Why don’t we start out with you telling us a little bit about yourself?
CK: Hey, thanks for having me! It’s great to be here! I was born in Los Angeles, California and raised by my grandfather, a prolific author.
TNA: Was it your grandfather who inspired and encouraged you to begin writing creatively?
CK: Yes. I lost the ability to speak around age five or six and, at the age of seven, my grandfather said: “You may not have a voice, but you have a mind. Use it.” Then he slapped a pen, not a pencil, down in front of me. He used to say, “Real crossword puzzle doers do it in pen.” Yep, I had to write in pen. No erasers allowed. To add insult to injury, I had to write in proper cursive on unlined vellum. My grandfather had perfect penmanship and expected me to perfect mine and write in straight lines. There was none of this crooked-on-the-page stuff allowed. Brutal pressure for a seven-year-old.
TNA: What is the perfect writing atmosphere for you?
CK: A big room with lots of natural light. I can’t write in a claustrophobic environment.
TNA: Would you ever consider donating your hair to Locks of Love?
CK: Some of it? Yes. I mean, my hair may be down to my waist, but I’m old and have only three hairs left. I need to conserve.
TNA: How much input do you have in the design of your book covers?
CK: With respect to Omorphi, originally, I wasn’t brave enough to submit it to Harmony Ink Press. I didn’t think I wrote well enough and doubted Omorphi would be accepted. I planned to self-publish it and worked with Reese Dante to create the cover before I submitted Omorphi to Harmony Ink Press. As such, I had one-hundred-percent input. In working with Harmony Ink Press on Safe’s cover, Paul Richmond, who runs the art department, is fantastic to work with. Both he and Reese are good listeners, patient, and provide lots of choices.
TNA: As a responsible writer of LGBT fiction directly marketed to the YA consumer, you have written several blog posts about what you feel is and isn’t age appropriate to include in YA books, both heterosexual and homosexual. Where can we find this important information?
CK: Readers can find an article I wrote entitled ‘Young People Should Read About Life as it is – Lived: Writing Sex in Young Adult Works’ on my adult blog.
I’ll expound on this subject, and about writing violence, action, and the suspension of disbelief, during Omorphi’s blog tour.
TNA: Have you faced any blow-back from other authors or publishers regarding your opinions on the above mentioned topic?
CK: Including sex in young adult works is a very polarizing and controversial issue and some authors and publishers have openly criticized and disagreed with what I write. I am not offended by this and believe the controversy encourages desperately needed discussion on the issue. Sexual reference is everywhere in society and is obvious, and young adults will practice sexual exploration irrespective of age, law, and popular opinion. To avoid writing “things as they are” or “life as it is” in a contemporary novel is disingenuous. Writing about normal, healthy sexual exploration in teen relationships also provides introductory information that young adults may not otherwise have access to. It’s a given that young adults are far better prepared for society if armed with knowledge. I also believe that censoring and withholding vital information from young adults in the name of protecting them from themselves is often applied inappropriately and to extremes; and speaks to a lack of confidence in them. Young people can read and think for themselves and I wholly support their right to do so.
TNA: Of all the characters you’ve created, do you have a favorite? If so, who and why?
CK: I have two favorites. Christy in Omorphi and Isidore in my upcoming novel, Slaying Isidore’s Dragons. The two of them together are a fair representation of what I, and others who have suffered abuse, have endured yet triumphed over.
TNA: As an author, what’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
CK: *chuckles* My grandfather drilled ‘don’t get it right, get it written’ into me. As authors, our imaginations are priceless. It’s the most loyal BFF we will ever have. Explore it, cultivate it, own it. It is far more important to put our imaginations on paper than it is to be perfect. Bonus advice: Wear sunscreen. At least SPF 50.
TNA: You work with and mentor young people. Would you be willing to tell us a little bit about that?
