Monday, June 9, 2008

Book Of Trials And Triumphs

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Candace E. Salima, author of Forged In The Refiner's Fire, a wonderful book of uplifting stories she compiled with Elizabeth A. Cheever. These stories give amazing insight on facing and overcoming trials.
I was deeply touched by the many experiences shared in this book and came away feeling inspired by the thoughts and feeling shared.

Candace, I have really looked forward to visiting with you. Thanks for taking the time to chat with us. Tell us a little about yourself.

I was born of a long line of artists, musicians and writers, on both sides of the family, right smack dab in the middle of twelve children. In a family comprised of his, mine and ours, I can barely remember a time when reading wasn't an integral part of my life. My love of books, reading and writing, was born of hearing my mother read nightly from the James Herriot series about a veterinarian's mishaps in the British countryside. I thrived in a family of readers, began writing original stories at the age of eleven and never looked back.

The daughter of a father who survived the invasion of Hitler's war machine in his homeland and a mother who is an often controversial conservative columnist, I spent my childhood on the back of a horse or trudging through the mountains and valleys of the American west. Born in California, I lived in Nebraska, Montana, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico . . . all before I was twelve-years-old. As an adult I lived in Idaho, Wyoming, Arizona, and another short stint in California before making her home in Utah. – Read More

How long have you been writing and what got you started?

I remember writing little stories, off and on, although not nearly as much I would have liked in elementary school. Finally, at home one day, I was sitting in my bedroom looking out the window and decided I wanted to write a complete story, with a beginning, middle and end. I found paper and a pencil and went to town on it. A couple of hours later I had that complete story written and I truly never did look back.

When I went to college, I went with the idea that I wanted to become a prosecutor. My little sister wanted to, and did become, a defense attorney. We relished the thought of going up against each other in a courtroom. However, mid-way through my sophomore year at Ricks College I took a Creative Writing class to give my brain a break. Writing is fun for me, so I was really looking forward to this class.

On the first day, Sister Dorla Jenkins walked in. The rows of desks were filled and she walked down the aisle to the chalkboard and wrote two words: duck bill. She said, “You have five minutes to turn that into something wonderful” and she walked back out.

When she came back she told us that it was her job to get as many people to drop that class as possible, before the drop dead date (that last date when you can drop a class without having to pay for the class). She told us over the course of the next few weeks she would work us and work us hard and whomever was left would meet with her, one on one, and she’d tell us whether to drop or not. Wow!

I hung in there. Story after story came back completely covered in red writing. But as the weeks went on there was less and less red. That week approached and more than half the class had already dropped. I went into her office with a combination of fear, uncertainty and anxiety. She stunned me. What proceeded was a heartfelt conversation which changed the course of my life. Within the next two weeks I changed from a path to criminal justice and changed it to creative writing.

Over the next two decades I wrote several screenplays, formed my own production company and ultimately decided to seek funding to build and run a fully functioning movie studio in Utah, rivaling those in Hollywood. I worked for years to make that come about. I learned the ins and outs of the industry, both from a writer’s viewpoint, but also that of the producer and director. I studied under the best story structurist in Hollywood and worked, worked hard. Sadly, this never came to fruition. I met with potential investors numerous times and ended up walking away every time, not because I wanted too much, but because each time there was gut-wrenching feeling that each investor, at each time, was wrong. So very wrong. Sadly, I lost a good deal of money before I decided to step back. When I was 38 years old, I realized this particular dream was never going to come to fruition, at least not while I was young enough to run the whole thing, and began to look around for other ways in which I could write.

Books, books and more books became the answer. There are so many stories in my head I simply delight in the process of getting them on paper, polishing them and submitting them for publication. I, truly, have never looked back.

Your dedication definitely inspires me. Tell us what inspired the writing of Forged In The Refiner's Fire.

