Interview with Candra Kylar,The Author of Once Upon A Werewolf
Candra Kylar is an independent paranormal mystery writer from Indianapolis, Indiana. She's formerly an entertainment journalist and lifestyle blogger that always had a passion for the creative process. She is currently working on the "Abigail Everlaine Mystery Series" and has started writing dialogue for an independent movie production company.
Ravi: What’s your favorite short story?
Candra: “Mountains of Madness” by H.P. Lovecraft...it’s chilling and so intensely cerebral that the story will stay with you forever.
Ravi: The best piece of writing advice?
Candra: Even if it feels like a book won’t come out of it or you’re rambling on paper, always take time every day to write. Absolutely nothing about the process or exercise is a waste. I’ve written so many outlines that I have a folder full of them! It’s important to know that, even if nothing comes out of it now, something beautiful could bloom from it later.
Ravi: Where do you write?
Candra: Because I live in an apartment, space is limited and privacy is hard to come by. In the quiet hours of the night, I sit by the patio with my laptop and muse about the next chapter in my book. If I need a change of pace, I go out to the library or a cafe to enjoy all the ambiance surrounding me.
Ravi: Where do you get your ideas?
Candra: For my most recent novel, I was in Kentucky at a bourbon distillery with two of my good friends. We felt like taking a road trip and the rolling green hills contrasted against a brilliant blue sky seemed like the right place to be. While doing a tour of the distillery, I thought of a character who could run such a business and the trouble he could get into. For anyone who has read my first book, that was the birthplace of Elizar Andros.
Ravi: Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Candra: A little bit of both! Writing the initial draft is always an energizing process that gets me pumped up for the final release. Editing, however, is always exhausting and definitely requires a fair amount of patience.
Ravi: How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Candra: My first book in the Abigail Everlaine series took around a month to visualize and outline the initial story. Starting from scratch and having previously only written romance, I had to conceive of new ways for my characters to interact that didn’t tinge on romantic undertones. After the outline was complete and I really got a feel for who Abigail was, it took another month to write the book. Add the third month in for editing and you have a finished product!
Ravi: If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?
Candra: In college, I went the business route hoping to land a career in Human Resources. Writing was something I did as a hobby - even though my college ended up staging a play I wrote my junior year - and I had always done contributing articles for the campus newspaper. If I could go back in time, I would have followed my heart and studied creative writing. There is a wealth of knowledge out there from brilliant professors who could have led me to this path a lot sooner.
Ravi: What is your favorite childhood book?
Candra: “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” and the continuing series, by the brilliant L. Frank Baum. I’m originally from the small town where the author was born and the books came to life for me there.
Ravi: What are your favorite literary journals?
Candra: I’m a fan of anything independent that’s written by passionate and creative people. There are several local and national journals I read up on. Diversity is the key to life!
Ravi: What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?
Candra: I’ve recently given up working a full-time office job to shift towards part-time work. I knew it was the only option for me to have ample time to write. I have a second series coming out at the end of the year and I need all the time I can spare to bring my best work to the forefront.
Ravi: What was your hardest scene to write?
Candra: The most difficult part of my most recent novel - Once Upon A Werewolf - had to be when Abigail revealed her emotional vulnerability to Braeden towards the ending. She just had a breakthrough in her investigation and the idea of moving forward without someone she cared for was devastating. She shows such raw feelings and the verbal exchange between the two characters was heart-wrenching to write. That scene sticks out the most to me because it was so difficult to write but so very necessary for Abigail’s development. She had to learn that even the smartest kind of witch can’t think her way out of some problems.
Ravi: Do you Google yourself?
Candra: Once in a while, I check to see if anyone has reviewed my book or if someone has tagged it on another site. I’m always happy when I see that and keep those moments in mind when I continue to write.
Ravi: Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
Candra: Always! To be a good mystery, you have to drop quite a few bread crumbs along the way before the big finale. I have very clever readers and it’s quite a challenge to write a good twist that they won’t see coming!
Ravi: Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
Candra: I’ve been blessed to have some wonderful reviews that were positive and encouraging to me. Once in a while, someone will admit that my series just isn’t for them. Because it’s a paranormal world that deals with werewolves and vampires, I never take it personally. Sometimes, that just isn’t someone’s thing. Any other critiques on my storyline or characters are used for a bit of self-reflection. I want to provide the best story possible and I’m always ready to grow!
