Posted on 03/05/2019 at 08:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek
For many people, being a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author would be the most exciting moment in their lives.
We’re not saying that didn’t thrill romance and fantasy writer Calinda B, but we will point out the many other heart-pounding incidents she’s lived through.
First off, she’s a volunteer EMT whose hobbies include kayaking and scuba-diving.
She has also, according to her Amazon bio, dabbled in fire-walking, woken up from a six-week coma, and swum with sharks.
So we asked Calinda to open up the interview with her personal favorite tale of adventures, and then tell us about the much safer side of her life (as in, writing).
SADYE: Your author bio references some pretty wild incidents. Tell us about the most interesting one.
CALINDA: I went ice climbing on Christmas Day many years ago. I was dating a new guy, and he offered to take me.
We drove from his home in Idaho up into the wilds of Canada, donned our gear, and began our ascent.
Along the way I began to get an uneasy feeling about the trip. Something wasn't right. Maybe it was nothing, but I began to get apprehensive.
Once we began, though, I loved ice climbing! There's something extremely satisfying about jamming one's crampons into the ice and following with swift, sharp swings overhead with the ice pick.
We got to the top of the waterfall and made our way east. My date said he wanted to show me an ice cave — it was just beyond this narrow ledge ahead.
I said, "Too scary. No." He pressed on, saying, "It's so pretty, you'll be blown away."
As an avid adventurer, I know to trust my own body. But, since this was a new relationship and I wanted to show him how cool I was or something stupid, I agreed to try.
I fell and ended up dangling upside down with my right foot caught on the ledge overhead by my crampon.
Here's where it gets really odd — we hadn't seen a soul all day. Not during the hike into the falls area, not in the place where we parked, nowhere.
But, after I fell, a paramedic appeared in the distance. She yelled to us, asking if we needed help. Well, heck, yeah!
She and her friends were apparently out for a hike. They made their way to the bottom of the cliff (it must have taken them a while because they were pretty far away), and the rescue commenced.
Somehow, I was lowered from the cliff to the bottom. They fashioned a makeshift sled from backpacks and dragged me to our vehicle.
I vaguely remember thanking them profusely, at least I hope I did. I might have been in shock.
I was lucky — I only suffered a hairline fracture, a torn ligament (that acts up from time to time to this day) and flew home by myself to a lonely Christmas holiday.
At least I got a great story out of it.
SADYE: How did you get started writing novels as a career?
CALINDA: I'm highly creative. I've always got one, two, or ten projects going. In 2011 I realized I had a lot of unfinished projects laying about.
On a trip to California to visit one of my sons, on impulse I blurted, "I'm writing a book! And, I'm going to finish it."
No, I never had aspirations to be a writer. I knew I was good at writing, but it never crossed my mind to become one.
He looked at me, mumbled something like, "Okay, you do that."
When I returned, I wrote and finished my first ever book in six weeks (this was when indie authoring was in its infancy).
I got caught in the wave of self-publishing, and away I went. To date, I've written over twenty-five books.
Six of them are currently unpublished after a small-press publisher gave me back the rights to them.
SADYE: Which genre is your favorite to write in, and why?
CALINDA: I love to write both fantasy/sci-fi and contemporary romances.
And since we're on the topic, at the advice of my peers, I recently split my genres into distinct pen names. Callie Bardot crafts the romances, while Calinda B writes the fantasy.
In writing fantasy, I get to lose myself in mystical worlds and strange situations. My imagination is my guide.
I try to consider how I would experience living among people who shapeshift, for example, or possess unique abilities on another planet.
And I always infuse as much "realism" into those kinds of stories as possible. I love the natural world and study animal behaviors when I can. ...
As for writing romance, my romances are usually gritty, and fairly explicit as far as the sex goes (the fantasy novels are far tamer — hence, the split in pen names).
I've lived a wild life, often troubled, always adventurous and edgy. I know the value of hard work and a willingness to overcome obstacles to gain emotional health.
As a result, you'll find my characters often come from rough circumstances. But they fight for love.
They always battle their way out of the dark and into the light of heart-centric relationships.
I hope my books inspire others to not give up when it comes to love. You can find it!
But you might have to face yourself and come to terms with your choices along the way, like I did.
SADYE: What has been the most rewarding, surprising, and challenging part of it?
CALINDA: As I mentioned earlier, I've had a troubled life.
My life memories were all jammed into various "boxes" inside my mind, many of them tied with shame and pain.
Once I started writing, I was able to accept various parts of my lives. As I was able to integrate my stories, I healed. As a result, I feel more "whole."
Also, writing forced me out of my shell and taught me to interact more with people. I can be a real recluse.
Yet this is a daunting business. I can't sit back and expect to succeed without managing all phases of my career.
Also, there are many who exploit indie authors' drive to succeed. I've had the misfortune of being in several groups or circumstances with misguided leaders.
It taught me how to really pay attention to my intuition and honor myself. I've learned to be patient, make wise decisions with our money, and practice a bit of self-restraint.
And I've met a lot of really cool people, both readers and authors, along the way!
SADYE: If you could be one of your characters, who would it be and why?
CALINDA: I think I'm all of my characters, male and female, so can't really choose!
If I had to choose, though, I'd be Savannah in Fire or Chia in the Charming Shifter Mysteries.
Both characters are feisty and persist in the face of adversity. No is not an option with those gals.
SADYE: Have you taken any stories from your experience as a volunteer EMT and used them in your fiction?
CALINDA: All the time!
I see a lot of crazy stuff as an EMT, like being the support person for the brother whose sibling was found dead in his trailer.
Or finding our patient sitting outside of an abandoned home where she once lived with her boyfriend, with her IV sticking out of her arm (she escaped from the hospital where she'd been taken earlier).
Or getting another call later that same day for this same patient when she escaped from the hospital again, and made her way to the abandoned home.
We couldn't find her on that call. Instead, we searched the perimeter of the empty house in the dark of night with one lone flashlight.
It was spooky, and I was scared. I pictured her ex coming at us with his shotgun (the house was in an unsavory rural area in our neighborhood).
Also, I seem to always be writing scenes involving medical care for my patients. It comes in handy to know the procedures, equipment and terminology.
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Categories: Author Interview