As an author, I sometimes write about college life for Christians. That time and place can be a rough one for many believers. However, the years before college have their own special challenges. In fact, I often tell my high-school-age daughter that if anyone ever wanted to torture me, they should just put me back in my middle and high school years! That’s just the truth. As a counselor, I’ve met a lot of young people who negotiated these years pretty well. Yes, it was still hard for them, but when encouraged to live by their faith, they discovered the ultimate wisdom of their Creator.
Today, I want to introduce you to the character in Tammy L. Gray’s latest novel, Sell Out. He is like many of us, struggling through high school with a few added challenges along the way. But God is watching, and through a few choice friends, guiding. Once introduced, I’m sure you’ll want to get to know him better and read his story. Lucky for you, you can.
To get started, tell us a little about yourself.
Cody James. I’m a senior at Madison High. Captain of the wrestling team. Member of the elite social hierarchy. State champion.
Impressive … I think.
Tell us three things about yourself that would surprise our readers.
I’m living a lie
I hate my best friend.
Hmmm. Sounds like an interesting life.
What is your favorite thing to do?
DJ at the radio station and listen to classic rock. I also love making Skylar laugh; it changes the whole outlook of my day.
Oh, a kindred. Though I don’t DJ, music is my passion … other than reading, of course. And Skylar sounds wonderful.
When did things change dramatically in your life?
It’s not something I talk about, but I was bullied the early part of high school. It reached its peak my sophomore year when six guys jumped me in the locker room, stripped me down, beat me and took pictures. Those pictures were posted on an internal school website called, The Torment’s List.
Oh, that’s awful!!!
Did you have people to help you then?
My trainer, Matt Holloway. He saved my life. He changed my body, my mind and my purpose. He pushed me to be a man of character when all hope had slipped away.
Skylar Wyld, because she showed me what courage looked like. She challenged me to face my demons and find victory over them.
Good people are a blessing. I’m so glad you had them to be there for you.
Is there anyone you despise?
Blake Mason—Madison High’s self-elected King. He wants my girl and my position as Captain. I won’t let him get either.
Tell us about the current journey you are on.
I’m stuck. I don’t want to be a leader, but I am. I just want to win State, impress college scouts and stay out of trouble. High school is my prison. And yet, one party changed my entire trajectory, and somehow, I become the hero in this story.
Interesting. I’m curious to see how that happens.
What has life taught you?
That you have to fight for truth. That hiding behind fear is no way to survive. That allowing others to comfort you is not weakness, but strength. I’ve learned I’m not alone, but surrounded by people who love me for who I am, not what I represent.
Has your work won any acclaim or esteem from others?
Well, yeah. I went from tortured outcast to wrestling star. I penetrated the elusive inner circle. Girls throw themselves at me, now. But it’s empty praise. The walls know the truth. They hold all my secrets.
Do you have any advice for those behind you?
Sure. Don’t be a pawn. Find the beauty of what’s inside of you and don’t let selfish, arrogant people steal it away. Life is not about surviving, but thriving. You can’t do that if you’re pretending.
Tammy, we want to know more about Cody James. Can you tell us where fans can find you or your books on the internet?
Sell Out is available in kindle and paperback formats at Amazon.com.
And it’s on sale this week so hurry over and buy it!!!
Like many elite private schools, Madison High has a legacy steeped in traditions, none of which revolve around learning. Survival is simple: keep your head down, don’t say a word, and never question school royalty.
Cody James, a former victim of Madison’s vicious brand of hazing, wants nothing more than to graduate without breaking the unspoken rules that could land him back in social exile. Cody has breached the elusive inner circle, and he has no intention of losing his hard-earned security. But a beautiful new student shakes up his plan to coast by and causes him question his role as sidekick to the king of the school.
As the only daughter of rock legend Donnie Wyld, Skylar has been homeschooled her entire life. Now she wants normal, and she hopes that Madison High will offer her an escape from her father’s deteriorating health. She never intended on catching the eye of the school’s self-elected king or falling for his confusing best friend. But one look at Cody James, and she is drawn in by his guarded vulnerability.
When an average Friday night party turns into a nightmare, Cody is forced to make a decision—fight or follow. But standing up for the bullied and broken means facing a past he’s long buried and risking the future he’s worked so hard to achieve.
When not chasing after her three amazing kids, Tammy can be spotted with her head in a book. Writing has given her a platform to combine her passion with her ministry.
Tammy L. Gray has lots of projects going on. For all the latest info, visit her website at http://tlgray.com
I’d love to hear from all of you! Come join me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/tlgraybooks or twitter @tlgraybooks