Many students at ETSU are familiar with Dr. Michael Cody for not only his teaching but also his incredible musical talent. Soon students will also be able to read his debut novel “Gabriel’s Songbook” which will be available for purchase on Amazon and through Pisgah Press on December 1.
Cody, who is the Assistant Chair for Graduate Studies in the Department of Literature and Language, often performs locally and with other ETSU faculty. Pulling from his own experience as a young musician in Nashville, Cody’s novel tells the story of a singer-songwriter seeking to find his way in the fictional setting of Runion, North Carolina and Nashville’s Music Row.
According to Cody, the novel is not entirely auto-biographical but draws heavily on his own experience in the music industry.
“The skeleton of the novel is based on what I experienced; although as I look at the finished version, I can see that it’s very fictionalized, but the foundational knowledge about Nashville and the music business comes from my experience as a performer there in the 80s,” Cody said.
Gabriel, the protagonist of the novel, finds himself at a crossroads between his desire for success and his love of music, and much like Cody himself, shies away from the traditional Nashville brand of churning out country music hits.
“I suppose the reason I’m here doing what I’m doing is because i didn’t like country music and I didn’t write it, and Gabriel is the same way,” Cody said. “I was never forced to write ‘Nashville songs,’ although I did write a few.”
The title of the novel draws from Cody’s experiences as well.
“The title is about how I always carried around a notebook with song ideas, song excerpts and just life observations,” Cody said. “My songs have always been narratively driven and so shifting from that to fiction was a natural progression for me.”
In the future Cody hopes to write another novel and is hovering between a few ideas for future projects.
“I have about three novel ideas that I’m trying to choose between, and I’m also toying with the idea of writing another novel about Gabriel as a sort of sequel to ‘Gabriel’s Songbook,'” Cody said.
In the meantime Cody is working hard on a collection of short stories which he hopes to publish within the next two years. Some of these short stories are published individually and are available to read on his website at http://faculty.etsu.edu/codym/Creative_writing.htm.