Ravi: Have you read anything that made you think differently about fiction?
Candra: As much flack as the series gets, I have to give props to Stephenie Meyer for her imaginative way of writing vampires. She thought outside of the box and created a world that was both familiar but unique. Her novels helped inspire me to tell my own stories.
Ravi: What did you edit out of this book?
Candra: I almost tapered down Dimples’ role in it. She ended up being a favorite character for a lot of my readers so I promise not to consider that again! Outside of that, there was a small storyline that surfaces in the second installment of the series that just didn’t fit in the current narrative. It comes back later with more relevancy and I was satisfied to leave that on the cutting room floor.
Ravi: How many hours a day do you write?
Candra: Generally, six to eight hours depending on what I’m getting done. I take breaks in between to give my mind and my fingers a rest. I find that, when you get into the writing zone, it’s hard to break away from it.
Ravi: How long were you a part-time writer before you became a full-time one?
Candra: I had written as a hobby for over a decade before taking the plunge into full-time writing. It’s difficult when you pay half of the bills and have to be a career woman on top of writing. I often wished I could be a housewife and have that free time to fully devote to writing. However, with a little creative thinking, I managed to do it on a part-time job’s income. It isn’t perfect but it really feels like an important step.
Ravi: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
Candra: My current series takes place in a fictional world of magic and werewolves. It wasn’t easy to conceptualize so I used a lot of the American Midwest’s landscape for physical inspiration. I did a lot of research on how bourbon distilleries work and dabbled a bit indifferent paranormal history to add elements to my book.
Ravi: What’s the best way to market your books?
Candra: Blog tours and online advertisements are key to a successful book campaign. I’ve been lucky to draw in a lot of readers who have enjoyed the book and spread it on their social media sites. Moving forward, I’m going to look into more target-specific ads and doing more interviews. I’m really excited to be included on this blog!
Ravi: How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Candra: Countless stories in a giant folder on my computer. Not everything feels like a breakthrough and I shelf it for a later date. You never know when a story can be reworked into something new.
Ravi: How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
Candra: As an indie author, you have to do everything yourself. There isn’t an agent out there trying to sell your work or fighting in your corner….that’s all you! It takes a lot of focus and a thick skin to get through the muck of it. Writing the book is the easiest part of the process. Publishing it and getting out there? That’s where all the stress comes in.
Ravi: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Candra: Keep writing and never stop. Imagination builds you up into a survivor.
Ravi: What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
Candra: I was very fortunate to form a friendship online with Brie Spangler who wrote a powerful novel called “Beast” that I strongly suggest everyone should read. She gave me some great advice and helped me move forward as a writer. I’ve also gotten to speak with Jennifer Bernard on several occasions and she is truly a sweet and talented author. Her romance novels have both humorous and emotional moments that are inspiring to me.
Ravi: Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
Candra: As a reader myself, I do a little bit of both. I’d like to think that I have that comedic mystery flair that is so popular these days while delivering something unique.
Ravi: What advice do you have for writers?
Candra: If you feel you have a story to tell, then write it down and believe in the authenticity of it. You never shine more brightly than when you’re using your voice to create.
Ravi: What are the most important magazines for writers to subscribe to?
Candra: I always advocate for writers to join social media groups and online blogs - such as this one - to get a lot of their advice. Indie authors should focus on supporting independent blogs so that we can all grow together.
Ravi: Tell me about your recent book to our Ravi Reads Blog Readers?
Candra: At the start of my book, the queen bee of Iverli’s caster circle finds herself killed by a werewolf. Before she can ascend into the spirit world, she’s brought back and sired into the fold herself. As a hybrid - both a witch and a wolf - she has to carefully guard her secret or else her entire life could go up in flames. She finds that old friends were really enemies the whole time and that new friends come when you’re truly yourself. During her first case, she tracks down a vicious curse that stops a werewolf from shifting and could kill them in the process. She has to outsmart another caster, dodge attacks from her enemies, and help a talking garden gnome save their town from plunging into chaos. It’s a real page-turner and the start of something that will span many more books in the future!
Thanks to candra for agreeing to this interview! If you know of an author who’d like to be featured in an interview (or you are an author who would like to be featured), feel free to email me at the address on my contact page.