By Lillian Smith | Photos courtesy of Candice Pedraza Yamnitz
A LIFE-CHANGING EDUCATION
Many people dream of writing a book someday, and for Trinity alumna Candice Pedraza-Yamnitz (Elementary Ed ‘07) that dream has become a reality. After years of hard work, her first book, Unbetrothed, was published earlier this year by Iron Stream Fiction.
Candice came to Trinity as an elementary education major and a new Christian with a growing love of reading. “Before Trinity, I wasn’t necessarily into English as much,” she explained. However, after struggling on her first test with Professor Emeritus of English Dr. William Graddy, she visited his office to get clarity on ways she could improve. He sat with her for the next hour and with his advice and the guidance of other professors such as History professor Dr. Bradley Gundlach, Candice was able to excel in future English tests and classes, leading her to pursue a minor in that field.
Candice expressed how special it was to be constantly poured into. “Even the professors prayed over us and incorporated faith into our education,” she said. Even to this day, she says she finds herself repeating some of those things that she was told in her classes.
“Even the professors prayed over us and incorporated faith into our education.”
CALLED TO WRITE
After graduating from Trinity, Candice became a dual-language teacher. She noticed when she was connecting with her students that many of the young girls were reading books that didn’t have the best morals. So in 2017, Candice began to write Unbetrothed. “Trinity helped me to write and think deeply about books,” she explained. “I felt confident that I could write a novel because I had done so much work and reading at Trinity.”
Candice wanted to reach those outside of Christian circles, so she decided to incorporate Christian themes like redemption into a fictional world. “I went into it prayerfully,” she said. “When people think of Christian books they imagine that people are going to preach to them, and I definitely didn’t want to do that. I wanted my readers to have fun and not have to worry that the content was terrible.”
THE PUBLISHED BOOK
Unbetrothed features the story of young and soon to be betrothed Princess Beatriz, who is desperate to have a magical gift like many of the other princesses in her land. Then, and only then could she get what she wants: an escape from betrothal, the ability to marry her sweetheart, and “peace for her kingdom.” However, getting magic is perilous and risky, leading the reader through countless cliffhanger chapters.
The book has been met with glowing reviews and a growing fan-base, with one reader stating “This book is so mesmerizing and fascinating that I can’t stop reading. . .” Another review shared their sentiments, “I always wanted to know what was going to happen next and would lose all sense of time because of how enraptured I was with the book.”*
“Sometimes you lose that God focus, and you want to make sure you maintain that, because at the end of the day other stuff doesn’t matter.”
A SPECIAL VISIT
Looking back at the beginning of her career, Candice reminded current students that it can be a struggle to leave Trinity’s faith-based community and begin a career. “. . . Sometimes you lose that God focus, and you want to make sure you maintain that, because at the end of the day other stuff doesn’t matter,” she said.
Candice paid a special visit to Trinity’s campus on September 28th, where she shared her book and writing process with students at the TIU Book Club. She lives a busy life, homeschooling her children alongside her author career, but she still took the time to encourage the young readers and writers of the Trinity community. Attendees got an opportunity to learn from her experience with the publishing industry and take note of techniques she uses to write compelling books. It is through alumna like Candice that Trinity’s mission is able to spread outside campus and into the lives of the community.
*Reader reviews sourced from Amazon.com