For Cory's Sake by Carolyn Wada

William had turned his back on the conversation and was stirring something on the stove. It made him uncomfortable to hear his children referred to in the lifeless terms of a "contribution" that "he" had made, as if they were "a car, a bag of rice, and cash" that he had contributed to some cause. William only ever saw his children as human lives--and lives that had been warped and twisted into strange forms by beliefs and desires received as part of their pre-invasion inheritance.

Out of loyalty to his father and grandfather and love for his planet, William had taught compassion and sacrifice to his children. And then, with some pride, and a great deal of sorrow, he had watched these children begin to give their lives out of loyalty to their inheritance and for Cory's sake.

I was fortunate enough to get the author to agree to an interview. This is what she had to say:

Could you please tell us a little about your book?

Cory is a planet. Its native inhabitants have been enslaved by Fear, in the form of a Bomb that can end their world. A group of caring outsiders have formed a coalition to save Cory; they call themselves “the pre-invasion conspiracy.” My book has a very zoomed-in focus on a single family within the conspiracy.

William Bentler is a single father with seven children. As happens in large families, there are striking differences between the children: in personalities, affinities and aptitudes. This works out well for the conspiracy, as their different contributions come together to form a productive whole!

Here is a pertinent excerpt: “William had turned his back on the conversation and was stirring something on the stove. It made him uncomfortable to hear his children referred to in the lifeless terms of a “contribution” that “he” had made, as if they were “a car, a bag of rice, and cash” that he had contributed to some cause. William only ever saw his children as human lives—and lives that had been warped and twisted into strange forms by beliefs and desires received as part of their pre-invasion inheritance . . . Out of loyalty to his father and grandfather and love for his planet, William had taught compassion and sacrifice to his children. And then, with some pride, and a great deal of sorrow, he had watched these children begin to give their lives out of loyalty to their inheritance and for Cory's sake.”

Did something specific happen to prompt you to write this book?

Something specific influenced the nature of the final product. It started out simply enough: I had specific, fairly well-formed characters in my head, and I set them at the task of saving a planet. But at about the halfway point, my interest in certain real-life issues became very intense and began to influence the work. Certain themes became stronger, and I ended up with a more cohesive, deeper and intense story than originally “planned.”

“Child abuse” is the English term for the complex tragedy that influenced my work. Voices silenced by fear; millions of people situated such that they cannot save themselves (but must rely on the caring of outside champions); people trying to control people by means of violence and the threat of violence; and the freeing power of knowledge. All of these themes appear in my book, as well as a contrast between two fathers with the question: which is the weak one and which is the strong one?

Who or what is the inspiration behind this book?

Here's a little nugget about the title. I have 5 younger brothers (and a younger sister). There was always a possibility, near the end, that one of my brothers would have been named Cory. At least, my mom and I discussed the niceness and viability of the name (I do not know my Dad's opinion), but I do not (to date) have a brother named Cory.

I don't know why I thought a sister should have a say in the name of her younger brother, but I had preeminent say in the name of my baby book. And so I named my planet Cory! The double meaning was intentional: “Cory” sounds like a planetary name (sez who? in my head, it just does!), and it is also a personal name that could make one think of a child.

Who is your biggest supporter?

“And when the day is done my momma's still my biggest fan.” That country song is probably true for countless artists, of all sorts, and it certainly is for me. No mom could be more supportive than mine. Maybe in her heart of hearts she thinks I'm a nut, with some of the things I've done or tried, but she will never say so and she supports me all the way all the same.

Your biggest critic?

That would be my best friend, Evan Baird. He is an avid reader with very broad interests and strongly verbalized opinions about everything. He is not afraid to tell me if he hates something I've written.

What cause are you most passionate about and why?

There is only one real-life issue that really, really worries me, at all times. It is the only “cause” in which I have invested substantial amounts of personal time, effort and money. First, some numbers: 906,000 child abuse convictions in 2003; more than 900,000 substantiated reports of abuse, in 2006. Extrapolate upwards to realize that millions of children have been affected by abuse in this decade.

Child abuse feels more tragic to me than any other tragedy. As in a natural disaster, the child is not at fault for the fire and storm. But unlike in a hurricane, which is caused by impersonal factors such as varying air temperatures and pressures, this tragic storm is often caused by the very people who are supposed to be sheltering the developing human soul. Instead . . .

