Miguelina: Tell us about Candy Lyons, the woman and the writer.
Candy: I’m originally from Shanksville, a small town in the mountains of southwestern Pennsylvania. I started writing romance when I was eleven years old. I devoured Harlequin romances on a regular basis as a pre-teen and wanted to try my hand at writing my own. I was part of a Fife & Drum Corps called the Tam O’Shanters where we took long bus trips to perform in parades, so my first captive audience was a busload of pre-teen and teenage girls on a road trip to Chicago. I took a long hiatus from romance, both reading and writing it, during my college years as I majored in English literature. I came back to writing romance seriously in 2006, when I wrote my first full-length historical romance. I got my MFA in Writing Popular Fiction in 2011 and currently I write paranormal and contemporary romances as Mackenzie Lucas.
Miguelina: How much of your writing is driven, influenced by your readers?
Candy: I write stories I’d like to read. In doing that, I believe I’m reaching readers who are like me. Since I’m newly published (indie December 2012 and traditionally January 2014), I can’t speak too much to the question of the influence of my readers yet. But I hope to build my readership and find my perfect target audience in the years to come.
Miguelina: As president of WRW, what are some of your visionary goals?
Candy: The three goals I want to highlight today are: strategic planning, leadership development, and what I’m calling The “WHY NOT YOU?” Challenge.
Strategic Planning: is important to me. The executive board is going to spend some time looking at the programs and services we provide–what’s working and what’s not–and we’ll think about where we want to go as a chapter and what it’s going to take to get us there. If you have feedback about a program or service you’d love to see our chapter undertake, please let me know.
Leadership Development: is integral to any organization’s growth and health. So I’d like to spend some time this year working to develop our future leaders. We want to give you the tools and development needed in order to lead our organization into the future. WRW offers opportunities to expand your leadership skills and we want to make sure that members, interested in serving and leading WRW, are in a good position to do so.
WHY NOT YOU? Challenge: WRW is an amazing chapter―and it’s because of our volunteers and members who give back or pay it forward with their time and energy. There are more women in this organization, and in RWA as a whole, pursuing their dreams and succeeding than I’ve seen anywhere else. It’s amazing and inspiring. Yet there’s a wealth of experience right here in this chapter that’s virtually untapped. We have a lot of opportunities within WRW to serve, support, and inspire each other. If you’re like me, you can find a million and one excuses why you shouldn’t do something, but how many times do you ask yourself, WHY NOT ME?
I’d like to challenge each one of you to begin to think about what you need to do to take the next step in your writing career this year–is it finishing that manuscript and submitting it to a publisher or an agent to become a PRO member? Is it to enter the Golden Heart? Maybe you’re a multi-published author who has a gift for teaching and mentoring or a traditionally published author who’d like to try her hand at indie publishing? Maybe you’d like to head a committee, plan an event, or run for the executive board? Yet you’ve never done it. Something is holding you back. Maybe you think it’s too far a stretch for you. Too far outside your comfort zone.
When you identify your next step, ask yourself how WRW can help you get where you need to go next. What services do we provide that you can use to get there, and what services or programs can you lend a hand with to help you with your professional development?
So today, I challenge you to ask WHY NOT YOU? By taking that next step that stretches you, even if it’s not comfortable–you can tap into your hidden potential and become that better writer, better teacher, better leader, better whatever it is you desire to be . . . and you’ll make WRW stronger in the process. You’ll expand your comfort zone and be one step closer to success.
And when we each take that step toward success, the sky’s the limit. So WHY NOT YOU?