Welcome Candee Fick to the blog again!
She was here on June 23 to feature the first book in The Wardrobe series.
Candee has returned today to talk about book two in the series.
This book is called Focus on Love.
If you or anyone you know loves photography, this is a post for you to share!
Enjoy your time with Candee today!
Interview with Candee Fick about her book, Focus on Love:
Alexis: Focus on Love is the second book in The Wardrobe series. What can you tell us about its placement in that series? Can you give us a glimpse of the first story in the series and explain how that set the stage for your characters?
Candee: The first book of the series introduces several actresses at a musical dinner theater in northern Colorado. Dani, an orphan looking for her brother (in the first book), is roommates with Liz in a company apartment shared with the resident diva and the diva’s sidekicks. The company starts the all season performing 42nd Street, but when rehearsals begin for White Christmas, Liz’s name is left off the cast list leaving her floundering for a new job. Without plot spoilers from book one, there’s a crime, suspects, and a dramatic unmasking of the culprit…leaving an unexpected opening in the cast for Liz to fill.
Alexis: Tell us about your story’s heroine Elizabeth Foster. What does she look like? Sound like? Act like? What are her hopes and dreams? What makes Liz a free spirit?
Candee: Elizabeth—Liz—is a spunky redhead with long straight hair and green eyes. As an actress, she can sing and dance, but while she’s not a traditional “drama queen” seeking attention, she’s not afraid to speak her mind even with a touch of snark. Growing up, she was the creative and artistic sort pursuing both dance and photography with the encouragement of her loving Irish grandparents instead of being stifled by her legalistic religious father. She dreamed of stepping into the family’s photography business and even took a few business classes in college so she could be even more prepared. Despite those dry class topics, she’s the one most likely to color outside the lines or look at the world in a different way.
Alexis: Why does Liz pursue a career in musical theater over photography? Did Liz’s dad pressure her to become a photographer like him and join the family business? Why or why not?
Candee: The opening scene of the book recounts the moment Liz made that decision, so without ruining that moment, let’s just say that Liz’s dream of being a part of Foster’s Fotos looked very different from her dad’s intentions. While she longed to be behind the camera, he ignored her talent and wanted her in an administrative role. And when their visions clashed, he laid down an ultimatum she couldn’t accept, leaving her with a difficult decision that could cost her a connection to her family.
Alexis: Why is it that a possible career in photography and a dream career in theater are pulling Liz’s heart in two different directions?
Candee: After that past pain, Liz only picks up her camera as a hobby while devoting most of her time to rehearsals and her life at the theater. Then our hero Ryan gives her the chance to get paid to help photograph a local charity event. But with her camera in hand and the shutter clicking, all those dormant dreams come roaring to the forefront. Could she build a new dream as a freelance photographer or should she stick to the safer career on the stage even though casting decisions were not guaranteed? Could she have both?
Alexis: If you were to step into your story as a life coach, would you caution or encourage Liz to follow her heart? Why or why not?
Candee: Because Liz can be a tad hot-headed and impulsive—especially when angered or hurt—I’d caution her to make a rational, well-thought-out decision. In other words, look before she leaps. Can she make a living at it? Does it bring her joy? But I’d also encourage her to pray a lot and ask God to reveal the unique gifts He gave her and where she might use them. Liz had turned her back on family and faith, but once she’s reconnected with God, her heart is receptive to that Heavenly wisdom again.
Alexis: Let’s talk about your story’s hero, Ryan Callahan. What does he look like? Sound like? Act like? What makes him strong and what makes him weak?
Candee: Ryan is a stereotypical Montana cowboy complete with jeans, hat, and swagger. But despite being raised on a ranch, his parents gave him the freedom to choose his path and supported his dream of photography. His faith makes him strong along with confidence in his award-winning skills and high-paying contracts that take him around the world. Weaknesses? That same confidence in his talent also makes him resistant to change or new ideas, especially if they come from someone with less experience. (Ahem. Liz.)
Alexis: Why did you make Ryan a sought-after photographer and what role does his life profession play in this story?
Candee: I wanted to give Liz a choice. With her past—and the spoiler I didn’t reveal from the opening scene—she’s got a strong aversion to photographers and not just because they represent the dream she left behind. So Ryan’s mere existence rubs salt in her wounds. And yet, there’s something about him that creates a longing to pick up a camera…and her faith again. Knowing Ryan opens the doors of possibility but also sets her up for failure and more pain.
