Rob - Head Shot
Name: R.A. McCandless
Age: A gentleman never tells.
Where are you from: All about. I currently reside in Southern California, USA
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc:
I’ve been a writer both professionally and creatively for nearly two decades. I was born under a wandering star that led to a degree in Communication and English with a focus on creative writing. I’m the author of the urban fantasy novel “Tears of Heaven”, and short stories found in “Nine Heroes”, “In Shambles”, “The Dormancy of Harren”, and “Gears, Gadgets and Steam”. I continue to research and write historical and genre fiction, battle sprinklers, and play with my three boys.


Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
The plans for world domination are in motion, but I really shouldn’t talk about that publicly. It’s supposed to be a surprise. “Tears of Heaven” will shortly have a follow-up, “Hell Becomes Her” which will follow Del as she faces a myriad of challenges. She’s a mother now, but she also still has her “day job” of defending humans from the evils of demon-kind, and there are other dangers lurking. Look for that in 2015. “The Second Cut” takes up the story of Tomoe Gozen, the only female samurai, where history left off. Following the defeat of her lord, Tomoe must complete her last duty while an army of samurai try to stop her. There are some other projects that are in the works, but they’re “top secret” for the moment.


Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Boredom. In first grade I was completing some sentence structure assignments, and it seemed silly to waste the opportunity, so I turned each sentence into a line for a story. I wasn’t aware there were writers who did this kind of thing for a living. Telling the story, though, was fun.


Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Everyone is a writer. Short story, or poetry or even elegant tweet. We’re all writers. I wrote was a play called “The Day the Robots Made Time Stand Still”. I was ten and wrote it with my friend, Danny Nowicki. It featured two young, but incredibly clever and talented boys who were humanity’s last hope when robots took over and made time stand still. Unfortunately, financing for the play fell through, and when we started arguing over movie rights, our partnership came to an end.


Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Any world where dragons can make an appearance. They don’t have to show up, but the idea that they can? Please and thank you. I also like any world where a woman is as strong or stronger that most of the men around. Personally, I prefer a woman who can go toe-to-toe and sword-to-sword with anyone else. That probably means my preferred genre is heroic fantasy, but I’ll take urban fantasy, science fiction and even historic fiction off the shelves.


Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Telling a good story well and hitting some epic high note moments. It’s hard to not to get carried away from the reality of, say, a sword fight or a battle scene, and into the unrealistic. Keeping the physics of actions and reactions on target is something I really strive for and enjoy. This is especially enjoyable when readers catch the effort that went into making a fight scene exciting, but still within the realm of the real.


Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
How sad, really, to have such strength and ability, to be accounted “giants among men” but to be considered a mistake, a sin, by your creators. The Nephilim are the tears of heaven, the children who were but weren’t wanted.


Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
“Tears of Heaven” makes a wonderful gift, and there are only so many days left until Christmas. Friendship, heartbreak, loyalty, betrayal, trust, villainy—it doesn’t matter if you wear horns or a halo, you’re always capable of these. I don’t think there’s ever been a hero who was without a dark moment. I’d like all my readers to understand that hatred and bigotry have to be taught, they are not innate. Children are the future of our world and we should try to damage them as little as possible. Finally, a good shield wall, manned by stout hearts and strong spears is a match for any screaming horde and makes for exciting reading.


Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
While living in Michigan, I experienced first-hand Devil’s Night, literally. Satan hisownself appeared in a cloud of brimstone and green-tinged fire while I was walking in downtown Detroit around midnight. No horns, no tail, no red skin or a mouth of fire. It was Gabriel Macht. Literally, Harvey Specter straight out of “Suits”. He had a proposition for me. I’d seen enough movies to know that you don’t deal with the devil, certainly not on his night in his town. But the term “once in a lifetime” kept whispering to me, so there I was. He wanted me to tell the “real story” of angels and demons. He gave me unfettered access to his library and some minor demons for research assistants, pointed out a few forbidden grimoires that had turned some Arabians half-mad, and turned me loose to compose a fictional account, but based on actual events.


Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Patrick Rothfuss should be the king of the hill, if only he would release his third novel (and then keep writing). I would love to strike up a hate-hate relationship with him that had him gnashing his teeth and pulled his hair about my superior talent. Patrick, if you’re listening, this is my first shot over your bow, feel free to respond in kind.
Bernard Cornwell would be nice. I like my historical fiction and fantasy to have dirt in the pages, with contemporary heroes who have legitimate flaws of time and place.


Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Please and thank you. Twice! I especially like how my publisher pays me in Scotch.


Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
More. Most authors would like to add just a little more to the story, a few more details here, some deeper internal dialogue there. That nine-thousand word research document you did on ancient coin denominations. That funny bit with the dog you took out because it slowed down the plot and could have been taken the wrong way. It’s all out there, somewhere, and every author has dreamed of being “true to the art” with their more. I have that. Some of it shows up, later, in other books, other stories, where it makes more sense. Some of it just stays in that file marked “Extra Stuff” that’s half-again as long as the actual novel.


Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
“Hell Becomes Her” Chapter 1 – Economy
“Hands,” the man ordered.
Del felt the hard press of a cold gun muzzle against the side of her neck.
He was behind her, not to the side. Whoever held the gun wasn’t giving the orders. She put her hands up, which usually would be a good thing. At chest height, she’d be much closer to her weapons or to the weapon pressed against her neck. But the grocery bags she was holding were almost as good as handcuffs. The thin plastic loaded with the four food groups would require a second of extra time to drop. That was all the warning the gunman would need.
“In. Now.”
There was no patience in the man’s voice, but Del noted a touch of fear.
Pressure from the weapon against her neck guided her forward. Marrin, Jane and Jordan were already on their knees on the floor, hands behind their heads. Six men in combat boots, dark fatigues and obvious body armor were armed with mean-looking H&K G36 assault rifles. They stood at the ready around her living room. Their fingers rested on the trigger guard, which meant they didn’t want to kill anyone yet. But the weapons were trained on her little family.
“Kneel,” the man behind her ordered.
The pressure from the muzzle against her neck disappeared. She took the two steps forward and knelt down next to her adopted daughter, Jordan. The thirteen year-old looked up at her, eyes wide with obvious fear,
“Del?” Jordan asked.
“It’s ok, Jordan,” Del told her. “It’s going to be ok.”


Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
When not writing, or doing writing research, which my wife calls “reading”, I solved world peace and taught our nation’s children to read. Those stories haven’t made it to press yet, so I’m not surprised you haven’t heard it. To stay in shape, I eat cookies, drink chocolate milk and watch “Phineas and Ferb” with my three boys. It’s extremely hard work, but I feel a real sense of duty to family. Who else is going to take care of me in my old age? Sometimes, if I’m feeling really energetic, I’ll watch my wife work.

For a less sweat-soaked event, I like to run. I’ve been competing in 5ks and 10ks for the past twenty years, and they’re a lot of fun. Southern California really lends itself to year-round training and racing, and it’s a great excuse to listen to some stories on my iPod while watching scenery fly by.


Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?

Tears of Heaven RA