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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Mermaids and misstarts—Kandy Shepherd


When my daughter was 4 years old she knew she was going to grow up to be a mermaid. She grew up to be a good swimmer but now as a teenager she’s thinking she’d like to be a dietician. Yesterday she did a barista course and now she’s wondering about hospitality. (See below what she made her dad this morning--I think she might have a future in coffee!)

When did you know what you were going to do in life? I can’t remember not wa
nting to be a writer. As soon as I could form letters with my pencil, I was scribbling stories and wanting people to read them.I had my first short stories published when I was 21—and then got diverted into magazine journalism. Hey, I got to write and I got paid well—what wasn’t
there to like about that? Answer: I wasn’t writing fiction. And that’s what I really wanted to do. My dream never went away and now I have two contemporary romances, LOVE IS A FOUR-LEGGED WORD and HOME IS WHERE THE BARK IS, published by Berkley Sensation. I still work freelance as a magazine editor and get to write fiction too—I’m so lucky to be able to work in both my worlds.

What about
you? Did you always want to pursue a certain career or role in life and single-mindedly set your path on getting there? My friend Emma wanted to be a ballet dancer from the time her little legs were strong enough to glide her around the room. Through hard work, determination and talent she achieved that dream.

But a dancer's life is a short one. Now she teaches ballet and Pilates and is content to still be in the dance world if no longer actually on stage. (Oh, and she’s just about to become a mother which is also another dream role for her!)

Or did you find what you wanted to be only after a few misstarts? My friend Kim wanted to be a schoolteacher but wasn’t encouraged in her dream. This year she is going to graduate as a schoolteacher, having fitted in her studies around a full-time job and three children. Another didn’t-get-there-straight-away is Patrick, a former high school teacher. Now he’s a farrier, shoeing horses and enjoying being his own boss. Then there’s Louise, who started out a nurse and ended up managing a housing construction company—and her six kids!

The heroine of my latest novel HOME IS WHERE THE BARK IS, Serena Oakley, barely made it through high school. She dropped out of college. Flitted from one job to another. Beat herself up for not being able to stick at anything. Then finally found her ideal career—running her own doggy day-care center. But just as she’s finding success, her business is threatened by a series of identity frauds. Enter my hero, Nick Whalen. Nick knew one thing for sure—h
e wanted to get out of the small rural community where he grew up and was expected to follow in his father’s footsteps as a farmer. He ended up as an FBI agent and by
the time he meets Serena he’s a private investigator in his own business—and tracking Serena down as his prime suspect.

I love talking with people about how they got to where they are—their first job, their worst job. I’d love to hear about you. Did you have a dream you never gave up on? Or maybe you found your career/role almost by accident. Please leave a comment for a chance to win one of two prizes—a signed copy of HOME IS WHERE THE BARK IS or a HOME IS WHERE THE BARK IS T-shirt (my covers make cute T-shirts!) If you want a chance at the prize, please include you email address.
http://www.kandyshepherd.com

38 comments:

Linda Henderson said...

I never achieved my goal of owning a book store but that's okay. I am no longer able to work so my working career is over, but I'm happy with what I accomplished with the jobs I worked. My last job was working for a school district and I feel good knowing that my job, while not teaching, enabled the projects to get done to keep the schools up and running. After all, the children are our future.

greenduckie13 said...

I wanted to be an astronaut and that never happened:) I feel into my career because it had to be done and nobody else wanted to do it.
greenduckie13 at gmail dot com

pageturner said...

I planned to be a teacher but realised that, though I'm always happy to teach people anything, I really couldn't be bothered with the discipline. 'If you don't want to listen to me, fine, but I'm not fighting for your attention'!

pageturner345@gmail.com

Lil said...

I wanted to be in the health field but due to shortage of family funds went into accounting. Twenty years later I am in the health field.

little lamb lst at yahoo dot com

Nas Dean said...

I always knew I wanted to be a writer. Books were my passion... writing short stories for school mags and local papers was easy..so then I turned my attention to full time fiction after I had life's experiences.

nas_dean@ymail.com

petite said...

I always wanted to be a librarian and never had the opportunity until my kids went to school full time and then I went back to school and achieved this goal. It felt so good and I am always glad that I had the chance. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

runner10 said...

My dream was to become a Mom--the best job in the world. I have two children. Life is great!

traveler said...

I wanted to be a teacher and that was my goal. I am an art teacher and live and love it. rojosho(at)hotmail(dot)com

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hey greenduckie 13--an astronaut would have been fun, wouldn't it? I would just love to see the earth from up there in space!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi Linda, it sounds like you had a very fulfilling job, working with schools and helping to make things happen. Wouldn't owning your own bookshop be wonderful? I'd just want to read all day and not do any work, though!

Kandy Shepherd said...

I'm with you pageturner, when I spent some time in the classroom with my daughter when she was younger, the teacher seemed to spend half the time trying to get the kids to pay attention--how frustrating!
I taught a college course at one time (feature writing) and the kids who were doing it really wanted to be there--I think that made a difference.

Kandy Shepherd said...

Lil, that's so great to hear that you eventually got where you wanted to be!

SiNn said...

for me i alway dreamed of opening my own enetrtainment complex I havent gotten there but the mis starts and stops have made my life full of fun mainly because u never know whats gonnabe aorund the bend I never thought id wanna be a mom i was content being the aunt and the niece and the sister now how ever im proud to say i donned the hat of mother hood and it fits rather nicely so i have no regrets

mortalsinn@yahoo.com

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hey Nas, sounds like your path was rather like mine. Good point about the life experience--the more you have of it, the more you can bring to your writing.

Kandy Shepherd said...

What a great story petite, how wonderful to hear that you followed your dream to become a librarian.