Alexis: Why does Ryan put his career on hold and how does that choice lead him to Liz?
Candee: When his National Guard brother-in-law is deployed while Ryan is between assignments, Ryan comes to Colorado to help his sister with her two small children. And to help support them without taking on a full-time job, he starts looking around for opportunities to make a few bucks. Why not see if the local dinner theater would let him take family photos in the lobby before the Christmas production? He walks in the door to inquire about the possibility and Liz is the only one there to pass his message on to the owner.
Alexis: What are Ryan and Liz’s first impressions of each other? Why?
Candee: At first Liz thinks he’s there to audition for a role in the upcoming Seven Brides for Seven Brothers production. I mean, why else would he wear a cowboy hat and walk into a theater? Tall, dark, handsome. Oh, and he’s a photographer? Never mind how cute he is. She’s done with that world. But why would a well-known photographer want to drum up seasonal business? Something’s not quite right…
On the other hand, he’s immediately attracted to the smiling redhead who’s gushing about getting a miracle. But too soon he’s competing with her for the chance to implement his brilliant idea. Just who does she think she is? Then he sees the raw talent in her photos and wants her on his side.
Alexis: Why do Ryan and Liz have trouble with trusting people?
Candee: Liz has been hurt by her father’s expectations and the betrayal of her ex-boyfriend. If she puts her heart on the line again, what are the chances she’ll end up broken again? On the other hand, while his parents supported his dream, others in Ryan’s life wanted either to force him into their plans or exploit his connections. So while he’s happy to get to know Liz, there’s a part of him that wonders what the future would bring. Would she try to change him?
Alexis: What do you want readers to remember most about this story?
Candee: The surface plot is all about photography and pursuing a dream. But in addition to the romance, there’s another love story woven through the pages as Liz wrestles with her faith. Her father always preached adherence to religious rules but Ryan’s relationship with God is instead rooted in love. So, I want readers to remember to focus on the Love. Because God so loved the world, He sent His Son. And in response we are to love God and love our neighbor as ourselves.
Alexis: Complete this sentence: If I were a photographer, I’d specialize in __________________ photography because _________________.
Candee: If I were a photographer, I’d specialize in nature photography because I get so inspired by the vast beauty of God’s creation and the intricate details revealed if you take a closer look. Plus it’s the perfect excuse to visit lots of places on my bucket list!
Alexis: Thanks for the interview, Candee! Would you like to share closing thoughts?
Candee: At the conclusion of Focus On Love, readers clamored to know more about Liz and Ryan’s story especially when it came to resolving things with her father. So … I wrote a novella to wrap up all the loose ends. That’s why I’d recommend A Picture Perfect Christmas as a follow-up!
Candee Fick is a multi-published, award-winning author.
She is also the wife of a high school football coach and the mother of three children, including a daughter with a rare genetic syndrome.
When not busy writing, editing, or coaching other authors, she can be found cheering on the home team at sporting events, exploring the great Colorado outdoors, indulging in dark chocolate, and savoring happily-ever-after endings through a good book.
Blurb for Focus on Love:
His love healed her broken heart, but now her love could set him free.
Free-spirited Elizabeth Foster turned her back on her father's photography business—and her faith—to pursue musical theater instead. Now, with a one-show contract, Liz is a few weeks away from unemployment forcing her back home until a chance encounter in the theater lobby resurrects her childhood dream of a life behind the camera.
Meanwhile, sought-after photographer Ryan Callahan has put his freelance career on hold to help his sister's family while her husband is deployed. While looking for seasonal income, he discovers a spunky actress with a talent for capturing faces and her quick-shutter enthusiasm ignites more than his dormant creative spark.
After another heart-breaking rejection by her father, Ryan is there to pick up the pieces, however the promise of a bigger assignment could lure him away. With two career opportunities unfolding before her, Liz faces her biggest challenge yet—listening to her heart. What dream would develop if they could only focus on love?
If you like photography, musical theater, and sweet, faith-based romance, you’ll love this second installment in The Wardrobe series by Candee Fick. Get Focus On Love and experience the life-changing journey toward love today.
Buy Candee’s book on Amazon or listen to it on Audible
Connect with Candee:
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/Author.Candee.Fick
Amazon Author Central: https://www.amazon.com/Candee-Fick/e/B0056B94VE/
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