Author Cody Lakin describes “Other Endings” as “a story with ghosts, in both a metaphorically and literal sense... an emotional-based ghost story with emotional healing for a character who is scared of pain and trauma.”
Cody Lakin recently turned 21, but he’s already a veteran writer who has a stack of rejection notices from publishers.
So when he read the first line of an email a few months ago from Black Rose Publishing that said they really liked his novel titled “Other Endings,” Cody said he started shaking. “Dad, look at this!” he called out.
Not long after that, Cody had a contract with Black Rose to publish his book and a Nov. 22 publishing date.
He said he’s looking forward to the day when he can do with his own published book what he has often done with the books he loved by other authors: “Carry it around and smell the pages.”
Cody describes “Other Endings” as “a story with ghosts, in both a metaphorically and literal sense... an emotional-based ghost story with emotional healing for a character who is scared of pain and trauma.”
He said the main character in the book, Lester Halley, is a character he has tried to write about before, and “there’s a lot of me in him, but he’s very much his own person.”
In “Other Endings,” according to a synopsis, Lester “has existed in a haze of isolation and depression. Haunted by a violent and sorrowful past, and finally having reached the precipice of his ability to cope with living, he leaves the States and finds himself in an historic English small town called Margaret’s Mourning, a place as isolated and lonely as he is. Margaret’s Mourning, however, is far more than merely a strange place that Lester has stumbled upon by accident. As he soon learns, it is a place full of ghosts, both literal and metaphorical, and the more he learns about it – as he makes new, meaningful friendships; as he comes to feel that he belongs there – the more he begins to understand that the things he sees and feels along its cobblestone streets are somehow tied to his own past, and with a love he lost long ago.”
Prior to Nov. 22, “Other Endings” is available for pre-order at www.blackrosewriting.com/horror/otherendings. Those who use the promo code PREORDER2016 get a 10% discount. After Nov. 22, the book will become available on Barnes and Noble and Amazon within two weeks.
Telling stories before he could talk
Cody’s mother, Eileen, remembers how he would tell stories with action figures before he even started talking.
He said he started working on his first novel the summer after fifth grade and has written 12 novels so far, four or five of which he considers to be good enough for publishing.
“It’s funny to look back at some of them,” he said, referring to the first one as “a rip-off of every fantasy I ever read,” written in big letters in a notebook with his own drawings.
Cody, who has done some reporting and writes movie reviews for Mount Shasta Area Newspapers, said his family had frequent “movie nights” when he was growing up, and he was fascinated by young adult fantasy books.
He said he was encouraged as a writer by his sixth grade teacher at Sisson School, Judy White. “I had fun with her writing assignments and she enjoyed what I wrote,” he said.
He called it “a big wake-up” when he read his first Stephen King novel during his freshman year at Mount Shasta High School, and his writing evolved.
A 2013 MSHS graduate, Cody said he took four years of creative writing in high school, even though it was the same class each year. His skills were way beyond such assignments as: turn in five pages by the end of the semester.
His standing assignment, which he gladly accepted, was: “just turn in writing.”
While King became his “biggest influence as a writer,” Cody said he has also been influenced by author Raymond Carver and filmmakers that he regards as great artists, including Terrence Malick, Bela Tarr, and Andrei Tarkovsky.
Before his recent move to Ashland, Cody was employed at Couch Critics in Mount Shasta. He said that experience broadened his film watching horizons thanks to recommendations he got from James Cannon and Elijah Sullivan.
At an early age, Cody thought he wanted to be a filmmaker, and he sees film as being “as powerful as literature.”
Cody said he creates a first draft of a novel about once a year. “I start with a character in a situation and an idea I want to convey,” he said. “I have a vague notion of where it’s going, and I write a blurb, like you’d see on the back of a book.”
He said he has no set schedule, but tends to write a lot at night or early morning. His dad, Kevin, has always been the first person to read his stories and give him feedback.
His mom said she and Kevin tried to encourage him when he’d get those rejection notices from publishing companies, telling him “it’s going to come; there’s always something around the corner. He’s always fought for his passion, and I love it. It’s neat to see your child grow into something they really love.”
Cody said writing full time would be his ideal job, but for now he’s excited about living in Ashland, and his plan is to finish his AA degree at Rogue Community College. But that won’t happen before the release of his first published novel.