Welcome back to the Write Styles! On this Fantastic Friday we are interviewing an amazing novelist, Candice-Leigh Wadely! If you missed my previous interview, go check out where Megan Olivier shares her success story with the Write Styles.
TWS: Welcome to the Write Styles, Candice.
Candice: Thank you Julia, it’s a privilege.
The Write Styles Interviews Novelist Candice-Leigh Wadely
TWS: Candice, you have accomplished incredible achievements for somebody so young. You have a Bachelor of Arts in both Health Science and Social Services. I noted that you also have an Honors in Psychology, and an Integrated Learning Certificate. I was most amazed to see that you are also a teacher and have travelled around the world to work with children!
Could you please share with our readers how you manage your time? What disciplines do you practice to still make the time to write?
Candice: Time is very valuable to me. On top of all of those things I am also a single mother, and are still a student (studying my Postgraduate in Education). I manage my time by compartmentalizing all the things I do.
My son is the only thing that seeps into every minute of my day. Everything else has its place in my life.
I’m a teacher so at the moment I get home at around 3pm. I cook, do washing, and clean the house. You know, all those glamorous things! Then my son and I exercise together and play in the yard or do T’ai Chi. If he is playing independently I try to check emails, or reply to messages. We eat together and then read a book before bedtime. After the witching hour (supper, bath, bed) I usually take a half an hour for myself to just relax. I am occasionally guilty of that half an hour turning into me waking up at 2am having fallen asleep on the couch. Then I hit the books, do lesson plans or write.
When I am studying I have a very strict routine after my son goes to bed. It helps me keep on track. I make sure I set goals, and as I meet those goals I reward myself with writing. I sleep very little. Evidently I am part of the sleepless elite.
TWS: When did you first realize that you want to be a writer? Can you remember what inspired you at the time?
Candice: I was very young. Probably about eight years old. This is going to sound ridiculous but I had a poster on my bedroom wall. It was a poster of two children sitting on a rock with a dolphin in the water at their feet.
The little girl was holding a shell and the sunset behind them was stunning. I was obsessed with dolphins at the time and I really needed that poster to tell me a story, so I wrote one. I think that was the first thing I ever wrote; a story lost long ago.
TWS: Do you often feel that writing can energize you, but at other times writing can become exhausting? How do you find the balance between these stages?
Candice: Truthfully, I find writing to be my escape. When I am studying it helps me to push aside all the academic information. That is why at the moment I enjoy writing fantasy.
I have yet to experience stages of exhaustion. Perhaps if I wasn’t studying at the same time I would reach them because I wouldn’t have something else to exhaust me.
TWS: Some say they suffer of writers’ block. Do you believe in writers’ block? If so, how do you overcome it?
Candice: I have not experienced writers block, yet. I don’t write in a conventional way, I do not have a plan or a lay out, I just let the characters tell me what will happen next. I’m surprised at what happens in some of my writing.
I do believe it is a real thing, but I have to say that I think because writing is my creative outlet after hours of studying, it makes it easier for me to disappear into the world my characters create.
TWS:What would you consider is your greatest challenge about writing?
Candice: Time. Without a doubt it would be finding the time and energy to write after the busy days that I have.
TWS: What inspired your novel Cursed? Which character do you relate to the most?
Candice: I was busy with my Honors Psychology when I started writing Cursed.
I had research reports coming out of my ears and my son was still very small so I was spread thin. One day I was watching him during his nap and I remembered a dream I had once had. In the dream I was holding a baby and running away from something. I was so full of information from a morning of studying that I decided to just sit and write it down. It just carried on coming. I used that nap time to just let my brain stray from the information overload of my degree, and it turned into a book.
Who do I relate to? Each of them is a part of me, each one has one of my many nuances written into them somewhere. If I had to choose, I would say I relate most to Lydia and Seraphina.
TWS: As a student of science and humanity, could you share how you came about to write Cursed as a fantasy novel?
Candice: I love fantasy as much as I love logic and science, as well as the humanities. The fantasy came about as an escape from the practicality of my work. We all need somewhere to escape to and I am not traveling at the moment due to my studies, so what better place than the imagination. As a child I had a vivid imagination, perhaps it’s just never left me.
Candice: I have a passion for education. I believe it really could be the answer to everything that is wrong with the world. I think there are some redeeming qualities in the way we educate our children, but there are also gaps.
My goal is to write curriculum that will be accessible to anyone and everyone. Curriculum that will inspire teachers, and captivate learners. Then there are obviously the children. I teach because I love spending time with inquiring minds, and there no minds as inquiring as those of children.
TWS: What was your favorite experience while traveling around the world? How did the environment affect your writing? Did teaching TEFL in anyway influence your writing?
Candice: My favorite experience? That is an incredibly hard one to answer. I have had many amazing experiences in many amazing countries. I think if I had to pick one it would be this; while backpacking through Thailand we hopped on a scooter and made our way into the jungle (not a smart idea as scooters are not notorious for being off road bikes).
We got lost and ended up in a remote village. When we pulled up to ask for directions the entire village came out to meet us. One man was holding a toddler who I gravitated towards. I have loved children my whole life, and generally they take to me like ducks to water. This child, however, did not like the sight of me and screamed blue murder when I reached out to touch him.
The father very quickly, using gestures because no one in the village spoke English, told me that the child had never seen anyone with white skin before. We left the village feeling a bit more humble and informed about how different life is to every individual and how our way is not necessarily the right way even if it works for us. We ended the day swimming in the most amazing mangroves. It was a good day.
I think traveling has had a massive impact on not only my creative writing but also my academics. I could not pin point one thing, or one experience as being a defining moment. Each moment I experienced, every person I met, every conversation I had; I realized how little I knew. For the most part we live in our own little bubble surrounded by our own expert opinion, which we feed by keeping like-minded people close.
In the grander scheme of things, that expert opinion holds little water in the world. The world is too large, there is too much we don’t know, too much we will never see. Traveling taught me that we need be uncomfortable to learn. I don’t know if that comes across in this book, but in the one I am writing now, it is a major theme.
Yes. Teaching English as a Foreign Language has had a major impact on me as a person and by default my writing. Working with people of other cultures, particularly in their own environment, is mind blowing. Again, because we assume so much, yet know so little. In fact so much so, that if I can find the energy one day, after I have completed my current degree I intend to pursue a degree in Anthropology.
TWS: Lastly, can you share any insights with our aspiring writers? Can you share a personal message that has been your mantra when times are tough?
TWS: Thank you so much for this opportunity.
Candice: It has been my pleasure. Thank you!
If you are interested in writing from home for a living, our previous article has brilliant writing opportunities!