I’m delighted to give Candace Calvert the floor here at Relz Reviewz today to share about her leading lady in Maybe It’s You, Sloane Ferrell.
My “Bad Girl” Staged a Story Coup: A Good Thing
Authors sometimes get letters about heroes or heroines and how readers rooted for them, identified with them, and will never forget them. But villains generate mail too.
“Bad girl” Sloane should qualify for her own zip code.
This edgy, irreverent, and often-surly nurse has a bit part at the end of By Your Side, but not enough to rile anyone. In Step by Step Sloane hits full stride—with thigh-high boots, spiky hair, frosty-blue eyes—seemingly intent on a self-driven collision course with disaster. She’s a worthy antagonist and a perfect foil for the warm and selfless story heroine. Sloane was easy to hate, easier to judge, and—for an author—a convenient character to toss when the last chapter closed. Buh-bye, troublemaker.
Except . . .
She wouldn’t leave me alone.
Sloane pinned me with that icy gaze and, hands on hips, flat out dared me to “finish it.”
You see, I’d already crawled inside Sloane’s head to write from her point of view. It was dark in there and a little scary and uncomfortable, what with the drinking, friction with ER teammates, and all that reckless off-duty behavior. But it wasn’t all dark villainy; there was Sloane’s compassion for patients, her regret at past mistakes, the loneliness, and those heart-tugging interactions with a rescue kitten. The kitten. That’s what got to me most. And in the end, I was left with more questions than answers.
What shaped her into who she is? Why does she make such poor, self-destructive choices? Did she always feel so estranged from God? What would it take for Sloane to find her happy ending?
Plus that other pesky question: Would my publisher go for it? I never proposed the “bad girl” take a starring role in this third book.
When I met with my Tyndale House publishing team at the ACFW conference, I took a breath—and a chance—and pitched the idea. There was a short silence, some exchanged looks, then a blossoming of smiles. They loved it.
So I slipped back into Sloane’s head, lighting candles against the darkness, and wrote my very first redemption story. It wasn’t easy. She flung me a wild mix of research: twelve-step programs, human trafficking, Russian crime syndicates, child beauty pageants, the Hollywood Walk of Fame—and even the history of marshmallow “charms” in breakfast cereal. It seemed impossible to connect. But in the end, it all came together. And it felt so very right. Because . . .
We took the risk to see a bad girl as hero material; we gave “someone like that” a second chance. And isn’t that exactly what we’re all promised by way of grace? That no matter our past mistakes, we are worthy of forgiveness and God’s unfailing love? Yes. There is no more beautiful truth.
So I hope Sloane generates more letters, that her story makes people more forgiving of their own mistakes. And I pray such compassion, born of grace, extends to troubled family members, friends, neighbors . . . and many, many more. It would be a blessing far beyond any happy ending.
* Maybe It’s You can be read as a stand-alone. It’s not necessary to read the Crisis Team series in order.
ER nurse Sloane Ferrell escaped her risky past—new name, zip code, job, and a fresh start. She’s finally safe, if she avoids a paper trail and doesn’t let people get too close. Like the hospital’s too-smooth marketing man with his relentless campaign to plaster one “lucky” employee’s face on freeway billboards.
Micah Prescott’s goal is to improve the Hope hospital image, but his role as a volunteer crisis responder is closer to his heart. The selfless work helps fill a void in his life left by family tragedy. So does a tentative new relationship with the compassionate, beautiful, and elusive Sloane Ferrell.
Then a string of brutal crimes makes headlines, summons responders . . . and exposes disturbing details of Sloane’s past.
Candace Calvert is a former ER nurse and author of the Mercy Hospital, Grace Medical, and Crisis Team series. Her medical dramas offer readers a chance to “scrub in” on the exciting world of emergency medicine. Wife, mother, and very proud grandmother, Candace makes her home in northern California. Her latest book and the final installment in the Crisis Team series, Maybe It’s You, released February 3, 2017 from Tyndale House Publishers.