I've seen “us” responding to natural disasters with generous spirits, material aid and needed emergency services, time and again. We text donations into the Red Cross, and meet at churches and schools to fill boxes with essentials. Some even go on-site, to lug sandbags around, clean up debris, or build the infrastructure of a New Start.

As in a natural disaster, the children affected by abuse are not at fault for the storm. And, they need emergency services to help with the “rebuilding” of their lives. My concern is whether we are investing enough resources into these services, into ensuring that every affected child receives the help he needs, to rebuild his life and move on to a bright future. I know that there are national organizations who provide such effective services, and I'd like them to have more resources, so they can reach every child who needs them.

All author's royalties, from sales of For Cory's Sake, will be donated to organizations that provide tangible services to (or in behalf of) abused, neglected or exploited children. I feature (national) organizations that provide such services, here:

In the last year have you learned or improved on any skills?

Self-publishing has made me learn a lot of “computer skills” that I might never have acquired otherwise. I learned how to set up a website and a blog. I've been figuring out the intricacies of Twitter ( I've been trying to make friends, on Facebook, with people I've never met in person. (If you friend-request the Carolyn Wada who looks like a book cover, I WILL accept). I've even learned a little bit of HTML code (my blog comes out better when I “Edit in HTML” as opposed to in “Compose” mode). I'm sure I wouldn't be doing most of this, if I didn't have a book to promote!

Do you have any rituals you follow when finishing a piece of work?

I “write dialog out loud.” Some of my characters are blunt (bordering on rude—saving a planet is an urgent and stressful business). Some are wordy. Some are more grammatical than others. Some have pet phrases (“Look, . . .” “Do you see?” “Sure.” “Don't be a baby.” . . . or the mantra of Terrence's character: “Shut up.”) When two characters are talking I do the talking for both of them, in the style of each. I write it down, then I try it again. And again. And again. Some of the expository monologues (i.e. when the Bentlers are explaining the conspiracy to Kerry, in Chapter 2) I wrote silently, as I did the narrative. But I worked through conversations out loud.

My favorite authors are J.R.R. Tolkien and Charles Dickens. I'm pretty sure neither have affected my writing STYLE (“more's the pity”!), but both have inspired the SHAPE of my real and imaginary worlds. I love their “world-views.” They seem to believe in the existence of good, and also evil; and that it's possible to distinguish between the two. They seem to believe that people (and dwarves, elves and hobbits) can be truly good, heroic, self-sacrificing, make deliberate choices and freely accept hard consequences. I write the kinds of stories I like to read: and I prefer to read and write stories where you can tell who the good guys are; and they are good in grand ways; and they make Choices rather than passively letting life kick them around and then calling God a hater.

What is the most important thing in your life right now?

My family will always be the most important thing in my life. They are all I can count on “for always,” whatever else might come and go.

What are you currently working on?

I've started something called “Bentler Universe” on my blog ( My family characters interact through “Facebook”-style postings on the “Wall” of my blog. For Cory's Sake has an intense focus on the hardships that come with the planet-saving lifestyle. “Bentler Universe” is a way to know my characters when they are less keyed up. Personality comes through startlingly well, in a Wall posting, and I post quite frequently to try to flesh out the rest (the normal part) of my characters' world.

Do you have any advice for writers or readers?

I don't have any advice for writers, I'm just a kid in writer years! To readers: this author, at least, LOVES to hear from you. It makes my day to know that my characters and themes have passed through another mind and been processed in its own unique way. Questions, comments, complaints—all are welcome.

(If I don't get back to you right away it's because I also have a full-time mortgage-paying job in retail. We are already starting to get big shipments, which means holiday season is right around the corner—yes, retail does rush the seasons—and holiday season is so exhausting! But I promise, I read and internalize everything you say!)

Is there an author that inspired you to write?

He is an author, but he inspired me as a teacher. I grew up in Wailuku, Maui, Hawaii, and the “Dean of Maui Playwrights,” Wayne Moniz, was my sophomore English teacher. He encouraged my high school writing efforts, even mentioning my nascent ability in a speech at graduation. Seeing someone from my hometown have a writing career would be inspirational in and of itself; but as he was my teacher first, the effect was doubled.

What are some of your long term goals?

