Friday, July 6, 2012

Writing and Writers: Candy Marie Bridges

Writer’s Block airs every Tuesday, at 9 a.m. MST on KFUN/KLVF, streaming live at

Author shares her story in Meet Me in the Mountains

Candy Marie Bridges doesn’t claim to be a writer, and says her memoir, Meet Me in the Mountains, was written because people asked her to write it. Looking at her website and seeing all the things she’s involved in, writing probably does take a back seat, but there is no question that she is a writer. Meet Me in the Mountains is her story, told in her unique voice, and it speaks to readers about choices, living to encourage others, and the healing power of faith. 

In our interview on July 3, she was charming and upbeat, just the kind of person you would want to spend time talking to. It is obvious her faith shapes her character and informs the way she lives. Below are her written responses to the questions I asked her on the air.

WB: Let’s begin by you telling the audience a little about yourself.
CMB: Originally I am from Southern California. I was born and raised there until I was 20 years old. At that time in my life, I married my husband Mike Roe, and we moved to Chandler, Ariz., where we lived, worked and raised our three children. In 2003, my husband died suddenly of a wrongful death and in January of 2006, as a widow, I moved 100 miles north to Pine, Ariz., a rural mountain town with only 1000 full time residents.

WB: Meet Me in the Mountains is a memoir. What prompted you to write your story and share it with others?
CMB: People often ask me, "Why did you move to the mountains? Why are you doing what you are doing? How did this place come to be?” The answers to these questions are not simple. So my prompting came from the guests who stay here where I live, work and serve at Breath of Life Retreat House.

WB: Have you always wanted to be a writer?  
CMB: No I never wanted to be a writer. It never entered my mind. It's funny now because when I think of all the times I was asked the questions about why I am here and how I got to live in the mountains, I would jokingly answer,  "I could write a book." After a couple of years of saying this, I was encouraged by a friend who is an author and editor to tell my story so others might find the value in faith, hope and love.

WB: You also have a business creating personalized calligraphy gifts. What inspired this entrepreneurial endeavor?
CMB: I was inspired in college during a non-credit calligraphy class. I was captured with the lettering art and the perfection, yet non perfection with hand lettering. I desired to meld both words and art to create inspirational and scriptural sayings. It took years, but I finally created a line of prints and sell them online at my website.

WB: Are some of the messages on the items created by you and if so what inspired the sentiment?
CMB: Most of the items are scripture based messages. I have a few that I wrote myself like A Wedding Day Prayer, A Covenant Marriage, A Poem for Son and one for Daughter. The very first poem I wrote in 1981 is titled, Balloons. I was so enthralled watching them float by our home on early cold winter mornings that I was inspired to share my thoughts in a poem. I also share a story in my book about my own balloon ride and how my mom and I experienced the balloon crashing in the desert.

WB: Tell the audience about Breath of Life Retreat Center and how that came about.
CMB: Breath of Life came about several years after the unfortunate wrongful death of my husband. I share a dream I had just two weeks after he died during a nap where I heard the words, Retreat House. Through prayer and discernment, I created a place of rest, peace and comfort in addition to providing guests a place to share time with each other and with the Lord. The year and a half long renovation of Breath of Life involved many friends and family who supported me in this vision. The majority of our guests are quilters, scrap bookers, staff from churches and Bible study groups.

WB: You have your hands full between your calligraphy business, managing the center and writing. Where do you find time to fit it all?
CMB: That's a great question. I have yet to conquer the time issue. I don't think I ever will. I am constantly reprioritizing my day. Ultimately though, our guests and the retreats we host are priority. My calligraphy business is taken care of during the week days. There are phone calls, emails, shipping calligraphy orders, preparing meals for our guests during retreats and cleaning up that entail a big portion of both my husband’s and my week.

WB: What do you hope people get from reading your book?
CMB: I hope they receive through my story, the ability to realize when tragedy strikes, there is always hope. There is always a choice in how and where we get our strength to press on. I believe our lives will never be at rest or at full peace until we join Jesus in heaven, but in the meantime, we can find inner peace and hope through Him. Just as He died for each and every one of us, we sometimes need to die to ourselves and reach out to others who are hurting. This may be in silence through prayer or a listening ear or using our talents and gifts to help others. There can be great healing through service.

WB: What writer's inspire you and why?
CMB: I don't have a particular writer who inspires me. I am mostly inspired by those who step outside themselves to help others, both in big ways and in small ways. From mothers and fathers, nurses, teachers, missionaries, and just ordinary people doing little and big things for others in their daily lives.

WB: What did you learn about yourself in the course of writing Meet Me in the Mountains that you didn't know before?
CMB: I learned that although I am not a writer by profession or degree, I was able to tell my story in my own words. It was difficult re living painful memories through writing my memoir, but also healing. Many memories came to the surface while writing and I was surprised more than once how this happened, funny stories included. Even though I wrote my book to share my life with others, I have been told by close family and friends that I also wrote my book for myself. Being the type of person who is never bored and always too much on my plate, writing forced me to sit and reflect in an orderly way, my life then and now and put perspective on it.

WB: Where can readers find your books?
CMB: My book can be found purchased at my blog in addition to Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

WB: Any last thoughts.
CMB: Yes. I would like to let people know that my book also has questions at the end of each chapter. If you are looking for a book for a group study or book club, the questions will promote thought provoking answers from those participating. I would like to thank you for having me as a guest. I appreciate the time and I hope people will visit my blog and read my book.

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