Author Spotlight: Cory Cowley
Cory Cowley is on her way to great things. Even though her review fell to Aarika, and Aarika has had the majority of contact with her through her review process, I have found Cory to be a very interesting person. She seems to be such a queen of darkness on her Instagram, so I will admit that I chuckled to find that she is really a giant nerd. I don’t know what I expected. The Queen of the Night? Maleficent, the dark fairy from Sleeping Beauty?
We reached out to her with some interview questions, because she is fast accumulating a cult following. She’s breaking into Amazon’s top 100 Horror books as well, which is no surprise if you read over the reviews, which reinforce Aarika’s glowing review. (My favorite: “Heaven and hell have similar addresses.”) Someday, I’ll write up a transcript of what Aarika said during the week we did this review. It looked a lot like: “Jayna. Jayna. JAYNA! OMG! THIS BOOK!”
With the introduction out of the way...I present to you the exclusive Two Bluestockings interview with Cory Cowley. **that’s your cue to applaud**
TBS: Welcome to our COVID-19 approved method of interviewing...electronically.
Cory: First, I just wanted to say thank you to the Two Bluestockings Team. This opportunity means a lot to me, and I’m more than humbled and honored that you have chosen my book to review and talk about.
TBS: It's an honor to feature you on our podcast and blog. To start, do you try to be more original or deliver to readers what they want?
Cory: My primary goal as a writer is to keep the art of authenticity alive. In our society we live in now, it has come increasingly devoid of any kind of true feelings or sincere thoughts. Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to write things that came from my heart—even if I received odd looks or judgment.
I do think you have to placate the idea of selling and being successful—any author’s goal is to write for a living; however, I do believe—maybe this is idealistic of me—that a GOOD author will always produce work that is true to who they are. Believing in your own potential and self is the greatest asset you can obtain, and if you can make other people happy by being true to your originality—it’s bliss.
TBS: What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
Cory: I would definitely have to go with Abarat. Clive Barker is my favorite author, and his works are truly something unique. It’s not that it isn’t appreciated, but amongst his other works, Abarat tends to become overshadowed. It has so much imaginative qualities to it when you think about it. The story, the characters, the descriptive scenarios—it’s simply another reason why he inspires my work.
TBS: What advice do you have for writers?
Cory: The best piece of advice would be to nix the norm. Never EVER let anyone—no matter who it is-make you believe that you are not capable of creating an amazing poem, book, song, etc.
Never rush your imagination. There will be times when you hit a wall, but sometimes you have to have patience and wait for that inspiration to hit. We tend to get caught up sometimes in that creative wave, and once it isn’t there, we lose the momentum. I find that when you distance yourself from your work, maybe go outside, take a breather, meditate—you’ll regain that clarity to approach your work again, with some fresh thought.
Most importantly, take your time, and never give up. Remember: YOU are in the driver’s seat. Don’t let anyone steal the wheel out of your hands. Achieving your dreams is always right around the corner.
TBS: Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?
Cory: When I was suffering from PTSD after abuse, I used writing as a way to purge myself of any negative emotions. Writing ultimately saved me when I was on the verge of wanting to commit suicide last year. It’s funny when I look back. I have all these random monologues I had written down and saved. WhenI was having a moment of sadness or guilt, I would take out my phone, write it down, and forget about it. Looking back, I underestimated how powerful those moments came to be. They essentially forged the person I am today, and though those times were incredibly painful, it allowed me to have the courage to be here and tell this story now.
TBS: What is your favorite childhood book?
Cory: Hands down Where the Wild Things Are or Bony Legs. I would sit in my elementary school library for hours on end reading in between those two books. As a kid, I was a major social pariah. I didn’t really have any close friends, so books and animals were my escape. Both books are rich in fantasy, and that was something that always caught my attention as a kid. I think any kid who is feeling sad or lonely always wants a book as a means to fantasize.
TBS: Where do you get your ideas?
Cory: Oh man. This question, I could dwell on for days. Well, I guess the first think would be my childhood. I grew up with my sister and my mom. Since my dad left when I was young, I sort of saw my mom as my hero. I don’t want to say that life was bad, but it was definitely hard. So, when I was a kid, any time she would have a hard day, I would write her a poem or draw her a picture. She used to always tell me that I had so much artistic creativity, and she made me believe.
My neighborhood and all the kids I grew up with were basically my happy place. I take flashbacks from my childhood and youth and embellish things that happened. In Bending Reality, most of the flashbacks I write about did happen.
Having a parent that was always open to their child’s creativity was the best thing I could have when I was growing up. So, I was raised in an unorthodox way of thinking. Some of my first movies were horror movies, and that had such an astounding impact on me that I grew up and came to love that genre. I take an idea in my head, and that influences my way of thinking. I put a personal spin on it. Giving any idea a personal spin sort of helps me gain perspective.
TBS: What does literary success look like to you?
Cory: Inspiration, hands down. I told myself long ago that I wanted to inspire other people. I didn’t always have that luxury. Aside from my mom, I didn’t have the huge support system that I have now. I was constantly told that my writings were “too dark” or “too elaborate.” So that pushed me to keep going and don’t stop.
Of course, as I mentioned before, every writer wants to make a stable income—I personally think you’re lying if you say otherwise—but there is no greater satisfaction than to see a reader happy. If I can change one person’s day and help them succeed in their dreams...then I succeed. It’s about giving happiness. I constantly think about myself as a kid, and how those books made me happy. If one day, someday down the road, someone picks up my book and it elicits that same reaction—win.
TBS: Have you read anything that made you think differently about fiction?
Cory: Fiction, for me, will always be king. It encompasses such a broad base of things, that the writer can play out any kind of scenario. Fiction is wonderful like that. So, if you’re talking in terms of making me realize how important it is to literature, then yes. I definitely think that fictional novels are the infrastructure of the arts. They hold the most imagination, emotion, and range of engagement; the quintessential recipes to a good book.
TBS: Any last thoughts?
Cory: Thank you guys again for having me and giving me the chance to tackle some really awesome questions! I hope this sort of helps gain some clarity into my warped (but loving) mind!
To my fans out there, never give up on your dreams. Keep that drive, focus, and persistence, and the rest will fall into place.
Lastly, shoutout to my mom back home in Tennessee. You definitely kept me going, old lady. I love you. Thank you.
If you would like to check out Cory’s book, Bending Reality, you can do that here! (We will receive a small commission if you use our link, which does not change the price for you!)
If you would like to read our review of Bending Reality, you can do that here!
If you would like to listen to our review of Bending Reality, you can do that here!
It's been such an amazing adventure, reading about and talking to authors of all kinds. The views expressed by the authors are their own and in no way represent the views of the Two Bluestockings.
The Two Bluestockings are a collective of three nerdy individuals. Chad, Aarika, and Jayna get together every week to discuss new authors, old authors, whether or not comic books count as literature--they do, and so much more. Grab your favorite cocktail and look for Two Bluestockings on the podcast platform of your choice: Spotify, Apple, Amazon, BuzzSprout, etc.