Friday Favourites #19: Cole McCade00:00
My guest for Friday Favourites this week is Mr. Cole McCade. He is a new-to-me author and I first came across his writing with his post for Queer Romance Month last year. His moving piece prompted me to check out his books which finally lead me to reading The Lost and its prequel, The Fallen a few weeks ago. In short, I was blown away by these rather dark but still hopeful stories, you can read my review from earlier this week.
Now, meet Mr. McCade himself sharing some of his favourite stuff and there are some. It was a really fascinating interview and learned so many new, curious things, and got to check out some awesome books. I hope you will enjoy it too!
1. Favourite place
Kowloon Walled City. Even though it doesn’t exist anymore; it was this fascinating warren of sunless tunnels outside of Hong Kong, a close-stacked shanty town mutated on itself and growing into this seedy tangle of neon lights and the scent of opium, turned ever inward and away from the world. I’m bloody well obsessed with it, and a little secret: I’ve started sneaking a tiny mention of it somewhere in my recent releases and in several of my upcoming titles. It’s becoming a thing. Where can I hide the Kowloon Walled City Easter egg? A YA novel I’m working is also set there, in a futuristic re-invention of the city.
2. Favourite food and drink
I’m going to show my roots a little and say my favorite food is a good beef udon bowl. Real beef udon with actual meat and vegetables, prepared properly in a restaurant; not the packaged stuff with the powdered flavor packets. There used to be this amazing sushi place near me that made the best udon bowls, but they closed down. As far as my favorite drink? Ginger green tea mixed with TY KU sake liqueur.
3. Favourite music/genre/artist/song
Asking me this is a form of cruel and unusual punishment. I don’t really have a favorite; I listen to all kinds of music from around the world, and tend to fall in love with songs regardless of their genre. One day I might be listening to Missy Elliott; the next Jay Chou; the next the soundtrack from Sita Sings the Blues; the next Peggy Lee; the next you’ll even catch me listening to 1D before it’s on to Dir en Grey and Marilyn Manson and Melanie Martinez and Meg Myers, then Etta James, Aerosmith, Hrithik Roshan, Emalkay, Sinatra, Keith Urban, 30 Seconds to Mars, SID, Akira Yamaoka, 16Bit, Disney soundtracks, Kalafina. Though I guess when I can’t decide what I want, I fall back on The Glitch Mob as my default; their music gets inside me, especially the Drink the Sea album. I don’t know. It’s really hard to answer when all I care is that it makes me feel something deep and visceral. My writing is set to music, always, and it shapes the rhythm of the narrative and the beat of my emotions.
4. Favourite movie/TV series
Not a big TV person, honestly. I’ll leave my TV off for months, then only turn it on for background noise. I have series I’ll enjoy enough to watch again in the background while I work, like Firefly, The Walking Dead, Fringe, Dexter, SG:U, Jessica Jones, Hannibal, Darker than Black, Black Butler, Sekai-Ichi Hatsukoi, Tokyo Ghoul, Shingeki no Kyojin. And I guess films like The Charge of the Light Brigade, Halo: Forward Unto Dawn, and Spirited Away. But…there’s nothing really that makes my list that I can’t live without, nothing I reference as a passionate favorite even if I appreciate the nuance and art forms of the medium. TV and films are fun and engaging when I’m in the mood for them, but it’s not something I center around any specific show or film. For me watching things is more a community activity, if that makes sense. I watch for the enjoyment of sharing the experience with other people watching these things, this mutual act of experiencing a story. Sometimes it doesn’t matter what that story is, or whether people loved or hated it. It’s a unique cultural phenomenon, a shared experience that’s evolved to become part of our daily dialogue.
5. Favourite hobby besides writing, if you consider writing a hobby
Promise you won’t laugh? Crocheting. Now, look. I suck at it. I tried to start a scarf and ended up with a weird stiff curled yarn brick. The best I can manage is a double chain; patterns and diagrams look like Greek to me. I don’t do it to make anything fancy. I will make a mile-long single chain if I need to, because it’s just…relaxing. I put the computer down, put the phone down, and suddenly my hands are busy with something that keeps me away from both, and all the problems waiting inside the window into my digital world; my subconscious mind is occupied not by the million things preying on me every day, but by the simple focus on keeping the pattern going with looping, hooking, pulling the yarn. I may never make anything more complex than a crappy square coaster so lumpy it’ll tip your drink over. I don’t need to. I still enjoy it.
Five Favorite Books
This is another one I have trouble answering; just like music, I have such deep love for the medium in all its forms that it’s hard for me to pick a limited selection of favorites. I read across genres, forms, and age groups, and fall in love with so much from so many unique writers. But…I’ll try to pick out a smattering. I’ve done top five lists like this in other interviews and ended up listing wholly different books, but…I kind of like that, actually, because it means recommending a broader list of authors.
1. SCARS by Cheryl Rainfield: This YA novel tackles a really sensitive topic, self-harm in teens, and does it in an unflinching and yet sympathetic way. It’s beautifully written, sucking you in with gorgeously emotional words. It’s not an easy read, but it’s a necessary one. And it introduced me to Cheryl Rainfield in general; she’s a wonderful author, someone who writes on things that might frighten other people. Dedicated to her craft, skillful with words…and she’s an amazing person, too, constantly seeking to help and support other people. I’d really recommend checking out HUNTED and STAINED, too.
2. IDORU by William Gibson: My computer science teacher gave this book to me in high school, and I kind of maybe forgot to give it back. It was the first book I’d read in English that made me feel so at home with its portrayal of a futuristic Japan and Japanese culture as part of a connected global culture, at once alien and familiar. It’s brilliant sci-fi with a touch of prophetic realism and a dash of cyberpunk and a strange feel of mysticism, and it also taught me that it’s not wrong to tell an adult story mostly from the POV of a teen. (I was young, this was the nineties—I was still gaining exposure to books and what had been successfully done before.) I think in a lot of ways it shaped how I write sci-fi, especially the stories I’m working on set in Asian cultures. And it was the first time I’d ever heard of Kowloon Walled City, beginning an obsession that’s continued throughout my life.
