Matthew Cody should be a familiar name to those who read or recommend middle grade fiction. He wrote the popular series “The Supers of Noble’s Green” including “Powerless,” “Super,” and “Villainous.” He also wrote “Will in Scarlet,” about a companion of Robin Hood.
His books appeal to kids because they feature ordinary kids who come to do extraordinary things. One thing is for sure: Matthew Cody is no ordinary writer. He’s quite extraordinary.
He was kind enough to answer some questions.
While the Powerless series begins at middle grade, by the end of the third book the series seems to have “grown up.” In other words, the issues and behaviors of the students at the school are pretty YA. Are you planning on writing a YA story?
Cody: You’re absolutely right that the series did grow along with the characters, but I tried to keep the spirit more middle grade than YA. That said, I do have at least one story that I’ve been thinking about that is for an older audience. I’m not sure yet if it’s YA or even adult (gasp!) but I plan on getting to it in the next year or two.
What are you working on now?
Cody: I’m launching a new middle grade fantasy series called THE SECRETS OF THE PIED PIPER. The first book, THE PEDDLER’S ROAD will be out in 2015, so I’m looking forward to seeing what readers think of that.
If you could have a super-ability, what would it be and why?
Cody: Easy. I would fly. When I was a kid I used to daydream in the mornings that I could step out of my window and fly over my neighborhood, waving at all the kids who were waiting for the bus and shouting “See ya suckers!”
What do you want readers to think about super-abilities? And did you just write this to be a great, fun action book or is there something more you want readers to get out of the series? (Some writers comment that while reviewers say the chair is green to represent jealousy, they made the chair green simply because they like green chairs!) So while the series is a great read that I believe even reluctant readers will enjoy, there is also a message about doing the right thing even in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. Was there any of that in your mind when you wrote it?
Cody: Well, I think that anything a reader gets out of a book is perfectly valid. Once I’m finished writing a book, my active involvement with it is complete and the reader takes over. In a sense, my intentions no longer matter because now it’s an experience involving the words and the reader’s interpretation, and every reader’s experience will be different. So if a reader sees the green chair as jealousy then that’s what it means to her. Who am I to tell her she’s wrong? Authors aren’t looking over your shoulder to tell you how to read their books. Thankfully.
That said, there are themes that were important to me in the writing of the series, such as the feelings of powerlessness that we all feel at different times in our lives – the death of a loved one, growing up and growing older, feeling inadequate among your friends, etc. And the only thing (I believe) that you can do in those moments is keep on trying and to make the best choices you can. I hope that readers, especially young readers, can empathize with that.
Or they can just show up for the flying kids. That’s okay with me too!
Cody not only writes fabulous books that middle grade readers (from 3rd grade through 6th grade) will love, he puts his heart into the stories and the characters. The stories are inspiring, yet they are all filled with humor and real characters.