Thursday, May 20, 2010
Michael Cogdill Author of She-Rain: A Story of Hope
Michael Cogdill is blessed as one of the most honored television storytellers in America. His cache of awards includes 24 Emmy's and the National Edward R. Murrow for a broad range of achievement, from live reporting to long-form storytelling. His work proves the power a message can hold when it reaches the human heart. Michael’s television credits as a writer/performer include CNN, CNBC, MSNBC, and The Today Show.
His interview credits are about as varied as you can get: The Reverend Billy Graham, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Dr. Henry Kissinger, Abby Hoffman, Senator Hillary Clinton, Senator John McCain, Howard K. Smith, James Brown, and countless eminent members of Congress along with other key news makers around the country. His coverage credits include Presidents and Vice Presidents of the United States and major figures in entertainment
Richardson: Hello Michael, thanks for chatting with me. Please tell us about She-Rain and the reception it has received so far.
Cogdill: We're floored by the reception thus far. Putting out a book is a daunting risk. I poured so much of my heart into She-Rain and the people within it, and I must confess some trembling at what could have come sailing back at me from readers. To have reviewers and other readers hail it as a classic, a must-read, couldn't-put-it-down, sentenced-me-to-an-all-nighter sort of book is thrilling.
Richardson: Very impressive! How long did it take for you to write She-Rain? I love the title by the way!
Cogdill: She-Rain occupied ten years of my life, and every moment I spent it its creation was a joy. I anchor the late news on an NBC affiliate, allowing She-Rain to become my after-work world of solace. There's a lot of 4:30 am in that book's writing!
Richardson: Michael you are 24-time Emmy-winning television journalist. Your novel, She-Rain, contains two narrative threads dedicated to the memory of Savannah. Were there any heavy research required to write She-Rain?
Cogdill: Some research, but nothing that sent me venturing into the moldy pages. The book's origins grew out of old family stories. I simply let those old tales seed my imagination.
Richardson: Michael, what do you want readers to take away from your book?
Cogdill: I want them entertained first. Books require the most precious capital we get to spend in this life -- our time. If you're not entertained, you've expended breath and time you'll never get back. Beyond this, I long to have readers linger in the glow of extravagant love. The love triangle in She-Rain is unlike any other ever written. It proves human hearts -- especially those who've been dragged through some dark times -- are capable of stunning greatness. Readers who take away a sense of our deeply human capacity to rise far beyond what seeks to drag us down will join in the joy I took in writing She-Rain. It takes on racism, classism, religious fundamentalism and the dross of living down to low expectations. May each reader of She-Rain be entertained and, in a lasting way, inspired.
Richardson: Inspiration is what motivates and aspires me! So, She-Rain, is right up my alley. Michael, what have you discovered about yourself on your journey to publication?
Cogdill: I've discovered that rejections truly can be God's protections. In the early going, agents didn't get it. Now, I have a major New York agent in love with it and the idea of another novel I have in store. To give up is to cheat ourselves out of the beauty that awaits us. She-Rain taught me never, ever, ever give up.
Richardson: Let's discuss rejection (s) shall we? How do/did you handle rejection (s)?
Cogdill: Get mad, get over it, keep going. To all who face rejection, allow yourself to lean into it, to see fully what motivates it and what it has to teach you, then write what you deem beautiful, entertaining and worthy of your legacy!
Richardson: What advice would you offer aspiring authors?
Cogdill: Write for beauty in an active language you celebrate as a music of your heart. If critics -- especially academics -- try to demand that you adopt their styles or be condemned as no good, shed them into the dust of your creative feet. The best teachers build up your unique voice. A few out there -- not so many, after all -- will seek to tear you down to their level. Don't go!
Richardson: Wonderfully stated and humbly received. Are there any forth coming projections readers should be made aware of? How can readers contact you?
Cogdill: I'm working on a Vietnam-era novel entitled The Belles of Honeysuckle Road -- and it'll carry similar Southern themes found in She-Rain. My wife, Jill, and I have also put out an heirloom-quality children's title in hard cover, Cracker the Crab and the Sideways Afternoon, and we plan another children's title focused on giving hope amid death and loss. We call that one Where Did Joe Go? I'm also working on a non-fiction piece whose working title is Raise the Haze. All this amid my work in television. It's a full life.
Richardson: Sounds like one to watch out for! Michael, thank you for chatting with me. As always in closing, continue to inspire as you aspire!
Cogdill: You are a joy!! Wishes of peace and beauty to you and your group, always!!
She-Rain: A Story of Hope