UH, BUT WHO ARE YOU, THO?
The short version: I’m the writer of way too many jobs + projects + semi-slow distance runner + tired mother of two humans + lover of doughnuts/donuts + Milky Way lattes + obsessive cat and Corgi picture Tweeter. I mean, basically. I really need a frickin sweet Dr. Strange cape. But seriously tho — give me a cape, Marvel.
The long-ish version: Once upon a time, there lay a slight twinkle in my wee mother’s eye. One cold, February day, she went to the baby store and picked out the golden one with the biggest hair. Years passed and she decided to keep me (because the baby store is her body and I came out of it and I’m pretty frickin’ sweet) so I silently promised not to be much of a pain (my little bro would eventually take the lead on that!) so here I am writing all the things while trying to look like I have it all together (but I don’t). TA-DA!
WHEN DOES THE INEVITABLE COLLISION OF BIRDIE & BASH COME OUT?
Babes. It’s been out since July 2017. If you don’t already own 5 copies, you’re dead to me.
WHEN DOES SIX GOODBYES WE NEVER SAID COME OUT?
Babes. It’s been out since September 2019. If you don’t already own 5 copies, you’re dead to me.
HAVE YOU PUBLISHED ANYTHING ELSE?
I have an essay in the YA mental health anthology edited by Jessica Burkhart via S&S: Life Inside My Mind, “Anxiety the Weed,” + literally thousands of articles for various outlets scattered around the web.
WHAT EXACTLY ARE A BIRDIE & BASH?
They’re my beloved seniors at [fictional] Clifton, Indiana schools who, in the wake of tragedy, fall in love. Do you remember your first love? Mine felt me up, then dragged me to confession. I’m not bitter about it. Seriously. Birdie & Bash captures all the feels of my gloriously awkward teenage heartbreak years (and then some) (minus all the crying) (well, there’s a little crying) (OKAY A LOT OF CRYING, GAH!). B & B, and their subsequent stories, are based on The Collision Theory—the way particles collide either creates a successful reaction or breaks a part completely, causing an “ineffective” collision. Love is super complex! Look it up and feel smart n’ stuff and you might totally *get* my two lovebirds a bit better.
WHERE DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR BIRDIE & BASH?
The pivotal tragedy centers loosely around something that actually happened (see below) (but B&B is highly fictionalized; rest assured). The remainder came to me at the start of NaNoWriMo 2014 in one of those flashes you sometimes read about. Gross, right?! Believe me – it’s never happened this way before or since! The characters were (close to) fully formed when they entered my head as if I’m not their creator, but perhaps, they’re mine.
IS SIX GOODBYES AN #OWNVOICES BOOK?
Yep. BIPOC and #ownvoices just as every piece I ever write will be henceforth. Every disorder, every weird tic, and every oddity between Naima and Dew? All me. They’re/I’m awkward AF and it’s the best. And the worst.
WHAT EXACTLY ARE A DEW & NAIMA?
I can’t sum up these two succinctly, so forgive me. In short, Naima is some version of me; she’s all my disorders combined and unlikable as hell. She’s the way I see myself — and is visually what I looked like in my younger years — inside and out. She’s feisty and rude but at the heart of it all, she only want to feel accepted despite her flaws; She wants to find a place where she belongs. Dew, on the other hand, is the complete opposite. He’s who I saw myself to be before the world cracked me open.
WHERE DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR SIX GOODBYES?
The pivotal tragedy was inspired by a few people I know who’ve lost someone in the military. It’s the story of those left behind. My brother was a U.S. Marine, and he made it back. Naima’s father didn’t. In a sense, this is the story of the loss of my own father, letting go, and finding a way to move forward when you’re stuck in the past. It’s something I still struggle with, TBH.
CAN YOU VISIT MY SCHOOL OR FIGHT CLUB?
Find out if Brad Pitt will be at the fight club first, then email at your discretion. I’m actually more an Ed Norton fan though. I do charge for school visits, because it takes time from my day job. If that’s something that might prevent you from contacting me, let me know and we’ll work something out!