CK: TF-CBT or Trauma-focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is an important part of therapy when recovering from abuse, and it requires that victims write or draw about what has happened to them. From time to time, I volunteer to help abused male tweens and teens write their stories. It is, without question, one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.
TNA: How would you describe your sense of humor? What makes you laugh?
CK: *cracks up* Questions like this make me laugh. I don’t have a sense of humor. I’m terrible with humor. People tell jokes and I’m often left thinking, “What’s so funny about that?” or “I don’t get it.” That said, I’m great with sarcasm in my writing. Sometimes too good and I have to go back and tone down my writing.
TNA: Conversely, what makes you cry?
CK: I’m not a crier, per se, but my heart breaks and I become teary-eyed every time I learn or hear about another abused kid. I also tear-up when I read a great redemption story; or when people I respect compliment me. When genuine people take the time to contemplate me as a whole and compliment me, or my efforts, I’m deeply touched.
TNA: Do your characters ever up and take off without your consent and the best you can do is hang on and follow, or do you keep tight control over them?
CK: They take off all of the time. They’re horribly undisciplined. I’m often left hanging on for dear life as they turn a corner and change the entire direction of the story. They also accost me in the middle of the night with a new subplot or new dialogue. It leaves me feeling rather miniony.
TNA: Do you have any pets?
CK: Three wacky parrots who can imitate my laugh perfectly. One of them often peers at my laptop screen closely because the ever-changing posts scrolling through Facebook fascinate him. Truly odd, is that he often laughs before I do when a funny post passes by. I’m fairly certain he can read and he’s far better at understanding humor than I am. It’s kind of embarrassing when you think about it.
TNA: Would you care to share a little bit of information on any of your current WIPs?
CK: Slaying Isidore’s Dragons is an action-packed romance for gay young adults. The story is about two young men who lose parents in the same London car bombing. They meet at the beginning of their senior year at a private academy in the U.S. and fall in love. When conspiracy moves from theory to reality, only their unwavering determination to be together can save them. Together they face grief, tragedy, cruelty, and extraordinary peril. Read an excerpt HERE
TNA: Where can readers find you on the internet?
TNA: Would you like share an excerpt from Omorphi with us?
CK: Sure and thank you again for having me! It’s been awesome being here!
One of the reasons Christy moves to the U.S. is to avoid the Greek media, but the U.S. media finds him and an article appears in the news. In this scene, Christy asks Michael about it.
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.
“Can I ask you some things?”
“You know you can ask me anything.”
“Does the publicity bother you?”
“What publicity? You mean about the meets?”
“Mmm, sometimes. Usually only when they get in my face and ask personal questions.”
“They don’t say bad things about you?”
“Some jerk accused me of cheating once, and the media wouldn’t let it go for a year. It sucked.”
“What did you do?”
“Ignored it. You can’t get into an argument with someone who buys ink by the barrel. They’ll only say more. Now, I just ignore all the press.”
“You don’t care what they say?”
“Jake’s dad has something called a clipping service. They find all the articles that mention Jake or me and send copies to Nero’s office for review. If there is something I need to know, he tells me.”
“So you simply ignore this?”
“Yes. Why do you want to know?”
“Okay, another question. Have you ever known anyone who is famous?”
Michael smiled at Christy for ignoring his question. “What do you mean? Like a rock star?”
“Jake’s dad is kind of famous, and now I know Sophia.”
Christy clucked his disapproval. “You cannot look at her like this.”
“A little. What if the media were cruel to you? If they say the truth, but in a bad light?”
“That happens a lot. Just ask Jake. We just ignore it.”
“You do not tell them to stop?”
“You can’t. At least not in this country. I know a couple of times Jake’s dad has called the newspaper or a TV station and told them to correct things, but that’s about all that you can do. You just have to take it in stride.”
Christy’s balled fist clenched against Michael’s chest. “What if… they say something about someone you care about?”
“If it were untrue, and if it warranted it, I’d issue a formal statement correcting it.”
