And here’s half of our Double Feature Monday – say, did anyone else grow up in Massachusetts and remembers the Creature Double Feature? Anyone? Just wondering.
Anyways, welcome to Cory Cowley, a rising star in the horror/thriller/science fiction galaxy!
First of all, thank you so much, Adam, for having me be a part of this interview.
My pleasure! Thanks for taking time out of your life to be here. Speaking of which, what is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
My work schedule is extremely chaotic; I balance a full-time job at Publix supermarkets, doing blog work for Little Blue Plane and am now doing social media work for NY Floral. Needless to say, I barely have time for myself. In some miraculous way, I force myself to sit at my computer on my off days and write–even if it’s only a few words. Sometimes authors (including myself) become trapped in this idea that we have to write 10k words a day; that isn’t always the case. Even if you’re able to squeeze in a chapter or a few pages, that’s progress.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
When I’m not writing, I do blog work for Little Blue Plane here in Boca Raton. Most of my days off are hardly days off, and I spend a large portion of them working on the computer or doing marketing. When I do allot time for myself, I like to spend time with my partner, Jim, and my three guinea pigs.
What does your family think of your writing?
I have a very wonderful support system in terms of family. My mom has always been an integral part of my success, and the family dynamic is a huge part of my plots. In my first novel Bending Reality, my mother and aunt were mentioned in the book. Aside from my blood, my friends have always been so amazing and supportive of everything I have done. I can honestly say if it were not for my family and friends, I don’t think I would have such a lucrative career. Of course, family does not necessarily predicate success, but having those parts of your life certainly does affect your mindset.
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Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
Writing can be your best friend and worst enemy. My biggest piece of advice I have for any author is to never take it too seriously. Authors find themselves stuck in a rut and develop a writer’s block. It’s obvious that any author wants to be successful at their craft; doing what you love is undoubtedly the ideal way to live; however, chipping at it one day at a time can alleviate some of that pressure you build to get it done. Rushing can kill any story or plot–no matter how good it is. Taking some breaks in-between writing a story can also give you an opportunity to get a better idea as to what you want to write. This is my own opinion, but always write what comes from your heart. It’s important to give people what they want, yes, but it’s more important to write something that you like. I will never write a story that I think sucks, just so I can appease a certain audience.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
My readers are always engaged with me and encourage me to keep going. A good 98% of my readers always give me positive feedback, and some of them have even gone on to finish their own stories. Inspiring other authors to write their own story is primarily why I enjoy what I do. The best feedback you can get is that someone enjoyed your story enough to write their own.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
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When I was a child, I desperately wanted to be a scientist. I’m something of a nerd and reading about chemistry really made me so fascinated.
What is the most unethical practice in the publishing industry?
One of the most unethical approaches in the literary field is elitist authors crapping all over novice writers. I understand that they have gained a prominent foothold in the industry and deserve to have praise, but when I see those types of people shooting down others it makes me absolutely sick to my stomach. Everyone deserves a chance to write; whether you think your story is better or your grammar and punctuation is better is irrelevant. People learn with time, and giving harsh, rude feedback to people who are just starting out doesn’t make them want to go further; it makes them want to quit. It’s a damn shame that so many writers wind up giving up because of people who are established in the writing world. Clive Barker is an established author, but I never once read of him degrading others. Prominence doesn’t mean anything if you aren’t a decent human being. You can be the most successful writer, but if your attitude and way of treating others is awful, readers and fans will pull away.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Writing can be very exhausting–I won’t lie. There are times that I have to write filler parts that I just can’t wait to get through. Granted, I try to maintain the pace by paying attention, but even my mind wanders. Mood, environment, etc. can affect how writing makes you feel. When I’m tired from work, I definitely do not have the energy to bang out even 1k words. On the flip side of that, when I have adequate sleep, the right music on and have ample time to work on my writing, I can easily put away a few chapters–adding to the excitement of the story progressing.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
My spirit animal is definitely a xenomorph. I’m not quite sure, but I’ve always been so attracted to the finesse of its grotesque form. I know that Giger included elements of sexuality, biomechanical, and horror into his art–so I’m not entirely shocked I resonate within it. Also, being someone who grew up extremely independent, I can respect the xenomorph’s ability survive; it doesn’t need a queen; it’s can simply create an ovomorph and propagate the species. If you ask me, it’s fucking brilliant.
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What does literary success look like to you?
Literary success is not the fame you achieve, but the hearts, minds, and souls you touched in the process. In my case, my goal is to inspire others. I’ve had a desire to truly make the reader feel an uneasiness and nausea about a certain situation or scene. My first book is extremely horrible description of some graphic stuff. Most of the readers who have read my book cite the graphic, mental pictures they envisioned and tell me it’s unforgettable. In my humble opinion, if you aren’t reaching into your readers, you need to work on your story. More than just writing something to shock or influence people, you need to be YOU. Authenticity is the polestar by which I steer, and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t practice what I preach. There are too many people in the world anymore that ride off each other’s coattails without forming their own identity. It’s okay to be inspired, but it’s not okay to behave a certain way just to promote sells, advertise, or work; you need to ask the question, “is this true to who I am?” If you answer no to that question, then you need to rethink your whole strategy.
Thank you to Adam for allowing me to answer these questions. I sincerely hope everyone who reads this has a very prosperous writing career. May we all succeed and inspire generations to come. ❤️
It’s been my pleasure to have you here! Don’t anyone miss connecting with Cory on her social media (below), and BUY HER BOOK!