After Out of the Shadows . . . Into the Light was published I began to enjoy a measure of success as the book was favorably received by reviewers and readers. I immediately began working on the sequel when I was approached by my publisher to write 13 and 0: Reflections of Champions, which I did. At its completion I returned to work on Dreams Die Hard when Elizabeth Cheever approached me. She wanted me to work with her on Forged in the Refiner’s Fire, the book we are here to discuss today. I was busy. So very, very busy. I didn’t see how I could, but there was something in the concept that simply grabbed at my heart. I agreed and we began the process of gathering the stories. I suggested she write the opening chapter, introducing the concept of the Refiner’s Fire (the Lord’s testing processing) and I would write the concluding chapter, tying it all up. We each agreed to submit one story as well. After that, we looked for stories that would ultimately uplift the reader.

Candace's author interview can be viewed by clicking on the link below.

Tell us about your other books.

Out of the Shadows . . . Into the Light is written in my favorite genre, romantic suspense. When I decided to write the story I only had the basic outlines. But when I sat down at the computer it literally poured out of me.

Welcome to Lost Canyon Springs, where love, danger and triumph of the spirit await. Wyoming rancher, Caroline Duncan, has spent the past few years fighting two difficult battles—maintaining the ranch her family has owned for more than a century, and dealing with the absence of her son, Patrick, kidnapped by her ex-husband, Todd. Almost three years to the day of her son's kidnapping, U.S. Marshal, Slade Taggart, arrives on her doorstep, bringing news of Todd's imminent capture. If all goes well, Patrick will be home within twenty-four hours.

Caroline struggles to remain strong when she soon receives news that Todd had eluded the authorities once again. in desperation, Caroline vows to pursue him herself. Slade joins her, and the pair head into one of the most vicious Wyoming blizzards ever, facing the rigors of weather, nature, and drug cartel assassins. In the midst of this, Slade and Caroline fight a growing attraction for each other. Caroline isn't sure she needs a tall, good-looking U.S. Marshal to complicate matters, but Slade knows he wants this strong, righteous, beautiful Wyoming rancher in his life. Will Caroline have the faith to follow the promptings given her by the Lord? Or will she lose everything?

It’s a page turner. I’m one of those authors that likes to grab you by the throat, yank you into my story and drop you out when I’m done. I am a lyrical writer. I want you feel every aspect of the story, and this story is precisely that.

13 and 0: Reflections of Champions is the story of BYU’s 1984 National Football Championship Team. It was an exciting process that ended up with me feeling tremendously privileged at being the one to bring this story to light.

13 and 0: Reflections of Champions by Candace E. Salima with Alvin E. Salima—A college football team from the Rocky Mountains crowned the best in the land? The idea was unthinkable—until BYU's 1984 team took the national championship. The Cougar's perfect season left traditional national college football powerhouses by the wayside, mesmerizing national media and energizing fans. That year has been the stuff of legends ever since.

So what made that year unique—and where are the players now? Find out that and more inside:

Compelling synopses of each game Biographies of players and coaches, totaling thirty in number Dozens of photos, including current ones of players' families Player's thoughts on how the season changed their lives The positive ripples still seen as a result of that unforgettable experience.

Immerse yourself in the magical season of 1984 and the remarkable men who achieved a seemingly unreachable goal.

I did one more thing usually not found in sports biographies. I included a chapter on faith and another chapter with the testimonies of those players willing to share them. It is an inspiring book each fledgling athlete in the world should read. It’s time we drop the supposed athletic heroes who shoot first and ask questions later, commit adultery, drink and drive, do drugs and more and reach for the heroes that can inspire and uplift. The gentlemen I interviewed from the 1984 team are just that. Men who can be looked up to.

And then, Forged in the Refiner’s Fire, which we are talking about today. All three books can be purchased here.

Out of the Shadows is one of my favorite books. How did you come up with the story?

I’m not really certain where the story originally came from. But I grew up in the country on what I’d like to call a series of farmettes. I knew farm life and I knew ranch life. But I also really wanted a career in law enforcement. So all my fiction stories seem to always have those elements: country living and law enforcement. I love an exciting story and that’s what poured out of me.

