lessons still linger. True friends can come in all sizes. It's possible to get trapped by greed. Slow and steady wins the race. (In fact, I do most of my writing during my "Turtle Power Hour" before the family chaos erupts simply because small daily progress beats intermittent word sprints.)
But the fables of our childhood aren't the only stories that teach us something.
Like Carrie so eloquently wrote about in her first Seekerville post, there is a Story that we are all a part of. We are on a journey of change just like the characters in the smaller story we are reading or writing. Ideally, as readers, we are emotionally invested in the characters as they face obstacles, change from the inside out, and learn some sort of a lesson. Therefore, when that story closes, we should also walk away not only with an enjoyable vicarious adventure, but also having learned something.
That's why there should be a moral to your story.
When I start out to plot a new book, I always ask myself what my character is going to learn. I also ask what I want readers to take away from the book. What am I trying to say with this particular story? In other words, what is the theme?
Now, when it comes to weaving a lesson into a story, the sweet spot lies somewhere between a comedic romp without a point and mere cardboard props erected around a sermon. That's where the true craft of writing helps shape realistic characters making difficult choices but growing through the process. As the pages unfold, small "truthlets" are dropped into the character's life until the climactic events cause them to defeat the Lie they've been living with, embrace the Truth, and begin a New Life.
As the writer of the tale, it's up to us to sprinkle the Truth in along the way. Just like the Author whispers His Truth to us so that we too can learn and grow and change. Personally, I want my stories to give a glimpse at one facet of God's character as part of that Truth.
In my debut novel, Catch of a Lifetime , I wanted to combat stereotypes with the message that God looks at the heart of a person, not their outward appearance. In a college football setting, the main character learns to let go of her past bitterness and see the athletes as individual people. And based on the reviews and other feedback, readers uncovered the lessons for themselves.
In Dance Over Me , I wanted my main character to discover that God, in His amazing love, was always there behind the scenes looking out for her. There was also an adoption theme as she searched for a physical family but already was part of a spiritual one. Once again, readers loved the story...and embraced the message.
When it came time to write the sequel, I knew that Liz was an actress with a photography hobby who had a chip on her shoulder about God...and religion in general. I knew she needed to get past the rules and rituals to discover the true Love of God in a personal relationship. She needed to Focus On Love. (Yes, that's the title of the book and a play on words because photographers "focus" their cameras and zoom in on their subjects.)
|Focus On Love|
The moral of this about-to-release story is love. And that includes all facets from romance to faith to family and friends to patriotic military service to even finding a career we can be passionate about. Yes, there's a swoon-worthy book boyfriend and all the romantic feels. Plus there's an antagonist you want to shake really hard. It even has humor and cute kids.
But most importantly (to me), my prayer is that readers will walk away from the pages with the same lesson Liz will learn. God loves us and offers a hope-filled future to those who walk with Him. Not to mention, we should all learn to Focus On Love.
Speaking of which (shameless plug time), there are three easy ways you can embrace the moral to this story.
1. Pre-order a copy of the book releasing February 13th in time for Valentine's Day.
2. Share a photo (or several) of something/someone you love or love in action on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter with the hashtag #FocusOnLove to be entered to win an autographed copy of the book and a Shutterfly gift card. Contest ends February 17th.
3. Enter to win autographed copies of all three of my novels plus another Shutterfly gift card and share that contest with your friends for extra entries (https://candeefick.com/giveaways/focus-love-prize-bundle/)
While I pull out the hot chocolate and cinnamon rolls, I've got a few questions we can chat about. What is the moral of the story you're writing or reading right now? And how do you keep a focus on love (in any facet) in your daily life?
Candee Fick is a multi-published author in both fiction and non-fiction. She is also the wife of a high school football coach and the mother of three children, including a daughter with a rare genetic syndrome. When not busy with her day job, writing, or coaching other authors, she can be found cheering on the home team at sporting events, exploring the great Colorado outdoors, indulging in dark chocolate, and savoring happily-ever-after endings through a good book.
Find all of her books on Amazon here or sign up to receive email updates and get the first chapters of her novels for free. You can also find her online at www.CandeeFick.com.
BOOK BLURB: Free-spirited Elizabeth Foster turned her back on her father’s photography business to pursue musical theater, but with a one-show contract, she’s a few weeks from unemployment forcing her home. Meanwhile sought-after photographer Ryan Callahan has put his career on hold to help his sister’s family while her husband is deployed, but the promise of a bigger assignment could lure him away from building a family of his own. If given the choice, what dreams would develop? Or will they learn to focus on love instead?