Candice Ralph is a second-year MFA Creative Writing student concentrating in Writing for Children and Young Adults at The New School with a BA in English Language and Literature from The University of Chicago. Over the years, she has expressed her passion for the literary arts through her freelance work as a childcare provider and teaching artist, including her most recent position as a 2018-2019 WriteOn NYC Fellow. Candice is also a member of the Bank Street Children’s Book Committee as well as a monthly storyteller at the Bank Street Bookstore. She is currently developing her graduate thesis.
My most beloved protagonists are from the books that I read in my pre-adolescent youth—around the age when I started being able to appreciate the various ways in which words danced across the page, creating imagery, perspective, meaning, and voice. Out of all these stories, Anne Shirley, from L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables was, and still is, my absolute favorite protagonist. A proactive romantic, Anne is wonderfully tapped into her imagination. I’ve always admired her creative energy and starry-eyed scope.
Regarding villains, I don’t think I have any favorites per se, but the first one that immediately comes to mind is Iago from Shakespeare’s Othello. I’m sure this has to do with reading the play so many times throughout my academic life that my brain has permanently filed Iago under ‘archetype villain’. Still, I couldn’t name a more perfectly ruthless schemer than Iago—an antagonist who’s sanely evil for evil’s sake.
2. When did you know you were a writer?
To be honest, while I do have aspirations of becoming a published author, I’ve never had a revelation of knowing that I was a writer because writing, for me, feels more like a treasured act worth using and sharing versus a declarative role I’m wholly committed to. If anything, I see myself as being a practicing literary artist or wordsmith; I like playing with words and shaping stories out of them.
3. What are you currently working on?
At present, I’m working on my MFA thesis projects, which consists of three picture books and a critical paper on the novella within children’s literature. I’m also collaborating with a writer and illustrator in Mumbai on an herbal-magic cookbook of sorts.
4. How has your writing process changed over the years?
I tend to be a perfectionist, which has often turned writing into an achingly rigorous process. But being in this MFA program has helped me to loosen my grip.
5. Describe your writing style in one sentence.
A cup of chamomile infused with lavender; warm and reflective.