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Monday, August 11, 2008

GUEST BLOGGER: Cody McFayden

Today it is my pleasure to introduce you to Author Cody McFayden. I hope you'll take a moment to read this interesting article, and visit Cody's site. Now.... my guest:

Article by CODY MCFADYEN

I guess I have to say a little bit about me. I’m okay with that, so long as it’s just a little bit…

I’m forty, I was born in Texas, I now live in Southern California, and I write. There. I think that covers it.

I currently write a series featuring Smoky Barrett, a female FBI agent who heads up the LA branch of the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime. The NCAVC is actually headquarted in Quantico, Virgina (duh – ‘National’) but every FBI office has someone who acts as a local coordinator, or liaison point, for their area. Smoky runs things in Los Angeles.

She’s a troubled woman, and she has good reason to be. She lost her husband and her daughter to one of the men she was hunting. He broke into her home one night and he took away her family. He also assaulted her, and disfigured her face. When the series opens, she’s trying to decide whether to kill herself or go back to work.

The series has evolved from there, and it’s been a path of darkness and light. Melodramatic sounding, but it’s true. I’m accused (when I’m accused) of writing about dark things, and while I accept that, it miffs me sometimes, just a little. Because there’s a lot of beauty in the books, too. That’s the whole point. You can’t know what’s good unless you know what’s evil. And my books absolutely show both sides of the coin.

I’m asked frequently about why I, as a man, chose to write about a lead female character. The question threw me the first time I was asked about it, because I hadn’t analyzed it at all. Smoky was Smoky, and she was a woman, and that was that. I think I came up with something clever, like ‘because she told me she was a woman’ or something like that. Since then, I’ve more time to ponder, and I think the reasons are various.

For one, right or wrong, sexist or not, I tend to view loss of family in a much more poignant way through a wife and mother’s eyes. I also think it comes back to my love of contrasts: Smoky is a woman in a man’s world, and she excels. She’s 4’10” and she’s been victimized, but she’s formidable and has this incredible strength to her. She wears high heels and carries a gun. She doesn’t flinch when she looks into the darkness.

Plus, sometimes, ‘write what you know’ is boring. It’s just interesting to write from a woman’s perspective. Thankfully, my unconscious hubris hasn’t gotten me into too much trouble… yet. I have a lot of female readers and one of the best compliments I’ve been paid is to be told that they were surprised to find that I was a man, because I wrote a woman so well. Though I guess there will always be blind spots. Someone once wrote in a review that I didn’t mention clothing and accessories enough (shoes and purses and the like) and that this showed I was a man writing a woman. All I can say is… be patient with me, ladies. I’m doing my best here, and I am a fan of the gender.

The book that just came out in paperback is The Face of Death. It posits the question: what if a killer left his victim alive? What if, instead of killing her, he followed her throughout her life, killing anyone and everyone she ever loved? It was an interesting idea, one that came to me from god knows where, and it led me as a writer down a twisting path, full of all those contrasts I enjoy so much. I hope, if you read it, that you’ll agree.

Visit Cody's Website here: http://codymcfadyen.com/

12 comments:

  1. Interesting article, Cody. I have to confess I haven't come across your books before, but this certainly sounds like something I'd like.
    LOL @ not writing enough about clothes. Now, despite being female, I'm always a bit PO'd with all the clothing description. I mean who cares what someone's wearing, unless it's necessary for plot. It doesn't (generally speaking) drive the story forward at all, although it might sometimes tell you something about the character.

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  2. I enjoyed your post, Cody. Your heroine sounds intriguing.

    Elaine Cantrell
    www.elainecantrell.com

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  3. morning den an HELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLO CODY! LOL

    linda b

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  4. Great post! I got a copy of The Face of Death at the RWA conference in San Francisco and I'm looking forward to reading it.

    Helen
    www.helensheroes.blogspot.com
    www.helenhardt.com

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  5. Thanks for hosting Cody, Denyse! I'll get him over here in a few. ;o)

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  6. THANKS so much for being my guest today, Cody.

    This book sounds SO interesting, I'm going to have to get a copy. The concept is quite chilling, and the psychological implications involved must have been fascinating to explore as a writer. I suspect this is a book that readers won't soon forget once they've read it!

    Blessings,
    Denyse

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  7. Hi everyone,

    Thanks for the kind comments and warm welcome. I'm still fumbling my way through my second cup of coffee (first doesn't even count), but this is nice to wake up to. :)
    Dawn: everyone has an opinion, that is one thing I've learned. In the end, you just have to write the book that's in you.
    Elaine: Thanks very much - I hope you'll give her a go.
    Good morning, Linda!
    Helen: Enjoy. It is dark, no getting around that, but there's beauty there, too, I believe. I was actually supposed to go to RWA, but got sick as a dog after 2 weeks in Europe. Maybe next year.
    And of course thanks to Denyse for hosting.
    Now, I'm going to finish cup 2 and maybe a 3rd, and then do some writing...

    Cody

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  8. Great post. I see nothing wrong with a man writing a female character. Female authors write male characters. You have to go with what works for the plot and having a female working in an environment normally ruled by males, is more interesting.

    Kelley

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  9. This sounds like a very hot book Cody and I love a good mystery novel. Thanks for sharing

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  10. Thank you Kelly - I agree. The whole mystique given that area is interesting, and probably, for a writer, unnecessary. When I first wrote the book, as I said, I wasn't thinking about it at all. Then in my first interview after being published, someone said 'why'd you write a female character?' and I went 'Huh?' :)
    Ms. Priss: Thanks! Hope you'll enjoy it, darkness and graphicness and all!

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  11. This sounds like a great book!!

    I think its great you put her height at 4'10 and made her a great strength. I am 4'11 and can empathize. :)

    I love to read into dark tales. Because without the darkness, there is no light.

    Looks like I will be looking for this book!
    Thanks!
    C~

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  12. Wow, sounds like a very interesting book that just got added to my tbb list. Can't wait to read it. Thanks for being here Cody and thanks to Denyse for hosting you.

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Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.