By Rachel Wittrock

Associate Editor

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” – Robert Frost

Town of Sun Prairie resident Candice Gaukel Andrews has spent her life enjoying two things - Wisconsin’s great outdoors and writing. After years writing for various organizations - the Wisconsin Alumni Association, Natural Habitat Adventures, CUNA Mutual Group - she achieved the writing world’s holy grail and published her first book.

It was 2002 when Andrews traveled to Churchill, Manitoba with the Wisconsin Alumni Association. While there “something just felt so right,” and when she returned, Andrews made the decision to write about what she knows best - nature and wildlife. 

“The things I remember doing as a kid, my favorite times were always outdoors. I’ve always sort of had this affinity for woods and forests. I just feel at home there,” Andrews said. “...It just kind of came back to me that that’s when I had really good times when I went to Churchill and when I started writing nature books.”

Even though Andrews has always enjoyed spending time outdoors, it wasn’t as simple as sitting down and writing. First, she needed to find a publisher for her idea. Although she had written nature columns in the past, writing a book and finding a publisher to give a new author a chance was completely different.

She lucked out with Trail Books, a publishing company that was at the same time looking for someone to write a book about outdoor adventures in Wisconsin. With 45 percent of the state blanketed in forest, there are many opportunities to explore Wisconsin’s great outdoors and wildlife.

“I just think this is kind of a gem that people haven’t discovered here yet in the Midwest,” Andrews said. “We have so much wildlife here and so many outdoor opportunities throughout every season.”

After four years of traveling, researching and writing, Andrews’ first book, Great Wisconsin Winter Weekends, was published.

“That was like a sigh of relief,” she said. “It was like I made it - I’m in a new club. That is a pretty exciting moment. Every time is an exciting moment when it finally arrives on your doorstep all printed.”

Just getting published is an accomplishment, but for Andrews, it was only the beginning. Since 2006, she has written two more books: The Minnesota Almanac, published in 2008, and Beyond the Trees: Stories of Wisconsin Forests, which was published in May of this year. A fourth book, An Adventurous Nature, is scheduled to be published this fall.

For An Adventurous Nature, Andrews traveled all over the world. For the chapter on the San Juan Islands, Andrews got close up and personal with orcas.

“We would go out in small research vessels. In fact some of the green powered boats that we went on were actually used by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). We would go and try to spot the pods of whales, and one afternoon we were in the middle of the J-pod, which has like 22 whales in it,” she said. “That was very neat to have all these whales around and you could hear them and see them, and they were jumping and breaching.”

Andrews had another close encounter when researching for An Adventurous Nature, this time with Alaska’s grizzly bears, when she traveled to Brooks Falls. At the Falls, a platform allowed her and others to come within approximately 20 feet of bears while they were salmon fishing.

“The salmon are trying to get upstream so they are jumping the falls, so the bears just stand at the top of the falls and the fish jump....they just have to catch them,” Andrews said.

Even though An Adventurous Nature has not been published yet, Andrews is already busy working on a fifth book, Travel Wild Wisconsin,  about how to have encounters with Wisconsin’s native wildlife. Although she said those curious will have to read the book when it comes out, she did tease that there will be chapters on how to encounter bison, monarch butterflies, bald eagles, wolves and geese.

Andrews said although she thinks she will always write about wildlife and nature, she would like to try her hand at writing a children’s book, or compile her different nature columns into a book.

For the budding authors out there, Andrews offered a few words of advice:

“Just be persistent. Know that it’s going to be hard work and meeting deadlines is important, and just sticking with it. It’s not going to be easy, but if it is something you love, as long as you can do something you love, it is a reason to get up every morning and look forward to the day. If you have the personality to be persistent and do the work, eventually you’ll probably make it.”

For more information on Andrews or her books, visit www.candiceandrews.com.

A resident of Sun Prairie for the past 28 years, Andrews doubles as a columnist for Sustainable Travel International, Explorers’ Corner and Natural Habitat Adventures. 

