A theme of acceptance in Broken Heart Attack
James believes that, as human beings, no one can or should judge another human being for the choices they make, the things they do, or who they are. He added that the premise comes based on one big assumption. “People should always do the right thing, the positive thing, or the decent thing. Assuming someone’s not hurting someone else by their choice and action, it shouldn’t ever matter to another person what you are doing. When I write for or develop certain characters, this philosophy is built in without me even knowing it. The main character, Kellan, thinks the same way I do… it’s important to let people be who they are because no one has a right to tell someone else not to be who they are in those cases.
“Kellan will love and support everyone no matter their race, ethnicity, sexuality, socio-economic class or religion. While I didn’t intend for this to happen, Kellan’s voice is how I wish others would react to those around them who might be different. I suppose my hope is that when you build a character who is decent and good on all levels, others will follow suit in acting like him or her. If Kellan thinks all religions are okay, or he’s close with someone who identifies as gay, then maybe readers who were on the fence about it might be a little more like Kellan one day. If you’ve read the first two books in this series, you’re aware of a major character whose life choices might not be something everyone supports, but I hope by showing them in a genuine way, it will become easier to accept. I intend to do this within each book by focusing on some personal identification that is often mistreated or been prejudiced against.”
Twisting the cozy mystery genre slightly
James says he is a fanatic cozy mystery reader. The central characters in his first two novels were based on women struggling with family and personal issues. While he loved writing these books, he wanted to take the cozy sub-genre and turn it askew just enough that it still resembles the traditional style, but brought a few new elements.
“Kellan Ayrwick is a straight, single male raising his young daughter, but he’s surrounded by formidable and powerful women,” James said. “He is independent and headstrong, but he knows when to go to those who can help him – his mother, his nana, his sister, and his friends.
“I wish I had earned a PhD and become a college professor. I don’t have the patience or time to go back to school right now, so I live vicariously through Kellan, who is a college professor on a quaint campus in Pennsylvania (based on where I went to college). I’ve built the perfect stomping grounds for someone to have almost anything happen in a fun way… and Braxton is a school we would all love to attend one day. It has two campuses separated by a one-mile stretch of downtown with all the charming Main Street storefronts, a cable car that runs students and citizens back and forth, and a picturesque landscape. It’s part of Wharton County with 3 other wonderful towns secluded by a large mountain range, a national forest, and a beautiful lake. It has all four seasons so we can experience the snow in the winter, the spring flowers, the summer lake visits, and the fall trees turning different colors. It’s a magical place and I can’t wait to share it with everyone.”
James said he intends to keep writing this series for as long as fans love it. “I have ideas for nearly 10 books, but each will grow and change as I hear reader feedback. I incorporate odes to my friends and family in the books. I name characters after people I know. The major surnames are always tied to major surnames in my own family – I’m an avid genealogist with close to 3k ancestors discovered. People will get to know me as an author by reading about Kellan’s (main character) life. With so many books out there, I think it’s better when an author can share parts of who they are with their readers by building a world they can visit together and feel is almost as real as reality.”
And on a personal note
James finds that authors and invested readers sometimes blur the line between fiction and reality. “I was having dinner with someone a few months ago where we were talking about a situation that made me think of something in one of these books. Before I knew it, I was talking about the character as though she were real. My friend stopped me at one point asking, ‘Who is Francesca? Have I met her?’ I stopped eating and had to explain I’d suddenly crossed that line of fiction and reality. I was telling my friend about someone else thinking Francesca was a real person. We weren’t talking about the book, nor about writing. I honestly don’t know if I am starting to go a little batty or I was just so excited about the conversation that I inadvertently assumed my friend had met Francesca. It was while the book hadn’t been published, so there was no chance of her having read it either. Maybe I should get out a bit more?”
Currently, James and a friend from his college days are in the process testing out what he calls explosion theories. “I had to promise it was for a book and that I wasn’t trying to blow something up. I’m only half-certain she believes me, but she has suggested an idea that might work in the book. We still need to flesh it out a bit more. But if you ever hear of me being arrested for exploding something, please point out this interview so the police know it was an accident.”
James is also very interested in hurricanes and says there will be a major hurricane scene in one of his 2019 books. He said, “The hurricane actually took place in 1900. I won’t share which hurricane it was, but I’m sure it’s easy to look up… I’m considering a trip to this town just so I can get a feel for what it looks like such that I can incorporate the details I need into the story. I’d like to be in the middle of a hurricane so I can write about how to survive it, but I’m not looking for one to happen, nor am I actively searching it out!”
Learn more about James J. Cudney at jamesjcudney.com.a Rafflecopter giveaway