Christy was agitated, clearly trying to get a point across. “What if it is true but phrased poorly?”
“I think you mean to ask what I would do if they said something that was true but phrased it unkindly for purposes of sensationalism.”
Christy looked up at him again. “Yes.” The word was breathless, said half in desperation, half in relief.
“I’d issue a statement saying just that. I’d say that the media was making statements for the sole purpose of selling copy without regard to that person, a penultimate form of disrespect, invasion of privacy, and I might even go so far as to say that it was an abuse of privilege.”
Christy continued to look up at Michael.
“What, babe? Why all these questions about media?”
Christy reached beneath his pillow, withdrew a newspaper, and handed it to Michael.
THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED
Raised on the mean streets and back lots of Hollywood by a Yoda-look-alike grandfather, Cody 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, Cody contemplates such weighty questions as: If time and space are curved, then where do all the straight people come from? When not writing, Cody 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.
And now, here are the details for your second and third chances to win!
Follow Omorphi’s blog tour to win an ebook copy of Omorphi!
September 18th – Author Will Parkinson – Will holds nervous Cody’s hand the day before Omorphi’s release because he promised to and Cody’s talks about Omorphi’s Cover and Bringing Omorphi to Life
September 19th – Mrs. Condit & Friends Read Books – Cody writes Perils and Pitfalls of Post Production Public Relations and a SECOND chance to win an ebook copy of Omorphi!
September 19th – Smile, Somebody Loves You – Announcement post and Cody shares Omorphi Trivia with Beverly and Tamara
September 20th – Author Shira Anthony – Why I write the kind of stories I do by Cody
October 20th – Cody’s Blog – Omorphi’s One Month Anniversary Trivia Contest and a THIRD chance to win an ebook copy of Omorphi – In order to enter this contest you must:
September 21st – Author Jamie Mayfield – Why Omorphi and A Broken Kind of Life are Same but Different
Also on September 21st – Harmony Ink Press on Facebook: Meet Cody Kennedy and Jamie Mayfield
September 22nd – Cody’s Blog – Tony Edmondson, Fan Extraordinaire, interviews Cody
September 27th – Author Wade Kelly – Character Interview with Christy Castle
September 28th – Author Iyana Jenna – Fairy Fan Extraordinaire, Q&A with Christy Castle
September 29th – Author Zoe Lynn – The Notes Behind Omorphi’s Play List
October 4th – Sid Love’s Blog – Why the title Omorphi?
October 5th – Author Madison Parker – What makes Omorphi unique?
October 6th – Author John Ames – Q&A with Michael Sattler
October 11th – Boys on the Brink – Omorphi: Writing Sex and Violence in Young Adult works
October 12th – Author Jamie Fessenden – Cody shares Omorphi Trivia with Jamie
October 15th – Granny Irene – A week in the Life of Christy Castle before Michael Sattler
October 18th – Author Sara Alva – A week in the life of Michael Sattler before Christy Castle
October 19th – Author Sam Kadence – Cody Talks About Writing Action and the Suspension of Disbelief
October 20th – Cody’s Blog – Omorphi’s One Month Anniversary Trivia Contest and a SECOND chance to win an ebook copy of Omorphi – In order to enter this contest you must:
1) have visited and commented on each stop on Omorphi’s Blog Tour – please be sure to leave your name in your blog comment. “Anonymous” comments won’t qualify; and
2) you must correctly answer the trivia questions posted on Cody’s Blog by placing your answers in the comments section beneath the questions; and
3) along with your answers to the trivia questions, you must leave a comment about Omorphi’s Blog Tour.
The winner will be selected by Kismet, Cody’s greenwing macaw. The winner to be announced on October 21st.
To make things even more exciting, a new contest will begin on October 21st on The Novel Approach Reviews Blog to win an ebook copy of Cody’s novella, Safe, due out October 24th from Harmony Ink Press!
Get ready to read and win!