Beverley and I recently had the privilege of sitting down with Harmony Ink Press author C Kennedy (a.k.a Cody). Please take a moment to check out my review of his YA novella Safe as well as Mia Kerick’s The Red Sheet, for which he provided the beautifully powerful foreword.
1. First lets talk about Omorphi. What can you tell us about it?
Omorphi is a suspense romance for gay young adults. After the death of his notorious father, Christy leaves his native Greece to seek shelter from the media and his horrid past. He settles in upstate New York and is the new senior at school. He and Michael, the high school’s star track and field hurdler, fall in love but their relationship is anything but easy. Christy struggles to find his way after years of abuse while Michael struggles to understand him and steadfastly refuses to give up on their relationship no matter how trying Christy can be. As if their hands aren’t full enough, one of Michael’s trackmates turns out to be a gay-basher, the media finds Christy once again, and an abusive man from Christy’s past pursues him to the U.S., determined to return him to Greece and a life of slavery.
High school senior Michael Sattler leads a charmed life. He’s a star athlete, has great friends, and parents who love him just the way he is. What’s missing from his life is a boyfriend. That’s a problem because he’s out only to his parents and best friend. When Michael accidentally bumps into Christy Castle at school, his life changes in ways he never imagined. Christy is Michael’s dream guy: smart, pretty, and sexy. But nothing could have prepared Michael for what being Christy’s boyfriend would entail.
Christy needs to heal after years of abuse and knows he needs help to do it. After the death of his notorious father, he leaves his native Greece and settles in upstate New York. Alone, afraid, and left without a voice, Christy hides the myriad scars of his abuse. He desperately wants to be loved and when he meets Michael, he dares to hope that day has arrived. When one of Michael’s team-mates becomes an enemy and an abuser from Christy’s past seeks to return him to a life of slavery, only Michael and Christy’s combined strength and unwavering determination can save them from the violence that threatens to destroy their future together.
2. Can you tell PBA readers how they achieved the beautiful cover for Omorphi?
Reese Dante designed and created the cover. She is not only a talented artist, but also an excellent listener, patient, and a true visionary. Omorphi is a unique story for myriad reasons and I wanted a cover that was equally distinct. Christy is the epitome of beauty and it’s difficult to capture effeminate attractiveness and still maintain a modicum of masculinity. In addition, there is a lot of symbolism in Omorphi: the staircase to Christy’s art studio – both his heaven and hell; the ocean seen from his place of captivity and the freedom it represents in its expanse and the body of water he crossed to exercise his new freedom; and then, of course, Michael, the person he loves and whose love helps guide the way to healing. The cover itself was a true labor of love. You begin the creation process by completing a Cover Art Request form. Talk about a true test as to how well you know your story. Yikes! You must summarize your entire story so the cover artist can envision the story. The blurb isn’t good enough. Next, you must describe your main characters to the nth degree. Book cover art is made by creating layer upon layer of art and color. Reese tells me that Omorphi’s cover is made of one hundred and forty layers of art. Seventy layers for the front cover, and seventy for the back. A more complete discussion of the cover and samples of the stages it took to create the cover can be found here.
3. Where did the idea/inspiration for his Christy’s history originate?
Omorphi wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the real life Christys who endure and struggle every day to survive and heal. Christy’s history is an amalgamation of people, but mostly mine. The history part of me, the other part being in Isidore in Slaying Isidore’s Dragons, which I hope will be out in early part of 2015.
4. Why did you decide to make the Main Character of Omorphi Greek?
I am one of those people who is fortunate enough to have traveled often and from a young age. Many people don’t have the opportunity to do so and I try to bring a little bit of the outside world and other cultures to my readers through my books. One of the main characters in my stories will almost always be from a country other than the United States. In we have a chance to glimpse a bit of Greek culture through some of Christy’s comments and cultural ways. Selfishly, I love Greece. It’s a truly beautiful country and I felt that it mirrored the beauty found in Christy.
5. Do you think it’s harder to write Young Adult than Adult M/M fiction?
Writing fiction for adults is harder. As an author, when writing for adults you deal with human weaknesses you wouldn’t yet find in most youth, i.e., infidelity, fear of commitment, etc. Young people haven’t experienced the same level of heartbreak and disappointment as their adult counterparts have and tend to be more flexible and forgiving. Giving hope to young people is my primary goal in Young Adult writing and flexibility and the ability to forgive are essential in storytelling.
