Candace Kade grew up in China and currently lives in Austin, Texas. When she’s not missing Chinese food, she’s busy writing, exploring new countries, volunteering, hiking in national parks, teaching her husband Mandarin, and keeping a baby human alive.

In this interview, Candace talks with us about the second book in her The Hybrid Series, titled Hybrid.

FF: What inspired the story in your book?
“Sometimes family is war.”

That’s one of my favorite lines from Hybrid and the main theme. This idea of fighting for family, even when things are challenging, is very personal to me. I have four younger brothers, two of whom were adopted as teenagers from Ukraine. Our family went through a difficult transition period when they first arrived in the US.

My new brothers didn’t speak English at all. They’d spent almost their entire lives living in an orphanage. There were so many cultural, and language barriers to overcome, not to mention our own family’s distinct rhythms and ways of doing things.

Adoption is beautiful.

It can also be messy and painful.

The next few years were hard on my family as all of us adjusted to the changes taking place. Things weren’t the way they used to be. And never would be again. Sometimes, fighting for family was excruciatingly hard.

As we slowly found our way, I discovered the family that once existed had given way to something new. This family was a little different, bigger, and had some Ukrainian flare. This family was worth the fight.

So is every family.

My hope is through the Hybrid Series, readers will come away with a new understanding of the value of family—no matter what yours looks like.

FF: What can you tell us about the main characters in your book?
When I was living in Beijing I learned about an interesting Chinese word, 危机,or crisis. The first character, 危 or wei, symbolizes “dangerous.” The second, 機 or ji, means “opportunity.” Thus, symbolizing how every crisis can be both dangerous and an opportunity.

In Hybrid, Urban, the main protagonist, faces a crisis.

Urban arrives at the very end of herself and in that moment, is reminded of this character for crisis. Sometimes the different between danger and opportunity is a simple mindset shift.

This revelation changes her predicament and ultimately, her life.

FF: Which character surprised you the most?
Lucas, Urban’s brother, surprised me the most. He’s always been a bit of a prankster and pot-stirrer, constantly getting into trouble. He’s also had it out for Urban since the beginning and things only grow worse in Hybrid. Lucas is also one of those delightfully complex characters who, when you really take the time to sit down and sip a bubble tea with, you realize is more than he seems.

FF: Why do you think storytelling is such a powerful way to share truth?
Storytelling has the ability to take random facts or life lessons and packages them in a way that people will listen to, understand, and remember for years to come. Telling someone to be brave is one thing. Showing a hero display bravery in the face of incredible odds, gets the point across much better and resonates with us.

FF: What can readers expect from the rest of this series?
Readers can expect higher stakes, more action, but also a closer look at the heart behind the story. Book one is about finding your identity in a world where you DNA determines everything. Book two is about fighting for family. Book three takes both of those themes and digs deeper. All while immersing readers in a world full of AI games, social scores, hackers, genetic enhancements, and futuristic motorcycle races.

FF: What kind of research did you do for this book?
Other than spending nearly half my life in China and taking up jiu-jjitsu, I’m always chatting with experts in various fields of tech.

I’ve had opportunities to sit down with doctors, developers, cyber security experts, crypto advisors, AI product managers, and counselors to get their opinions on everything from fictitious diseases, CRISPR, how to hack an encrypted file, to how someone might emotionally respond to trauma. Beyond that, there’s a lot of googling that goes on in the background.

FF: What do you want readers to take away after reading your book?
My hope is for any readers who are currently struggling with their families to remember to have patience, forgiveness and grace for their families and to keep pressing in and fighting for those relationships.

FF: What are the biggest challenges for you as an author writing in your specific genre?
Every author has a super power. Captivating voice, life like characters that stick with you for decades, incredible realistic world building, mind blowing plots, or page turning action—every author has something they do really well.
For me, its world building and plot, both of which are incredibly important for speculative fiction novels. The hardest part is always writing a wide cast of character and developing their ARCs over an entire series.

FF: What authors or books have inspired you as an author?
Christopher Paolini inspired me at an early age. I read his debut novel as a teenager and was shocked to find out he’d also been a teen when he wrote it.

That revelation opened my eyes to the fact that anyone can be an author—no matter their age. That kick started my own career as I took myself seriously for the first time and began writing my first novel in high school.

FF: How has your faith or world view impacted the way you tell stories?
My faith impacts everything I do. For storytelling, one of the big things it impacts is the sort of stories I write.

I love telling stories about good triumphing over evil, of men and women who face the worst of the world but still perseverance, I love hopefully stories, intriguing stories, stories full of goodness, joy and laughter.

I love all of those things because those are the stories God writes for us. I hope to capture a sliver of His creativity and storytelling abilities in my own writing so that I can encourage and delight others in the stories I tell.

The Hybrid Series #2
Candace Kade
Enclave Publishing
Genres: YA/Teen, Sci-Fi
Release Date: March 5, 2024

ISBN-13: ‎979-8886051025

Book Summary:
Lee Urban’s search for truth could destroy everything.

After narrowly surviving several attempts on her life, Lee Urban retreats into hiding, seeking refuge with her family for the Lunar New Year. But the relaxing holiday turns into a heist when someone crashes the party with intel on the hybrid’s identity.

Driven by desperation, Urban accepts a position within the elite Dragons AI team, a high-stakes gamble that will propel her into the heart of the turbulent West. As she follows the elusive clues to the hybrid, the journey takes her closer to uncovering the truths about her own origins and the odd circumstances surrounding her adoption.

Tensions between the Enhanced and Naturals grow increasingly violent and the Western Federation teeters on the brink of civil war. Urban’s choices threaten to tear her family apart, and the secrets she unearths just might shatter the delicate balance of society.


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About The Author

Candace Kade grew up in China and currently lives in Austin, Texas. When she’s not missing Chinese food, she’s busy writing, exploring new countries, volunteering, hiking in national parks, teaching her husband Mandarin, and keeping a baby human alive.