On a serious note: BIRDIE & BASH touches on drunk/high driving, and the consequences of choosing to a) get behind the wheel when inebriated and b) letting a friend do so when knowing the keys should have been taken. SIX GOODBYES revolves around GAD, OCD, PTSD, Depression, and Suicide Ideation. I’ve been a mental health advocate for years, having spoken in schools about my journey, & I’d be more than happy to speak about these topics. I’ve been a teen (still am in my heart), and knowhow difficult it is to navigate these waters while wanting to fit and/or find your place.
CAN I INTERVIEW YOU?
Yes! Email me at candacegangerpowell[at]gmail[dot]com — but you might want to look me up to be sure I’ve not already covered what you’re after.
You can read about my identity struggles and the painstaking search in on my publishing page or via:
HOW DID YOU BECOME AN AUTHOR?
Can I just have the manuscript of my life transcribed + mailed to you via carrier pigeon? That would take less time. I’ve been writing for centuries, and probably had a notepad in the womb/baby store. In my later years, I sought out + accepted every writing and editing job I could find on the web. I’ve maintained my stance on taking this path, refusing to settle for just a “job” because I’ve had those and wasn’t fulfilled. Writing is the fuel to my soul; it feeds a fire not explained in (ironically) words. I can’t imagine doing anything else ever again. You could call me a restless spirit, but life is too short to be unhappy in a box or cube or some kind of chicken coop. Though, I’d really like to own chickens some day. I’d name one Peony. Just because.
I spent a decade writing for other people while polishing work of my own. I’ve received TONS of rejections and at times, wondered if it would all be for nothing. Buuuttttt, I’m not a quitter so I just kept at it. That’s really the bottom line. If you want to do this, you have to develop skin as thick as Merino wool (this is SO fitting because Merino is known for being a comfortable level of thickness that breathes, even in hot weather) (yes, I worked in a running store, too) (but I *hearted* that place so freakin’ much, my point about not being happy in a “normal” job is moot) (or as Joey Tribbiani would say, “it’s a moo point”). Anyway, you can actually sift through my blog to read more on my tedious writing journey.
The Cliff’s Notes version is: If you want to write things + you believe in yourself and your weird/crazy/out there ideas, DON’T YOU DARE GIVE UP + KEEP WRITING ALWAYS + FOREVER NO MATTER WHAT ANYONE SAYS. GOT ME?
CAN YOU READ MY STUFF AND HELP ME?
Due to legal reasons, I cannot unless we a) are already writing buds in the trenches together, or if you’ve b) chosen me to mentor you the way Daymond John often does with tiny entrepreneurs on Shark Tank. More than likely though, I will have to decline due to time restraints + promises I’ve made my cats + Corgi + kids + Milo Ventimiglia.
WHAT ELSE DO YOU DO?
As I said, I’m a mental health advocate, having written at length about my struggles with OCD/PTSD/Depression and Anxiety Disorders. I also have a passion for rescue chimps through Project Chimps (hi, Latricia — I love you), Dr. Strange, and all things This Is Us. Sometimes I run marathons, but mostly I’m asking my kids if they’ve washed their hands 20+ times/day.
You can read some of my articles that have been featured on
Showbiz Cheat Sheet, Romper, TWLOHA, Hello Giggles, and more
- How I conquered my Anxiety Disorder before it ruined my life
- You Are Not Your Madness
- Everyday things that make anxious people more anxious
- How my daughter’s body acceptance taught me to accept mine, too
- All the ways having anxiety makes dating hard
- What it’s really like to live with Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- I have holiday party anxiety – here’s how I deal
- How the author of Divergent is helping us all talk about anxiety
- What I want my family to understand about my OCD (The now infamous article that garnered ‘The Steve Harvey Show’ interest)
Aside from all of that, I watch a lot of Beat Bobby Flay + daydream of the ocean (but I won’t get in the water; I just want to look) (sharks, man) (#nope).
WHAT EXACTLY IS A MILKY WAY LATTE?
The name depends on where you are in the country, but the drink has the same ingredients at most cafes/coffee shops. It’s caramel + mocha + Espresso + steamed milk. Starbucks has a salted caramel mocha = same thing + salt; so if you – the salt, you’ll have a Milky Way Latte (and make sure they use the sauces and not syrups + you get whipped cream + drizzle or you’re not living your life right). If it sounds too complicated, CONGRATS! You’re in my brain now!