21 Apr My Interview with Stacey Cochran, Author of EDDIE & SUNNY
Joseph Souza Thanks for stopping by today, Stacey. I hope all is well with you..
Joseph Souza Let me start off by saying congratulations on your book. It was the first one in the program I read and I absolutely loved it. Before we discuss it, I want to ask you about KS. A few months have passed since Eddie & Sunny has been published. What are your thoughts?
Stacey Cochran My thoughts are that I hope this program takes off and continues to do well. The first few novels have all done pretty darn good, but the real test will be over the next 12-24 months. There’s probably a newness factor that contributed to our first few titles doing well. I hope this success continues with the newly acquired books and that we offer them all the support they need to feel they’re not alone..
Joseph Souza Okay, let’s dig into the book. What’s Eddie & Sunny about?
Stacey Cochran Well, it’s a noir romance. A sort’a Bonnie and Clyde story with a couple of small children thrown into the mix. The story examines poverty in America, hope, love, and the American Dream.
Joseph Souza I really loved the spare prose that you used. It was both beautiful and haunting, and really got at the essence of these characters. Do you consider that your writing style?
Stacey Cochran Definitely. Good question. My prose style has changed so much over the last twenty years. In the past five years or so, I’ve been moving more and more toward less and less. Like why use “Chapter One” in a novel is an example? Chapter headings are helpful for non-fiction and textbooks because those types of books have separate categories and are often part of a class assignment, you know. “Read Chapter One pages 1-27,” etc. But in a novel, their purpose is less clear, and so I’ve gone to cutting them out because a writer really wants a reader immersed in a story for 3-5 hours, and Chapter headings take them out of the story and point out, Hey, this is a story.
Joseph Souza So do you think future books will be similar in prose style? That it will become the signature Cochran writing style years down the road when students are studying your novels?
Stacey Cochran I doubt very seriously anyone will ever be studying my novels. I appreciate the sentiment though. Very kind of you. I’m not sure where my style will go. Maybe I’ll blossom into a more florid and expositional style in a decade. I do love to experiment with form, that has been central to me since I was a wee college student hammering out my first few “serious” writing attempts.
Joseph Souza You mentioned that your book got optioned for movie rights. That’s wonderful! However, I was watching Birman last night with my son while looking over your book and I could definitely see Eddie & Sunny as a play, with its clipped dialogue and philosophical waxing. How about Broadway?
Stacey Cochran Well, that was an April Fool’s joke. It was amazing how many “likes” and comments that one received. Enough that I had people sending me DMs with questions regarding how they could get involved in the project, and so I eventually took the post down. As most writers believe in their own work, I so too believe Eddie & Sunny would make a great movie. Certainly an indie film. I started my storytelling career in a movie theater when I was sixteen and worked as a projectionist, and have pretty much been pursuing the craft of “story” ever since with an eye toward a novel (or short story) making it to screen.
Joseph Souza I feel like I have to ask, Stacey, but did you intend any political undercurrent in the writing of this book with regard to poverty and the impoverished in American society?
Joseph Souza I’m getting ahead of myself here. LOL! So many questions so little time.
Stacey Cochran That’s a great question.
Stacey Cochran Inasmuch as poverty, the criminal justice system, and media treatment all seem intertwined, yes, I’d say Eddie & Sunny has a political message. But it’s more of a humanistic message of compassion above all else, and not rushing to judgment of people.
Stacey Cochran We like our black and white, heroes and villains, but life is much more complicated than that.
Joseph Souza I agree. Personally, I didn’t take away any political message, which is a compliment to your writing. For me it was about the strength of the family, even dysfunctional families. I mean, the degrees they go to stay together is amazing. The love, flawed as it may be, is real and humane. ”There’s something’ primitive ’bout the blood that ties family.” Love that quote by Eddie regarding family by the way. Thoughts?
Stacey Cochran I basically borrowed the Cold Mountain story structure. Set up two people who love one another, separate them, and make them think the other may be dead.
Stacey Cochran I just threw a couple kids into the mix to complicate the love story.
Stacey Cochran But everything is political. Even making it a “family story” is a political message. It says, Family is important, right? It’s hard to get away from ideologies.