3. SO YOU WANT TO BE A WIZARD by Diane Duane: Oh god, this book. The whole series of books, the Young Wizards series, just…thrilled me when I was a boy. I love Diane Duane’s writing; it’s lyrical, enchanting, smart. She made science out of magic and made magic into a science, and gave me brainy, wonderful characters from mixed cultures and backgrounds. These are the books I recommend to people who naysay MG and YA and say they’re not smart enough. They’re a gateway drug, intriguing and well-plotted, and can entrance people into setting aside their preconceptions and discovering the wonderful stories waiting on the 18 and below shelves. Nita and Kit are the best protagonists, and their friendship is this wonderfully complex thing that sees them through so many issues and world-shaking adventures. And I’ll confess: I’d peek on the shelves, looking for my own copy of the wizard’s manual, hoping maybe one day I’d crack open the book and find not a story, but an instruction manual for the magic I felt every time I stepped into Duane’s world. She also writes adult fiction; she’s contributed several Star Trek novels, and she started the Omnitopia series with OMNITOPIA DAWN. I had some issues with OMNITOPIA DAWN, but it was still a great read.
4. UNDER THE DOME by Stephen King: I hate this book. I love this book. I hate it again. I can’t stop reading it. The ending makes me want to burn every Stephen King book I own. I have it in hardcover, paperback, and audiobook. It’s the same for me with almost every Stephen King book, honestly, even if I’m not a fan of his work in recent years. Under the Dome is the last book of his that’s given me what I call the King Feeling: I completely and utterly loathe his characters and characterization, and I really want to know what happens to them and how this story turns out. I think what was unique to me with this one was that I didn’t hate his protagonist, Dale Barbara (Barbie for short). He normally writes the ugliness of the everyman, bringing out the nastier side of people with a sort of vicious glee, but Dale Barbara was the kind of quiet, unassuming, common-sense guy that I can really get behind. He kind of felt like me when I usually read a King story: shaking his head at what all these reprehensible, selfish, bizarre people around him are doing. And I know that doesn’t tell you much about the book, but it’s hard to explain. It’s a long, long book told in bits and puzzle pieces, a skein that slowly winds one thread after another together into a noose that’s part choking horror, part strangling sci-fi, but all about just how broken human nature can be. If you’ve seen the TV mini-series…it’s not that. Not even close. I know you’ve heard this a million times, but the book was better.
5. MAIA by Richard Adams: Yes, that Richard Adams—the author of WATERSHIP DOWN and THE PLAGUE DOGS. This is an old book, and it shows. It’s not for the impatient. It’s not a quick read, with the paperback edition breaking 1,000 pages. It’s not what you would call a romance, this story of a simple peasant girl kidnapped into the life of a concubine in a fictional empire that reflects a dozen ancient cultures…but there’s still a deeply romanticized storyline as we watch this unassuming girl used as a political tool by the colder and cannier people around her, and yet still she never stops hoping to find something good, to make a life for herself outside of these political machinations. And in the end there is a lovely romantic storyline, woven in among sin and intrigue, decadence and murder, war and the history of a strange and shattering nation. It’s the kind of slow-paced storytelling I love, immersive in a deep world of historical fiction with a tiny touch of fantasy magic. I own every edition: every cover, in hardback and paperback; even the library dust jacket versions. It was recently released in e-book, and I bought that too. I don’t think many people would share my love of it, but that’s okay. Sometimes I don’t like it either, which is why sometimes it makes my top five lists and sometimes it doesn’t. I have to be in the mood for it…but when I am, it’s wondrous.
Author Bio and Links
By day, Cole McCade is a mild-mannered, grouchy, cynical, misanthropic corporate consultant. By night he becomes Nightwing. Well, maybe not. By night he does, however, become an author. Romance, erotica, sci-fi; diverse settings and diverse characters from a diverse author.
Mid-thirties. Coffee addict. Cat lover. Bibliophile. Technophile. Definite sapiophile. Native Southerner without the Southern accent. Runner. Multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-lingual mess. Bisexual/queer. Intersectional feminist. Outspoken introvert. Country boy turned city suit. Collector of weird, obscure, or out-of-print books. Aficionado of late-night conversations over live music in seedy bars. Browncoat who can’t decide if he has a bigger crush on Kaylee or Zoe, or Simon or Cap’n Tightpants.
Fascinated by human sociology, and particularly by the psychology of sex and gender – and their effect on relationship expectations, the culture of dating, and what it means to fall in love.
Cole McCade latest release is The Fallen, a prequel to The Lost, and it's available for FREE! I just reviewed both books (actually, it's a few paragraphs on The Fallen but I loved that book so much. It's a powerfully written dark story, not really a romance but a story of coming back to life, learning to love/value/just be yourself again).
Gabriel Hart is a broken man.
And everyone close to him dies.
His military unit. His sister. His parents. Everyone he's come to care for has been taken from him, leaving him with nothing but a crippling war injury, a Vicodin addiction, and a scraggly, chewed-up rag of a cat. It's enough to make anyone want to check out. And when he holds his service pistol in his hand and presses it against his temple, for the first time in a long time the world feels right.
But he's not as alone as he thinks. And when grizzled bar owner Gary challenges him to honor his sister's memory by repairing her houseboat before he gives up on life, he discovers she left more for him than her belongings. And her letters lead him on a trail through discovering himself, discovering what he truly wants...and discovering that he has the strength to choose his own path.