When a community crisis hits home and puts lives at risk, emotions run high and buried truths are unearthed. Will hope make the survival list? Candace Calvert continues her medical drama Crisis Tea series with Step by Step (Tyndale House). In this Q&A, she shares her most memorable experience as an ER nurse, how fans have responded to the series, and what she’s most proud of in her writing career…

This is the second installment in your Crisis Team series. What’s the background on this trilogy?

candace-calvert-2016-100x100The Crisis Team series, set in my native California, offers exciting medical scenarios within the fictional Hope medical system, and features the selfless and compassionate work of volunteer community chaplains—true heroes.

How do you expect this series to resonate with your audience? What are you most excited for your readers to experience through reading these novels?

I have found, almost universally, that most of my readers weren’t aware of the vital work done by crisis responders (chaplains). It’s an honor to feature these dedicated volunteers and puts an intriguing new slant on my exciting and highly emotional medical fiction. I also think it adds to the element of hope for my readers, to know that these teams are “out there” in real life.

As a former ER nurse who has had crisis chaplain training, what has been your most rewarding or memorable experience in the field?

In my role as a CISM (Critical Incident Stress Management) peer counselor, I was part of team that ministered to fellow medical team members affected by work-related tragedy. We responded to (and conducted debriefings for) hospital staff after situations involving infant and child death, mass casualties, personal assaults, and accidental death (or suicide) of fellow team members. As often seen in my stories, medical (rescue, fire, law enforcement, and chaplaincy) workers are not immune to the heartbreak of tragedy.

The cliché of a self-protective, indifferent, “professionally distant” service provider couldn’t be further from the truth. We cry, too.

What was your inspiration for this particular book and the main characters, Taylor and Seth?

calvert-crisisteam02-300x450Nurse Taylor Cabot and Chaplain Seth Donovan were secondary characters, friends and volunteer teammates, in By Your Side. In this new story readers have the opportunity to learn more about them and follow their heart-tugging journey. The setting is beautiful San Diego, California where, in opening scene, a small plane crashes onto the beach. The continuing story offers exciting medical drama, an in-depth look a crisis chaplaincy, warm humor, romance–and a few tears. (Kleenex advised).

Have you received any feedback from your fans on the Crisis Team series? How are they responding?

The response (I’m grateful) has been very positive; readers love these compassionate crisis responders. And, of course, I’m so honored that Booklist chose this series’ first story, By Your Side, as a Top 10 Inspirational Book of 2015.

What’s the best advice or encouragement you have received either personally or professionally?

I would have to say the best advice I’ve received both professionally and personally is also a tenet of crisis chaplaincy: to simply listen.

We all (especially service providers) have a great need to “do and fix.” And certainly talk, advise–sometimes lecture. One of the biggest blessings, gifts, we can give another person is to listen, really hear them.

It also speaks, of course, to one of my favorite verses: Psalm 46:10 “…Be still, and know that I am God…”

What are you most proud of in your writing career?

I’m not sure “proud” is the word, but I think I’m most pleased (still pinching myself) that readers say my stories have touched their hearts, encouraged them at a time of despair–even changed their lives. It’s powerful, humbling, amazing.

More about the book here:

Step by Step (Crisis Team #2)

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