Shade by Cody Stewart Genre: Ya Paranormal
Clendon Kiernan has always preferred the shadows. A place where he was free from the hate and fear, from the stares and ridicule of others. One night Clen discovers the shocking truth of why. He is a Shade. A thing of darkness. A creature with the ability to shred souls. When a vile whisper tells him to destroy everything around him Clen does the only thing he can. But he cannot run from himself. The darkness growing inside Clen will soon consume him if he does not learn to control it. In his quest to do so, Clen learns that there is an entire world that exists in the shadows of Ellis, a world that has been hidden from him – secret clans with extraordinary abilities, the ghosts of a hidden past, and a war that’s been brewing for millennia. Clen must uncover the true history of Ellis, see through the generations of lies and deceit, and suffer betrayal and heartbreak if he is to save all those who hate and fear him. But when he learns the truth, will he want to? The darkness in him could save Ellis. Or it could be what destroys it.
About the Author
Cody was born in Upstate New York. Eventually setting off to seek his fortune, he worked in a paper mill, a whipped cream factory, cleaned apartments, and administratively assisted several organizations before returning to the Adirondacks with a wife and child that he picked up along the way. He approaches life as though it were a page – frequently rearranging paragraphs to make it more interesting if not wholly true, fudging with the margins to fit more in, and, sometimes, erasing entire sections altogether. When not altering reality, he is scouring comic book shops, lying on the ground, or floor (whichever he happens to be standing on when he feels the need to go horizontal), trying to convince his wife to make french toast (she makes amazing french toast), and searching for the darkest cup of coffee in existence.
Please welcome Shade author Cody Stewart to Diane's Book Blog.
What is your favorite part of the story, Shade?
The relationships. I love exploring how these characters act with each other, how they react to their circumstances, how those circumstance alter their relationships. And superpowers. Take some father/son tension, add a dash of super rage and hulk strength and discover what happens.
How long did it take you to write Shade?
I began writing Shade over five years ago, at my desk, at work while I was supposed to be working (the work they paid me to do, anyway). My coworkers were very confused at how busy I seemed to be all the time. My fake dedication to my job helped me get promoted so I wasn’t able to fake work/real write anymore. I had to actually work. It was the worst. I got about halfway through Shade and stopped. I was lucky enough to land a super boring desk a year later and started the whole thing from scratch.
If you were stranded on a desert island which of your characters do you want by your side?
Ollie would be handy at mercilessly slaughtering wild animals. Aidan would be good for building fires, but he’s kind of a psychopath. Wyn could probably fly me right off the island, but he’s a bit of a d-bag. I’d sat Amy. In an early draft of Shade, there’s a scene where she makes the most amazing peanut butter and banana pancakes. It’s unlikely we’d find those ingredients on a desert island, but just knowing the skills were there would give me hope.
If you could be best friends with one of your characters, who would it be?
Ollie is partially based on my best friend so I’d have to choose him. Our dynamic is very much like that of Clen and Ollie - he draws me out of my mind cave whereas, alone, I’m likely to spend all day in there eating gummy bears and binge watching Boy Meets World. Although, we do that when we’re together also.
What inspired you to write your first book?
I couldn’t really tell you. I remembering sitting at my desk, and a story just started pouring out of my fingers. I hadn’t thought about writing a book before then. It happened very suddenly, and it hasn’t stopped.
What is your favorite book that you wrote?
Shade, as it is the only book I’ve written so far. But I suspect my fourth book will be my favorite book that I will write. It’s going to be so good.
Who or what inspired you to be a writer?
This quote from Brian Michael Bendis, legendary comic book writer, in Words for Pictures: the Art and Business of Writing Comics says it better than I can. “You’re writing because there are these voices in your head. Not the scary kind, but voices, images, scenes, all telling you a story that you feel compelled to push out into the world...You’re writing because you’re the kind of person who has a really hard time expressing yourself unless you’re writing...It’s when you write, and only when you write, that you feel like a normal human being. It’s writing that let’s you have a normal rest of the day...You’re a better person around your friends and family when you spend that quality time with yourself. You need that time to figure out who you are and where you belong in the world by writing it down.” I wasn’t inspired to be a writer. I was born to be a writer. But I have been inspired to be what I was born to be.
What books have most influenced your life?
Two months before I graduated from high school I had no firm plans as to what I was doing next. I told everyone I was going to grow a ponytail and travel across the country, which was 25 percent joke and 75 percent actual intention. Everyone treated it like it was 100 percent joke. Except my brother. He gave me a copy of Travels With Charley by John Steinbeck with the following inscription: “I look forward to the next installment - Drivin’ with Baggie.” Baggie was our cat. I did eventually grow a ponytail in a prolonged fit of experimentation, but have yet to travel the country. I did, however, take that book to college where I studied writing, carried it to England for a semester of study, and now, over ten years later, it sits in a place of honor on my bookshelf.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Neil Gaiman. It’s amazes me how diverse he is, how many different genres and mediums he works in. Comic books, children’s books, Young Adult Fiction, Fiction. And they all have such unique, powerful voices.
What's your favorite book-turned movie?
Where the Wild Things Are. I rumpused for so long after I watched that.
What is your typical day like?
My son just turned a year old a few months ago, so my days only recently began to show some form of structure that could be called typical. I spend as much time in the morning as I can with my son and wife (and parents and grandmother - we live in a four generation household!) before going to work. From 9:00am to 5:00pm my brain divides in two. One half controls my body, enabling it to perform essential work duties like working a stapler and smiling politely. I retreat into the other half, which looks like the captain’s quarters of an 18th century treasure galleon. From there, I sail the Universe. My brain becomes whole, and I spend as much time with my family as I absolutely can before they go to sleep. Then I start sailing again and recording my adventures.
How do you overcome writer’s block?
Write. Just keep writing. I’m not actually sure I really believe in writer’s block as an almost clinical condition, the way it tends to be discussed. I believe in writer’s fatigue. Sometimes I get tired of writing. I take a break. I come back. I always come back. I can’t not come back. And sometimes I just have to eliminate as many distractions as possible. With ruthless prejudice. Most often that means turning off the computer (did you know you can watch David the Gnome on YouTube?) and putting pen to paper.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Absolutely. I’m working on two projects right now. First is the sequel to Shade, titled Beast. Beast further explores Clen’s struggle with his dark nature after the tragic revelations of Shade. It explores all of the characters’ dark sides a bit more and whether or not all of the shattered relationships from Shade are salvageable. Second, I’m developing an ongoing webcomic titled Constant. I worked with Rafael Desquitado, an amazing artist, to create the Shade preview comic book, which is available for free on my website. We liked working together so much that we began developing Constant. At it’s heart, Constant is a story of grief and the very diverging paths that grief can send two parents who have lost their child. Told in the context of alternate dimensions, spaceships, and aliens with handlebar mustaches.
What book are you reading now?
I just finished I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson. So awesome! It’s told with such an amazing, unique voice. It’s not narrated to the reader so much as it is the reader stepping inside the brain of two incredibly interesting, quirky, funny, and endearing characters.
What do you prefer paperback, hardcover, or ebooks?
Paperback. I like having a physical copy to read. I stare at one kind of screen or another for the majority of my day. I’d rather reading be a break from that. And paperbacks hurt less than hardcovers when you’re carrying them in your bag and you slip and fall on it.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you for sailing with me.
$25 amazon gift card combined with a swag package.