I can’t tell you how excited I am to be interviewing Candace Calvert today and Wednesday! She’s a fellow medical thriller writer, a great mentor and true friend. Her novel, Trauma Plan, just released so be sure to pick up your copy.
Jordyn: Tell us a little about your nursing/writing path. Were you always an ER nurse? Have you always written stories? Or, did writing come after nursing?
Candace: I was an ER nurse for more than 3 decades. Yes, (laughing) I was drafted into this calling as a mere child. Writing has always been an outlet for me, and in school I was one of those rare (and possibly odd) students who welcomed essay assignments as a treat. Though I tinkered with creative writing off and on during my adult years, it was a near-death experience that actually launched my publishing career.
In 1997, I was thrown from a horse and eventually landed “on the other side of the stethoscope” in my own trauma room. I’d suffered thoracic and multiple rib fractures, a bleeding lung, cervical fractures and a spinal cord injury. The inspirational account of that event—“By Accident”—appears in Chicken Soup for the Nurses Soul and was my first published work.
Jordyn: What was your favorite part about nursing? Least favorite part?
Candace: Favorite part: That heart-warming and goose bumpy moment when you know that “being there” for a particular patient has made a big difference in that person’s life. Least Favorite: Inflicting physical pain during necessary treatment, especially with children.
Jordyn: What do you think are some common misconceptions about nurses– or ER nurses specifically?
Candace: People think that nurses get “tough” and immune to the pain and tragedy they experience in their careers, that there is some protective psychological flak jacket we pull on to distance ourselves. It’s so not true. As a peer counselor for Critical Incident Stress (“burn out”), I saw the profound effects that painful scenarios have on staff. One of the main reasons I write medical fiction is to reveal (and honor) the compassionate hearts behind the stethoscopes.
Jordyn: What made you decide to pursue publication?
Candace: In truth, my husband. I’d been dabbling, dreaming. One day he signed me up for an online writing class, saying, “Stop talking about writing a book and just do it.” Pushy and wonderful man.
Jordyn: What are some common medical inaccuracies you see when you read novels or watch television?
Candace: One of things that irks me most, is when a young, healthy person is the victim of trauma (gunshot, MVA, etc.), drops to the street of a huge city (meaning LOTS of hospitals!) and someone does a quick pulse check and then says with wisdom and melodrama, “He’s gone.” Excuse me? I’m sure it’s plot effective to get rid of that victim, but no CPR, no 911 call, no transport to a nearby trauma center? Where’s that “Golden Hour”? A witnessed collapse and no one does anything. Makes me crazy.
We’ll continue with Candace on Wednesday. Looking forward to seeing everyone for Part II!
Candace Calvert is a former ER nurse who believes love, laughter and faith are the best medicines. Her Mercy Hospital and Grace Medical series offer readers a chance to “scrub in” on the exciting world of emergency medicine—along with a soul-soothing prescription for hope. Wife, mother, and very proud grandmother, she makes her home in northern California.