A fabulous interview with Shade author Cody Stewart


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Shade by Cody Stewart Genre: Ya Paranormal
Midnight Frost Books


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.  

Can you tell us a little about your latest book?
Shade is the story of Clendon Kiernan, a teenage boy who’s always been an outcast in his small home town of Ellis. One night he discovers why – he’s a Shade, someone with the terrifying ability to rip your soul from your body. His friends and family are who he thought they were. His quaint hometown is riddled with secrets that go back generations. Clen is quickly caught in the middle of an ancient feud and must decide which side he falls on. Will he use his abilities to save Ellis and the people who have feared and lied to him his entire life, or let it all burn?

What inspired you to write it?
I grew up and went to college in rural Upstate New York, the Adirondacks. I moved to Hartford, CT after graduating. It was a jarring transition. There were no trees. There were no mountains. The Springtime smelled like wet ass. I started writing Shade in a fit of homesickness. Ellis is largely based on my hometown. Many of the characters draw inspiration from my friends and family. Writing Shade made me feel at home. I did grow to love Hartford, but I moved back to Adirondacks a few years ago.

How did you come up with the idea for the cover?
My publisher hired an artist for the cover. I didn’t really have much say in its design. But, damn, that guy’s totally dreamy, amiright?

If it was made into a movie, who would you like to play the main characters?
I’m going to assume my casting director has access to a time machine and makes bold casting choices. Clen would be played by Dane DeHaan. He’s great at being dark and conflicted and has excellent crazy-eyes. Ollie would be Michael Chicklis, de-aged like they did to Jeff Bridges in the new Tron movie. Tracy Spiridakos would be Niko. Yori is Aaron Yoo. Tao Okamoto is Suzume. Wyn would be played by a young Paul Newman.

What is it about this genre that appeals to you so much?
I like the fantasy/scifi genres because the fantastical elements in those stories are just creative extensions of human experiences and allow us to explore how we would act and react in these wild circumstances. Alex is trapped in the city as a tornado charges toward him, destroying everything in its path! Oh no! What’s he gonna do? Versus…Alex is trapped in the city as an enormous, irradiated dinosaur creature stomps and smashes everything in its path! Holy crap! I feel the freedom to change tornadoes to dinosaurs. And I like writing Young Adult Fiction because I think young adults are more honest and less pretentious than regular sized adults. They’re closer to a state of wild, rampant imagination.

What made you want to become an author?
I write because I’m a writer. I was born that way. I wasn’t born writing, obviously, I learned that later. I love telling stories and always have. Being an author, I think, implies being paid. What better satisfaction than to be paid to do something you love?

How do you come up with character names?
I spent a lot of time researching the names. The Clan names reflect the international origins and abilities of the clans. Dubh Suil is Gaelic for “black eye”. Safish Azar comes from the Swahili word Safisha, meaning “purifying or cleansing” and the Persian word Azar, meaning “fire”. Ananta is a Sanskrit word that means “without end or infinite one”. It’s the same with many of the individual character names and family names. They all mean something. Clendon was my grandfather’s name.

Name one of your all-time favourite books?
Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck. The observations in that book are amazing. Of people, of America, of life.

Who, or what, inspires you?
The world. Life. So many things. Riding a city bus and just watching and listening to people. Stepping into a lake and realizing that people 500 years ago stepped into this exact same lake. Then realizing that, really, it’s not the same lake because it’s constantly moving and changing. Wondering what the world was like 500 years ago, what it will be like 500 years from now. Watching my son learn how to talk. Everything, everywhere, all the time. I think infinite inspiration can be found in a single day.

Where is your favourite place to write?
Home. I am a total and absolute homebody. I would never leave if I didn’t have to do so for important things like going to the movies.

What is your favourite movie that was based on a book?
Where the Wild Things Are. Fantastic rumpusing. Great soundtrack.

Name two of your favourite authors.
Neil Gaiman and John Steinbeck.

If you could have a dinner party with any authors from any time in history, who would you choose and why?

Bram Stoker and Stephanie Meyer so they could discuss vampires.
(this is the best answer I've ever had for this question lol!!)
Tell us a random fact about yourself.
I’m agile, like a mountain goat.

Who would play you in the movie about your life?
A movie about my life would require a lot of narration, which would be done by James Earl Jones. The actor that would play me would have to be great at being silent and stone-faced. It could really just be a statue of me with narration from James Earl Jones. The statue of me would be played by Michelangelo’s David.

Tell us an interesting fact about where you live.
The mountain I live on, West Mountain, is named for a woman named Abigail West who died in a house fire. Certain accounts say she was burned for being a witch. According to my mother, Abigail haunts houses and commits such dastardly acts as turning on your sewing machine in the middle of the night.

What are your (writing) plans for the future?
I’m currently writing Beast, the sequel to Shade. I’m also developing, and soon launching, an ongoing webcomic called Constant. It’s a tale of grief and alternate dimensions and aliens with handlebar mustaches. It explores the diverging paths two parents take after losing their child. Rafael Desquitado, the amazing artist who worked on the Shade preview comic (available for free at codybstewart.com) is developing it with me. Updates for that are soon to come.

Tell us one thing that's on your bucket list.
Go to Greece.

Favourite myth / fairytale?
I’m a big fan of Greek Mythology. My favorite Greek myth is the story of Prometheus stealing fire from the gods and giving it to man. It’s an archetype for a lot of great stories. It’s such a powerful image - taking this power from the heavens, this fantastic, mythical thing and giving it away.

Who/What did you want to be when you were a kid?
I LOVE this answer!!

Cody StewartAbout 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.


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