6. With what you know now what would you say to your Young Adult self?
Don’t judge yourself by what others have done to you. Second to healing, the most difficult thing to recover after the misfortune of abuse is your sense of worth. You ruminate, become mired in all the things you believe you are not, and everything around you is muted. It’s as if you live life under water and so much of life passes you by. I would have liked to have been able to pull me out of my head. If I could wish anything for every abused person out there, it would be to see that there is a whole world out there to discover. Take a deep breath, believe in yourself, and go discover it! It will give you confidence you would not have otherwise known and heal you in many ways.
7. You also have a novella available from Harmony Ink entitled Safe. What do you want our readers to know about it?
Safe is a story about first love and how love can help guide the way to healing. It’s a beautiful story, but it’s also a painful one because, like life, things aren’t always perfect. Love can’t always protect you from pain, but love can give you strength to move on. And love can keep you safe.
They met at ten, they kissed at twelve, and were madly in love by eighteen. Caleb Deering is the captain of the swim team and the hottest senior in school. He comes from a loving home with a kind father and a caring, but strict, mother who is battling breast cancer. Nico Caro is small and beautiful, and has a father who rules with an iron fist–literally.
One morning Caleb forgets himself, and he pecks Nico on the lips at school. A teacher sees them and tattles to the Headmaster. The accidental outing at school might be the least of their problems, because the ball set in motion by the school’s calls to their parents could get Nico killed. In the face of that very real danger, Caleb knows he has only one mission in life: to keep Nico safe.
8. I am in love with Caleb and Nico from Safe. Will we ever get to see where to go from here?
I hope to expand and extend Safe into a full-length novel by the end of the year and there is a certain someone who is determined that I write Liam’s story as well. *side-eyes* You know who you are.
9. What do you like and dislike about meets like GRL?
I’ve never been to an author meet. I know, I know! Truthfully, I’m too shy to attend them so I’m unable to make comparisons. That said, we never know what the future will hold.
10. If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring writers, what would it be?
Don’t get it right, get it written. It is far more important for you to put you imagination to paper than it is to be perfect. Your imagination is the BFF you will ever have. Explore it, cultivate it, own it.
11. Who are your literary heroes outside of the m/m genre and why?
This is a very difficult question to answer. I have too many literary heroes. Let’s begin with Homer. Setting aside that the base stories told in the Iliad and Odyssey are remarkable, I enjoy the ancient dialect, the poetry inherent to the storytelling, and contemplating the controversy over, and debates of, his work. The science fiction, mysteries, and science writing of Isaac Asimov have always fascinated me. I often spend hours immersed in his stories. One of my all time favorites is “The Last Question” wherein the titular question is “How do we stop the universe from ending? Or, How can we conquer death?” At the same time, I have always been fascinated by mysticism, magick, the elements of religion, and what brings people together in romantic relationships. Two other authors fascinate me. Michael Crichton and Carl Sagan. Their abilities to weave science and the salient questions of ‘who are we and what are we made up of?’ into fiction are extraordinary and impressive. Lastly, I have a personal affinity for anyone who writes a lipogram and Georges Perec is probably my favorite. I love A Void.
12. If you could breed a character who was a love child of three different media icons, who would you choose?
Gahhhh! What kind of a question is this! Props to you for truly stumping me! I considered three attributes when contemplating the answer to this question: looks, brains, and temperament. With this in mind, Andrej Pejic for his beauty, Will Smith for intelligence and creativity, and Robert Downey, Jr. for temperament and sense of humor. I think if I were to mix these three people, I’d have a very interesting character. Second runners up: Tim Burton, a Minion, and Kermit. Definitely not in that order.
13. Do you have a character in your head that you have yet to write a story for?
Quite a few. I’d like to write a historical romance about a boy who helps restore rare books after the Arno River flooding of 1966 in Florence, Italy and a western mystery romance involving a young cowboy.
14. What is next, what are you working on?
I’m currently working Tharros, the sequel to Omorphi. This story takes Christy and Michael through recovering after Christy’s kidnapping, prom, and the prosecution of Christy’s kidnapper. Read an excerpt here.
15. Where can readers find more about you on the web?
Thanks for having me on your fantastic blog, Brandilyn! It was a privilege to be here and let’s do it again!
About the Author
Raised on the mean streets and back lots of Hollywood by a Yoda-look-alike grandfather, C. Kennedy doesn’t conform, doesn’t fit in, is epic awkward, and lives to perfect a deep-seated oppositional defiance disorder. In a constant state of fascination with the trivial, C. contemplates such weighty questions as: If time and space are curved, then where do all the straight people come from? When not writing, C. can be found taming waves on western shores, pondering the nutritional value of sunsets, appreciating the much maligned dandelion, unhooking guide ropes from stanchions, and marveling at all things ordinary.
Twitter @CodyKAuthor (https://twitter.com/CodyKAuthor)
Queer Town Abbey: http://queertownabbey.com/cody-kennedy/
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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