A former ER nurse, Christian novelist Candace Calvert’s medical dramas offer readers a chance to “scrub in” on the exciting world of emergency medicine. She wraps up her Crisis Team trilogy with Maybe It’s You (Tyndale House). In this Q&A, Candace explains the role of crisis teams, the inspiration for her latest characters, and the best encouragement she has received from a reader.
Crisis teams are becoming increasingly vital and active in the world today. How would you describe their role, and how can we learn more?
Crisis responders are trained to assist survivors of tragedy, whether it be from a major disaster (weather-related catastrophes, fires, bombings, mass shootings, etc.) or of a more personal nature like the sudden death of a loved one from a heart attack, accident, suicide, homicide, sudden infant death, or other unexpected cause.
These volunteers work alongside other community service personnel (fire, police, rescue) offering support, a compassionate ear, and resources to folks trying to cope in the wake of an incident that will forever change their lives. In creating my stories, I’m grateful for the assistance of U.S. Crisis Care.
What was your inspiration for Maybe It’s You and the main characters, Sloane and Micah?
Interestingly, I never intended to feature Sloane Ferrell as the heroine of Maybe It’s You. In Step by Step, she is the nemesis teammate to the story’s heroine. She’s cynical, troubled, and dare we say unlikable? Probably. And rather mysterious, too—for very good reason. As an author, crawling inside Sloane’s head was a challenge. It raised more questions than answers. I suddenly needed to know why she was the way she was. And what it might take to change that.
As this third story opens, Sloane has a new name, new zip code, new job, and a life-and-death need to keep a low profile. But the opening scene puts our reluctant heroine in the media spotlight and at serious odds with Micah Prescott, the hospital’s equally determined PR man.
What lessons or truths will your readers find in the pages of this novel?
The unifying message in Maybe It’s You is one of forgiveness and healing, brokenness and worth—that no matter our mistakes, we are loved by God. Saved by grace.
As an author, what did you particularly enjoy about crafting this story?
I have been known to randomly invite readers into my stories—as characters. It was especially fun, this time, to feature the husband of one of my readers as hospital worker/handyman Jerry Rhodes; from what I’d learned of him on Facebook, he seemed a perfect match.
My reader and I had a great time getting the details right, and in the end, I also “borrowed” her adorable doxies, Gibbs & McGee, her dear, elderly mama—and then I invited this generous reader to make a cameo appearance of her own. I think you’ll agree they were a great addition to the story.
What are some of the unique challenges of writing contemporary romance in a medical setting?
I think the challenge of the medical aspect is to provide realistic (and accurate) medical detail without talking over the heads of readers, but not talking down to them either. Because of the popularity of medical TV drama and the opportunity for people to Google their way into medical jargon, symptomology, and treatment adjuncts, readers are far more savvy these days. I try my best to sort of parachute my readers into the medical scenes, allowing them to feel as if they are part of the team.
As far as the romance aspect goes, while it’s true that teammates working in life-and-death situations often develop strong (and sometimes romantic) bonds, I can guarantee there are no TV-type trysts going on in hospital storage rooms!
What’s the best encouragement you’ve received from a reader?
I often receive emails (and even handwritten letters) from my readers. They are always a blessing. One that particularly stands out was a note from a young woman after her Alabama town was devastated by a tornado. She wrote from a shelter, exhausted, after finally getting her child to sleep. She’d picked up one of my books for a few moments of escape—and found unexpected comfort, hope.
Her words, in part: “During this time of chaos and confusion…thank you for providing shelter in my storm.”
No better encouragement for any author.
More about the book here: