I am pleased to present the She-Rain Dossier, a repository of information about author Michael Cogdill and his novel, She-Rain. Here you will find reviews, a synopsis about the novel, and information about and by Michael Cogdill.
I recently interviewed Michael for the Child Finder Trilogy’s blog, and I invite you to visit this particular post to read more about this fascinating author and his story:
From Actor/Writer/Director, Peter MacNicol http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001493/:
“I’m reading your beautiful novel, and if I may add to what you’ve undoubtedly heard, such gorgeous prose, such beautiful writing, such singing speech! So Southern in its music and perfect word choice. You write like no other living Southerner, certainly none that I know. Only among the dead can I find your forbearers — somewhere between “A” for James Agee and “W” for Thomas Wolfe. It is so exquisitely sounded out on the page that oddly I find myself muttering certain passages out loud to myself — common enough occurrence when I read poetry, but rarely prose. Bravo!!”
From Dr. Cheryl McClary, author of The Commitment Chronicles:
“Once in a great while something unflinchingly beautiful touches our lives and we are forever changed. Such is the gift of She-Rain, Michael Cogdill’s first novel. He weaves a masterpiece of woundedness, love, death, and redemption that breaks your heart as it mends your soul. Just as the mountains embrace the cool breath of the she-rain, the novel cradles you until the final word. A soon-to-be bestseller!” Cheryl McClary Ph.D., J.D., Professor, attorney, and author of The Commitment Chronicles: The Power of Staying Together. (National Library Book winner, 2007)
From John Jeter, author of The Plunder Room:
“Michael Cogdill has managed to do what few journalists have done before: Move with stylistic grace from the formulaic demands of television to poetic prose that shimmers through his debut novel. Some of us have taken more than a decade to break the enslaving bonds of journalism’s tried-and-true habits so that we might be able to write serviceable fiction. But many don’t get close to the mellifluous beauty the author here seems to pour out as effortlessly as crystal-clear moonshine. At the same time, Mr. Cogdill has retained his reporter’s keen eye and his sharp ear … that of an orchestra’s maestro (or, more accurately, the sub-decibel hearing of a blue-tick hound dog). On a vast and multilayered canvas, Mr. Cogdill takes us into the brutal lives of harrowingly real characters — some we’ve seen in other places in other circumstances, wrought by other hands — yet he carves them deeply into our souls so that we bleed with each of them in every aching step toward their redemption.”
From Ruta Fox, Writer, Editor, Entrepreneur (Creator of the AH Ring, made famous by Oprah):
“Michael Cogdill is the heir to Pat Conroy. His feel for the nuances, ear for the language, and ability to vividly describe the beauty of rural North Carolina are astounding. His storytelling ability, his infectious characters, and his authentic Southern soul permeate this marvelous, monumental, and moving book.”
A child living as prey to an opium-addicted father, drowning in a gene-pool of lowest expectations, feels shackled for life to the tobacco farms and cotton mill poverty of 1920’s western North Carolina. Some of the only beauty he knows rises in the eyes of a girl, surviving times harder than his own. Emerging from their adolescent love, the narrative rises far out beyond that opening milieu of violence, ignorance, and language-literal religious fundamentalism. It branches toward likely the least expected figure ever in a Southern novel. Her mystery begging the question — what might have been, had an African-American infant born of scandal been placed on the arms of one of the grandest American fortunes of the early 20th Century? Raised utterly cloistered in the clefts of Appalachia, steeped in her adoptive mother’s Vassar education, classical piano, the refinements most mountain people considered as distant and alien as the stars. When that son of an opium addict happens upon her — each in uniquely desperate times — they set off the beginnings of seismic change to the worlds they’ve known. Driven by what Faulkner might call human hearts conflicted deep within themselves — the feel of it terrifying and beautiful at once. What overflows them distills to ways of life that melt the hard rocks of racism, classism, the self destruction of living down to the worst human expectations. By its contemporary end, the telling of this story has moved readers of both genders to tears of our best human possibility. I’m deeply humbled by this, and by how the story entertains with humor, the grit of real adventure, and forms of love least expected.
Writer’s Statement, She-Rain:
This book evolved into that rare piece that bridges the hearts of men and women. Diverse readers report that it changes them for the greater, they never want it to end, even comparing it to the work of Scott Fitzgerald. But it’s unique in its bi-racial content — reaching out far beyond the bounds of race so common in the book market. The novel ultimately begs the question what might have happened had an African-American infant of scandal been placed on the arms of a great American fortune in the early 20th Century, raised cloistered in Appalachia in a home lush with books, classical piano and the love of a Vassar-educated mother. What follows when she’s set loose on the world around 1929, in confluence with a white teenage boy from the wells of mountain poverty? That thread twines with the isolation of North Carolina textile mills and affairs of love running from the clefts of Tarheel mountain living through one of the soaring mansions of Newport, Rhode Island.
The manuscript already finds readers pounding tables for the film, calling it an instant classic, a WOW, a joy on each page. While writing it, I carried on my career as a seasoned television performer and producer, public speaker, and writer with 24 Emmys and the National Edward R. Murrow Award. Beyond the art of the piece, I am an entrepreneur who believes in ownership of the intellectual property. Thus, my commitment to place under the book’s launch a major publicity blast, including on-line book signings via Skype and a dedicated web presence to generate intimacy with readers around the world. I am determined to grant the book a success that somehow measures up to the gift of so many who have delved into the manuscript and emerged gracing it with praise.
Michael Cogdill is blessed as one of the most honored television storytellers in America. His cache of awards includes 24 Emmys 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 newsmakers around the country. His coverage credits include Presidents and Vice Presidents of the United States and major figures in entertainment.
Michael is a sought-after inspirational speaker, whose messages deeply move the most diverse audiences. Much of his speaking draws from the extraordinary heroism of seemingly ordinary people Michael has covered in more than twenty years in television. He inspires with fun, and the pathos of deeply personal storytelling, leaving audiences with astounding power to change destructive ways of fear, despair, and even the meanness that makes news. They leave with an utterly new lens on life and the events within it. A world-changing view of themselves, empowered to build human institutions and human lives into soaring stories of success. Michael carries the wisdom shared with him during some of the worst of times to help people rise to their personal greatness. Thanks to the great souls he’s been blessed to know and cover, Michael’s speaking helps people change their times with new and magnetic leadership.
Michael is a writer working across genres that include children’s literature, the Southern novel, and self-improvement non-fiction. His latest completed work, a novel entitled She-Rain, will launch in 2010, with a global publicity blast. Michael is currently at work on two self-improvement pieces of non-fiction: God’s Contact Lens (which has the attention of writer Philip Yancey) and Raise The Haze (an e-book in partnership with peak-performance coach and coming Bob Proctor Youth Movement speaker, Chris Dines, in London).
Michael was born in Asheville, North Carolina, June 11, 1961 — the son of a truck driver and a mill worker. He is extremely proud of his working-people roots, drawing on their deep wisdom and life lessons in his reporting, writing and public speaking. Michael is a cum laude graduate of the University of North Carolina at Asheville with a degree in communications, emphasis on the liberal arts. He married Jill Kremer Cogdill in 1985, and together they’ve founded a company, Cracker the Crab LLC, publishing children’s literature and offering a product line with emphasis on raising self-esteem in the young. Michael currently anchors the 6:00 and 11:00 news weeknights on WYFF News 4, NBC in the western Carolinas and Georgia.