Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Author Quirks: Candace Calvert

Next up is Candace Calvert, author of Code Triage. I asked her:

What's a quirky or little-known fact about yourself, your writing, and/or one of your novels?

Her answer:

An author’s world straddles fiction and reality—and lends itself to “quirky” moments like this:

In the parking lot of a Staples store, I saw a BMW Z-4. Black. Older model. Convertible. Exactly like the one I'd written into my newest release, Code Triage, for the hero, San Francisco police officer Nick Stathos.

The car appears throughout the story, like in this scene on a famous San Francisco street:

But tonight he wanted to take the long way, because it might be the last time he drove through his favorite city with his wife. She was on to his plan way too soon.

“You’re kidding, right? Lombard Street—what do you think I am, a tourist?”

“I think . . . you’d better hang on tight.”

He steered the Z-4 downward into the first of eight hair-pin turns on the one-way section on Russian Hill, between Hyde and Leavenworth, known as “the crookedest street in the world.” A steep red-brick paved road on a 27% grade with a posted speed limit of 5 miles per hour. “No sweat,” he said. “We took these turns during training. I could do this at a raging six miles an hour . . . chewing gum.” Her grin made his chest warm.

“And wipe out an entire bank of hydrangeas,” she said, pointing across the lush hedges and leaning back—way back—in her seat. “Don’t be a maniac, Nick.”

Yes, the Z-4 was Nick Stathos' car. He got to drive it only because I, as the author of Code Triage, gave it to him. Made it black, convertible . . . and older, because he wasn't the kind of guy to drop a lot of money on a new car. I know this because he's fictional and I wrote him that way. Gave him (in addition to a cool car) a tough-guy cop exterior, an incredibly sensitive heart, a painful past, a deep faith . . . and determination to save his failing marriage.

His car. His past. His future. In my hands.

Nice, tidy, and well-controlled...until that morning, when I drove to Staples in San Antonio to get a black ink cartridge and saw a black BMW Z-4 exactly like the car I'd imagined for my hero, Nick Stathos.

And, as I took it in, my jaw dropped. Then the hair prickled on the back of my neck.

Why? After all, how many black BMW Z-4's are there? Lots, of course.

But it was the license plate letters that caught my eye:



Thank you for your empathetic goosebumps.

And thank you, Candace, for sharing this story about how life and fiction can intersect in surprising ways!

1 comment:

Laura Fabiani said...

Now that's quite the coincidence! Thanks for sharing this bit of info about your book, Candace. Looking forward to reading it.