I am grateful to Meagan for letting me re-post it here because she asked some really good questions about Candlewax. Be warned that there are minor spoilers here--nothing too egregious!
date of original post: 3.15.2012
Candlewax Q & A with author C. Bailey Sims
First of all "C", I'd like to thank you for agreeing to this interview
and I'm sure Candlewax's readers will appreciate the behind-the-scenes
look at this award-winning title.
Thank you for having me, Meagan!
1. Fire is both fascinatingly beautiful and at the same time
frightening. How did you come up with the idea of the continually
burning trees of Candlewax?
Ahhh. I just love candlelight. When I began telling stories to my kids
to keep them at the dinner table it was not uncommon for me to light
candles—even for every day meals. Candlewax trees were one of the
first recurring elements in what became known as my Candlewax stories.
There is something calm-ing and beautiful about candlelight that
appeals to me on a very basic level. It is interesting, too, that
there is a real species of tree called the Chinese tallow tree that
has a sap that can be burned as fuel, so to me it was natural to make
Candlewax Wood a totally believable phenomenon.
2. You didn't really touch on this, but is Candlewax always lit up
even at night with a glow on the horizon?
Yes, the Wood does light up the night sky, much like we can see city
lights illuminate the atmosphere above. When Catherine is running
away from Crystallia, she glimpses the faint glow of Candlewax in the
3. Is Catherine actually the heir to three kingdoms?
Oooh. I’m impressed. No one has noticed that yet. Or if they have,
they haven’t said anything about it. Catherine is uniquely positioned
for her mission. She definitely has ties to three kingdoms of the four
kingdoms of Lackanay, and how much she makes of her claims in the
future will depend on many un-foreseen (possibly to be revealed)
factors. Readers of Candlewax might even spot a fourth tie to a land
outside of Lackanay. I won’t say more because I don’t want to give too
4. Trodliks sound really icky looking, how did you come up with
them? Are they based on anything, even something you would find under
I made trodliks as icky as I could possibly imagine them. I mean,
white exoskeletons with yellow guts, red eyes, lots of little legs and
nasty teeth and claws. Yuck!!!! I did sort of have evil shrimp in
mind. I wanted them to also have a pre-historic, fossil-record feel to
5. Where did Trodliks come from originally so that they were able to
get to Devona in the first place, or is that an unknown mystery that
no one even knows?
I imagine they evolved from a more benign species. Something went
wrong to trigger a transformation, much like when we see locust swarms
develop from much more harmless grasshoppers or some species of
African ants suddenly attack livestock and humans. Once trodliks get
started, it is hard to stop them.
6. Will Desert of Devona ever be able to returned to what it once was
or are the Trodliks a permanent resident of the land?
Can you read my mind? I have plans for Devona but can’t reveal them!
7. If there is not a Catherine, would the Ancient Onyxes work? Or must
a Catherine control it?
Only Catherine could fulfill her particular mission. While others can
wield the Ancient Onyxes with great power, the pendant was crafted for
8. How did you find out about Candlewax winning Connecticut’s Tassy
Walden New Voices in Children’s Literature Award, and how did you
feel? (Shocked, happy, excited?)
All of those. I answered the call from the Shoreline Arts Alliance on
the house phone in the kitchen. It was evening and I was thinking it
was one of the kids’ friends or something. When they told me
Candlewax had taken first prize in the Young Adult category, I was
simply overwhelmed with shock and joy. The first thing I wanted to do
was share the news with my sons and husband. Having the judges of the
Tassy Walden award validate my writing was incredibly helpful to me as
an author. I’ll never forget it.
9. Where did you find fairrier cats and Spelopokos?
For me, Spelopokos came first, then all the capabilities and
characteristics of fairrier cats. Strange, I know, but then he is a
very assertive character. He was always there—I just had to find him,
like a sculptor chipping away at a block of marble. Fairrier cats are
an amalgamation of my favorite things about big cats—made more
extreme. And yet, in spite of his enormous size, there are times when
Pokos can be just like a housecat.
10. Do you have a favorite scene?
The Duray Principas. (Pronounced DUR-ay PRIN-see-PAHSS). It is a very
visual scene for me. I can see every one of those arrows fly. But
there are lots of other parts that I treasured writing.
11. Are Catherine or Cyril based on anyone, even loosely?
Anyone who has ever looked danger or defeat in the eye and not
blinked. There are a lot of you out there, and some even in my own
12. Is there a character that you relate to more than the others? If so, how?
Spelopokos. I soooo want to be Catherine so Pokos can be in my life!
13. As a writer, what gives you the greatest satisfaction?
It is a thrill for me to find an audience for my writing. Whenever
there is a reader to share my world, it is a universe-expanding
feeling. Writing is very solitary. When the writing is done, and the
sharing begins, it is nerve-wracking, complicated, sometimes tortuous,
and frequently inspirational.
14. Is there a question you wish someone would ask you about
Candlewax? If so, how would you answer?
Okay, here goes. Is “Wolfy” from Candlewax based a real dog? Yes, he
is a Great Pyrenees and his name is Buddy. I am seriously considering
putting Buddy in all of my books. He is one of the great loves of my
life. Maybe you can tell that by the way I am strangling him in the
15. How many books do you plan on writing about Lackanay? Or will they
Ah ha. Good question, Meagan. I am working on the sequel, TABREK. How
many books there will be, I just don’t know because I like spending
time in Lackanay.
Again thanks for your time "C" and I wish you success with Candlewax.
Thanks again for having me on your blog!