Kandy Shepherd said...

Congratulations runner10-how wonderful to hear how happy you are with your family! I have been lucky to have had a wonderful career and to have my books published--but having my daughter rates as the highest achievement of my life...

Kandy Shepherd said...

Traveler, to "live and love" your career--it doesn't get better than that, does it!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hey SiNn--I love your comment that "the mis starts and stops have made my life full of fun" --what a great way to put it!

PJ said...

I always knew I wanted to be an English teacher. It was my ambition from early grade school. Then, between my second and third years of college, I fell into a summer job at a bank and never looked back. I spent the next 24 years in banking and loved it. I did manage to work a lot of teaching/training opportunities into the banking career though. ;-)

Annie West said...

Kandy, what interesting lives people lead! I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. It varied between working in a book store, being an archeologist or maybe a national park ranger and various things in between. In the meantime I built a career, gave it up, started again and then finally, one day leaving the day job when I'd had my first book accepted for Harlequin Presents, realised that dream I'd had to be an author was 'it'. There I was, finally realising what I wanted to be when I grew up - a writer! I'd been dreaming of it for years but never really dared to think of it as a serious option.

Dina said...

Hi Kandie,

my 1st job was a waitress for a pizza place, new current job is so different frim that, I would like to do something that I truly enjoy, but can't think of what exactly it would be.

Pat Cochran said...

I followed four of my aunts into
nursing, but left when our first
son was born. I began my career as
a "professional volunteer" when the
boys were in elementary school.
I amassed 35 years in our parish,
25 years in the schools & on my HS
reunion committee, and numerous
years in community campaigns. I'm
still active in parish ministries.

Pat Cochran/p-cochran@juno.com

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hey PJ, what an interesting career path--and great that you were still able to teach in a different way. Sometimes those important steps in life depend on a twist of fate, don't they?

Kandy Shepherd said...

Annie, isn't it fascinating to read peoples' stories--I'm really enjoying these comments.
The Harlequin Mills & Boon readers of this world are fortunate that your career took the turn that it did. I'm a big fan of your wonderful stories (especially your sheiks, but then you know that!)

Mary said...

I thought I wanted to be a Veterinarian when I was little and volunteered at a shelter for a summer. I mostly cleaned out cages and took dogs for walks. But I quickly found out that I couldn't be a vet when the vet there asked me to assist him in euthanizing some animals.

I ended up caring for many rats, gerbils, hamsters and mice in the neighborhood when their owners no longer wanted them. I have 4 rats right now that I adopted from a shelter.

Vanessa Barneveld said...

Hi, Kandy!

Nine years after leaving a job in cinema management, I still get nightmares about the job! I loved the people I worked with and I loved the movie biz, but sometimes being on the front line in customer service can be very taxing. Give me Serena's job of looking after pooches any day!

Laurie said...

I originally wanted to be a teacher but switched to nursing when teachers weren't in demand. Nursing was rewarding . However, the pay and the hours sucked! I was happy to retire to raise my family!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi Dina, sometimes deciding what you want to so is the most difficult thing of all! I hope one day you will have that lightbulb moment...

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi Pat, how marvelous to read about all the good you have done for your community--and are still continuing to do.Sounds like your change of career direction benefited a lot of people!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Mary, I can quite see why you couldn't become a veterinarian--I couldn't do it either.How wonderful that you are able to help all those little animals in need of loving care.

Kandy Shepherd said...

Vanessa, that cinema job must have been dreadful if you are still having nightmares about it all these years later! So glad you are happy now. I could definitely see you working with kitties!!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi Laurie, nurses so often seem to go unrewarded, don't they? I'm glad to hear you found a rewarding career raising your family--that's a wonderful role.

Sharon Archer said...

How brilliant to have always been so certain about what you wanted, Kandy. In a way you've trained your whole life to be where you are right now. Even though you did take that detour into journalism when fiction was your dream, you'd still have been polishing your wordsmith skills and it shows in your work now!

My big dream was to be a veterinarian - so my detour into medical laboratory science was quite a big one! And now I write so that's an even bigger detour! I love dabbling and exploring new things!

:)
Sharon

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi Sharon, they say the days of people only having one career are gone as society changes so much with new technology and so on.
Just think if you'd been a vet you might have ended up writing veterinary romances rather than the lovely medical romances you write for Harlequin Mills&Boon!

Dina said...

Kandie, you're right I'm sure it was similar to athors as well, doing 1 job and realizing they wanted to write.

Kaetrin said...

Sorry I'm late to the party!

Kandy, I've heard such great things about your books - I have them both on my TBB at the Book Depository for next time I go shopping. It's nice to see Australian authors doing so well.

As for my career, I've made a career out of injury management - I manage work injury claims in South Australia. It evolved from paralegal work for a personal injury lawyer. I remember being initially a bit reluctant to go into the legal area because my brother is a lawyer and I was a bit worried about whether people would think I was just "copying" him and couldn't come up with something on my own (what can I say? I was young!). But, after a while, I worked out that it just so happens that we have some similar interests. I love the technical aspects of my job as well as the people aspects - it's challenging and I can make a difference. Plus, I met my husband at work 13 years ago, so it's all good!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi Kaetrin, it sounds like you are in the right job. And you met your husband there--that's what I call a bonus. It's funny how we worry about what other people will think when we are deciding on something as important as our career, isn't it! My daughter is having similar qualms.

Kandy Shepherd said...

Thank you everyone for your interesting comments and insights.
The winner of the signed copy of HOME IS WHERE THE BARK IS is Lil and the winner of the LOVE IS A FOUR-LEGGED WORD t-shirt is petite. Please email me your addresses to kandy@kandyshepherd.com
so I can get your prizes to you!