Joseph Souza Yes, I suppose in a roundabout sort of way. But I would assume that family is the basic structure from the beginning of time. Political by default because its opposite is not tenable in my eyes for society. Okay, a few Scouters had some questions. Jim Jackson, wants me to ask if you’ve ever been homeless, or knew some homeless folks because the writing seems so real.
Stacey Cochran That is a great question. I have never been quite homeless, although, I’ve been awful close a few times. Okay, maybe a few times I was literally without a roof over my head, but I would find some place to stay, etc. The story idea came mainly from my fears of becoming mentally ill and/or destitute and most specifically working on a documentary film a few years ago interviewing women and children who lived in area homeless shelters.
Joseph Souza Wow, that’s an interesting answer. That must have give you quite a different perspective.
Joseph Souza I was left wondering about how Eddie got into his pickle. He was a fugitive. What’s his back story in your mind?
Joseph Souza Now you have two questions! Thanks Fiona!
Stacey Cochran Fiona Quinn Writes, I kept asking myself, Why would this woman stay with this man? What motivates her to do so, right? It was only by the end of the novel that I understood what had happened in her childhood that would lead her to see Eddie as a soulmate.
Stacey Cochran Well, there is the suggestion dropped a few times that he’s already on the run from the law at the beginning of the novel. That he may have beat a man near to death..
Stacey Cochran He definitely has anger issues, which are wonderfully subdued throughout most of the novel, because he’s trying to hold his family together.
Stacey Cochran He’s shown in the novel as this guy who will fight breaking the law, doing the wrong thing, losing his temper, not loving and taking care of his family – he resists all of that… although he’s constantly confronted with thing after thing that challenges him to do so..
The essence of story is sending a man up a tree, and then pelting him with rocks. And not stop pelting him until he breaks and dies (tragedy) or determines some way to overcome (hero story.
What’s really screwed up is that I believe authentic storytelling comes from real life experience, and so to make the story most believable and poignant, you have to have lived some of that in order to draw from it. Makes for a hard life on my wife and kids and everyone else around me.
Joseph Souza Okay, the cycle of poverty repeats in families and causes societal ills such as prison, alcoholism, drug use. Do you believe Cody Jackson will relive his parents horror? I’m certainly rooting for him
Stacey Cochran I like to picture Jackson Cody as a young adult working with his sister somewhere in the Caribbean on a snorkel boat tour company they’ve put in together on.
Stacey Cochran Alan, I doubt it. Unless something miraculous happens, the story gets made into a movie, wins awards, etc., and like twenty years later I pull a Doctor Sleep out’a my hat. That’s the only way I could see doing it, I think. Although I am open to the universe. My concern is that if I wrote it now, it’d turn this character-driven story into much more a commercial plot-driven story..
Fiona Quinn Writes It would make a great movie – just because I’ve ever seen anything quite like it before.
Stacey Cochran Great question, Lisa. My latest novel starts with the premise of a man who wakes up floating at sea, wearing an emergency life vest as from an airline crash. He has no memory related to his identity or how he came to be floating in the middle of the ocean. Eventually, he comes to realize that the whole thing is being filmed with hidden cameras. And once he makes his way to an island, he discovers others who have arrived at the island over the course of several years, and they’ve all arrived the same way mentally.
Joseph Souza Wow, that sounds crazy good. So different from this novel. Any theme to this?
Stacey Cochran A few…
Stacey Cochran Why are we here? What is the purpose of life? Can compassion operate in an uncivilized society? And are two people who once were soulmates but have had their memories erased capable of falling in love? Or does our memory form who we are, our values, and *that* shapes who we love? Is there something inherent in all of us that shapes us and binds us to one another?
Joseph Souza Fascinating! I for one look forward to reading that novel. Well, the hour has flown by. Any final thoughts, Stacey, before we wrap up?
Stacey Cochran Final thought. Writing is about optimism. It is a statement that says I believe that what I have to say is good and worthy. Never give up believing in what you have to say as good and worthy, people.
Joseph Souza It’s been interesting talking to you today and discussing your novel, Stacey. I hope after this interview people will run out and pick up a copy of Eddie & Sunny. Thank you so much for speaking to us and telling us about it and your writing process. best of luck with Eddie & Sunny and future projects!!
Joseph Souza Peace out everyone until next interview! Hope everyone has a great day and sells a lot of books!