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” – Robert Frost

Town of Sun Prairie resident Candice Gaukel Andrews has spent her life enjoying two things - Wisconsin’s great outdoors and writing. After years writing for various organizations - the Wisconsin Alumni Association, Natural Habitat Adventures, CUNA Mutual Group - she achieved the writing world’s holy grail and published her first book.

It was 2002 when Andrews traveled to Churchill, Manitoba with the Wisconsin Alumni Association. While there “something just felt so right,” and when she returned, Andrews made the decision to write about what she knows best - nature and wildlife. 

“The things I remember doing as a kid, my favorite times were always outdoors. I’ve always sort of had this affinity for woods and forests. I just feel at home there,” Andrews said. “...It just kind of came back to me that that’s when I had really good times when I went to Churchill and when I started writing nature books.”

Even though Andrews has always enjoyed spending time outdoors, it wasn’t as simple as sitting down and writing. First, she needed to find a publisher for her idea. Although she had written nature columns in the past, writing a book and finding a publisher to give a new author a chance was completely different.

She lucked out with Trail Books, a publishing company that was at the same time looking for someone to write a book about outdoor adventures in Wisconsin. With 45 percent of the state blanketed in forest, there are many opportunities to explore Wisconsin’s great outdoors and wildlife.

“I just think this is kind of a gem that people haven’t discovered here yet in the Midwest,” Andrews said. “We have so much wildlife here and so many outdoor opportunities throughout every season.”

After four years of traveling, researching and writing, Andrews’ first book, Great Wisconsin Winter Weekends, was published.

“That was like a sigh of relief,” she said. “It was like I made it - I’m in a new club. That is a pretty exciting moment. Every time is an exciting moment when it finally arrives on your doorstep all printed.”

Just getting published is an accomplishment, but for Andrews, it was only the beginning. Since 2006, she has written two more books: The Minnesota Almanac, published in 2008, and Beyond the Trees: Stories of Wisconsin Forests, which was published in May of this year. A fourth book, An Adventurous Nature, is scheduled to be published this fall.

 

For An Adventurous Nature, Andrews traveled all over the world. For the chapter on the San Juan Islands, Andrews got close up and personal with orcas.

“We would go out in small research vessels. In fact some of the green powered boats that we went on were actually used by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). We would go and try to spot the pods of whales, and one afternoon we were in the middle of the J-pod, which has like 22 whales in it,” she said. “That was very neat to have all these whales around and you could hear them and see them, and they were jumping and breaching.”

Andrews had another close encounter when researching for An Adventurous Nature, this time with Alaska’s grizzly bears, when she traveled to Brooks Falls. At the Falls, a platform allowed her and others to come within approximately 20 feet of bears while they were salmon fishing.

“The salmon are trying to get upstream so they are jumping the falls, so the bears just stand at the top of the falls and the fish jump....they just have to catch them,” Andrews said.

Even though An Adventurous Nature has not been published yet, Andrews is already busy working on a fifth book, Travel Wild Wisconsin,  about how to have encounters with Wisconsin’s native wildlife. Although she said those curious will have to read the book when it comes out, she did tease that there will be chapters on how to encounter bison, monarch butterflies, bald eagles, wolves and geese.

Andrews said although she thinks she will always write about wildlife and nature, she would like to try her hand at writing a children’s book, or compile her different nature columns into a book.

For the budding authors out there, Andrews offered a few words of advice:

“Just be persistent. Know that it’s going to be hard work and meeting deadlines is important, and just sticking with it. It’s not going to be easy, but if it is something you love, as long as you can do something you love, it is a reason to get up every morning and look forward to the day. If you have the personality to be persistent and do the work, eventually you’ll probably make it.”

For more information on Andrews or her books, visit www.candiceandrews.com.

A resident of Sun Prairie for the past 28 years, Andrews doubles as a columnist for Sustainable Travel International, Explorers’ Corner and Natural Habitat Adventures.

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