Thursday, June 19, 2008

Interview With Candace E. Salima

Yesterday I promised I'd post this interview as soon as I could. Here it is. Thank you Candace for taking the time to answer my questions and share a bit of yourself with all of us.

Q: What gave you the idea to write Forged in the Refiner's Fire?

A: Elizabeth Cheever, my co-author, approached me while I was hard at work on “Dreams Die Hard,” the sequel to “Out of the Shadows . . . Into the Light.” Initially I resisted because I was so busy but there was something about what she wanted to do that tugged at me until I couldn't say no.

Q: Creating a book like this seems like a monumental task. How did you go about getting all the stories from such great authors, putting them together, and getting your publisher to publish the book?

A: We sent emails out to all our friends, family and peers asking for stories and then asked them to forward that same message to everyone they knew. Elizabeth wrote a series of questions which those who volunteered followed. In doing that, we were able to keep the message of the book fairly focused on the fact that trials can be overcome and there is One who always stands ready and waiting to walk with us through every step. Chad Daybell of Spring Creek Book Company immediately saw the power behind the message, published and released “Forged in the Refiner’s Fire” on February 1, 2006. The very same day my husband entered the hospital for a six-week nightmare stay in Utah Valley Regional Medical Center.

Elizabeth edited the stories for grammar, punctuation, sentence structure and flow, but left the voice and story of each writer up to the individual going through that trial or tragedy. All in all, as I read back over the book now, I am stunned at the power and motivation which literally leaps off the page.

Q: What is your greatest hope for the book?

A: My greatest hope is that “Forged in the Refiner’s Fire” will reach out to every trouble heart in the world and lift them up. We were never meant to walk the thorny path of mortality alone, for as I stated earlier, Jesus Christ is always waiting to lift us up. Truly, it may feel at times, although we are surrounded by loved ones, friends and co-workers, that we are at the loneliest point in our lives. It is my hope the stories in this book give others the strength to continue on, pushing through the ever growing darkness for the light which awaits on the other side. All of us go through trial and tragedy. All of us have weaknesses we need to overcome. Just like all of us are a son or daughter of God with untold gifts and talents to accomplish what we’ve been sent here to do. It is my hope this book reminds the reader of that.

Q: When did you start writing?

A: I really can’t remember. But I remember sitting in my bedroom after school one day looking out the window. I was in sixth grade, which made me eleven at the time, and we were living in Red Mesa, Colorado. Suddenly I decided I wanted to write a story, a real story with a beginning, middle and end. I’d been a voracious reader from the time my mother taught me and I knew it was what I wanted to do. I never really believed I’d ever be published, let alone in the position I am in now, co-authoring a book with one of my favorite entertainers and people in the world, Merrill Osmond. Sometimes what begins in a child’s room can grow to a dream so big it can scarcely be comprehended.

Q: What is your writing process?

A: Wow, every book or screenplay starts with a germ of an idea. I sit down and write a very basic, generic outline which I then break down into research tasks. Once the research is complete, then I write a detailed outline and get to work. Sometimes I’ve only got 15 minutes in a day to write, sometimes 14 hours. I really like the 14 hour days.

Every morning, when I pull up my document, I read over and edit what I’ve written the day before. That gets me back into the flow and ebb of the story and then I begin to write.

Once I’ve completed the manuscript, first and second drafts, I then send it out to 20 people of different sexes, faiths, cultures and backgrounds. I send a questionnaire with it and then adjust the story accordingly. Then I send it to my final editors, Tristi Pinkston and my mother, and then it gets popped into the mail to the publisher. Then I bite my nails like everyone else waiting for that acceptance or rejection.

Q: How has having a book(s) published changed your life?

A: It’s made me more confident in my writing skills. Not in my voice or storytelling ability, but in my ability to use proper grammar, punctuation and sentence structure. It’s given me the opportunity to travel the nation speaking on literacy, freedom and the gospel. It’s given me the opportunity to spend my days doing what I love instead of slogging away at a job I’d kill to quit. All in all, it’s been a wonderful thing.

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