I have been compared, as a writer, to Nora Roberts. No greater compliment could have been given to me. She is, in my opinion, one of the greatest writers of our generation. So I am a voracious reader of hers and several other authors. Reading, reading and more reading is one of the things that make a writer great. I immerse myself in the greatest writers of the romantic suspense, suspense and action suspense genres. So my mind just comes up with the twists and turns of great fiction. That’s how Out of the Shadows . . . Into the Light came to be. It literally poured out of my mind and onto the paper. Each day I awakened, excited to find out where my characters were taking me that day. Yes, I had a general idea, but the twists and turns, those came daily.

Are you working on any projects now? If so, what?

Yes, I’m finishing up Standing on the Fifth: The Long Road, the action/suspense novel, targeted toward the national market, I am working on with Merrill Osmond, of the Osmond Brothers. He is currently on a world tour so the challenges of finishing this up have been very interesting. But it is our hope it will be to the publisher by July 1st, a full month later than we had intended, but you deal with what comes and keep moving forward. It is an exciting book and is really the best writing of my life. I even step back amazed at what is coming out of my head. It is so much fun!

I’m also, still, working on the sequel to Shadows, Dreams Die Hard, which is halfway done. It is my intention to have that one completed by August. I am working with one particular publisher on these books, so people need to check my website or my blog often in order to find the release dates. Believe me, when they are told to me I will blast it to the world.

The Tale of Two Fathers and I Was Wondering are the two nonfiction books I’m working on as well.

Sounds like you are staying pretty busy. They all sound great. So tell us, who or what inspires you in life?

My Savior. My mother. My father. My husband. In that order.

I have been very blessed with a deep and abiding testimony of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I immerse myself in the study of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and feel such joy as each new principle is revealed. Principles as old as time, found within the pages of ancient and modern scripture. Nothing new to the world, simply new to me. Layer upon layer, precept upon precept, line upon line, the gospel is taught to me and I thrive on it.

My mother has lived, at times, an unbearable life. She is a highly self-educated woman and an inspiration to all unable to gain a college education. A home in my mother’s home is filled with books on the Gospel of Jesus Christ, on America, on the World, history of all kind, anything which imparts knowledge. She is the smartest and wisest of all people I know and I love her so much. I finally talked her into joining the blogging revolution, so people can drop by her blog and see what I mean. She taught me strength and the understanding that what stands between you and stupidity was lack of effort on my part and only my part.

My father, as mentioned above, was a survivor of Hitler’s invasion of his homeland. He was a man of strength, courage, conviction and optimism. He was a fierce defender of Jesus Christ and, just as fiercely, of America. He stood between the world and his family and was a righteous priesthood holder unparalleled. I miss him terribly. But he taught me optimism and the ability to go after your dreams.

Both of them taught me unconditional love and through their actions I learned what an eternal family is really all about.

And last, but never least, my sweet husband. He has faced such incredible struggled with his health and he has still awakened ever day and kept moving, one foot after another, forward. He is cheerful, optimistic, righteous, strong and unfailing in his love and commitment to me. He is the reason I faced the death of some dreams and welcome the birth of new ones. He gives me that ability to keep moving forward, no matter the obstacle.

These are the people who have inspired me the most.

Candace, you are a beautiful and amazing lady, and I'm sure you are an inspiration to others as well. I look forward to your future works. Thank you again for hanging out with us.

Candace's Books

Forged in the Refiner’s Fire

13 and 0: Reflections of Champions

Out of the Shadows . . . Into the Light

All of these can be purchased, autographed and personalized at

Thought For The Week

Life is a test, a trust, and a temporary assignment. So live your best life.

To order a copy of my new book The Journey, log on to


Candace E. Salima said...

Jewel - thank for having such a wonderful conversation with me. I'll drop back, off and on, today to see if there are any comments or questions I need to answer. Thank you so much!

Tristi Pinkston said...

How fun to learn more about Candace! Thanks for this interview, Jewel!