I would really like to start a charitable foundation with royalty money someday. I would like to contribute substantial (as opposed to piddling) amounts to the organizations I've researched, so they can expand their services to every child who needs them. (My non-writer hero is actually Paul Newman, the actor and purveyor of popcorn and salad dressing etc., with the proceeds going to good!)

What do you feel has been your greatest achievement as an author?

Publishing was the hardest decision of my life to date. Making that decision, putting my money where my heart is, and then diving into promotion when I'm actually a very shy person, has been quite an exercise in deliberate living. I DID rather than DID NOT, Yoda.

What do you feel is your biggest strength?

I have a strong imagination. Imaginary people, imaginary worlds, imaginary situations come easily to me. I think about imaginary people (characters, now that I'm a writer!) as I drive, walk down the street or fall asleep. My people and their lives evolve very naturally through this process, and then I need only worry about what techniques to use, to help other minds “see” my characters (near) how I do. The pure invention part (step one) has never been hard for me.

Biggest weakness?

I have a penchant (there I go!) for big words and longish sentences, and can't always tell when this liking is getting in the way of my (“unique and interesting”) story. I guess that's what editors are for.

What do you feel sets this book apart from others in the same genre?

Two reviewers have used the word “unique,” in their reviews of my book. As these reviewers have read many books, I'm inclined to believe them. The story is quite “unique.” I thought it was before I published, and other avid readers seem to have confirmed this belief.

The underlying themes, because of my interest in a real-world issue, give it added dimension. I sometimes throw the word “symbolic” in front of my book genre and describe it as a “symbolic fantasy.” (I did, however, work the symbolism in subtly, so that the book can also be read as just an adventure story)

You know the scenario – you’re stuck on an island. What book would you bring with you and why?

No contest. I “discovered” The Lord of the Rings (I think of the trilogy as one book) the summer after my 8th grade year. I read it through once, started over from the beginning and read it straight through again; started over from the beginning and read it straight through again. I once had 60 pages of it memorized. Tolkien combines an almost childlike world-view with an Oxford professor's command of the English language. He sees beauty in the world and in people (and other species) and masterfully makes me see and believe in it too. I don't believe his fantasy novel can ever be topped, because it is one of the coolest stories ever imagined told in about the best way and from the best perspective possible.

(I have 224 pages of For Cory's Sake essentially memorized, so it will come too. It's an interesting, evocative story too. And I think I managed not to copy my literary hero in my own work!)

If you could go back and change one day, what would it be?

This one:,2933,484164,00.html

Are you a different person now than you were 5 years ago? In what way/s?

I don't think I “sweat the small stuff” as much as I did in my twenties. If bad things happened at my retail job I used to carry them home and stew all night; now I leave them there. I guess I have more perspective than I used to.

What is the most important lesson you have learned from life so far?

I've learned that you can't plan everything, that sometimes you have to just do the best you can and see what happens afterwards. But that you should definitely be doing something. I think that's why we're here: to make choices, do things and hopefully become wiser and do things better each time around.

Is there anything you regret doing/not doing?

Confession time. I once volunteered to work directly with children who had survived abuse. I was feeling a lot of caring and this seemed to be how other caring people were choosing to help. The problem was, I'm a very shy adult. I was never comfortable in my volunteer role, and I realized that the children should not have to worry about whether I was comfortable, and I abruptly quit without ever discussing my issue with the administrator. I know now that I should have handled it all better.

This mistake resulted in some thoughts which were directly incorporated into my book. People contribute in different ways, and contribute best when “their way” is in line with their inclinations and abilities. I applied this thought directly into my book plot, and also into the decision to publish my book. I realized that although I am shy in all “live” settings, I am a gloriously uninhibited writer. As a result, I had a book manuscript, a potential consumer product, sitting in a canvas bin in my bedroom. I decided to see if I could sell this product of my thoughts; and I determined that I would donate my proceeds to those who were doing the tangible work. And from these thoughts, in a couple of different ways, came For Cory's Sake.

What is your favorite past-time?

I enjoy following sports. Sports have some of the best stories; and sportswriters are among the best writers on the planet. I believe that no canned drama (mine included) can equal the suspense of certain live sporting events (and you never know in advance which live sporting events will have the drama!) I also play fantasy sports, because it's fun to stress over things that are not actually important (for a change).

Carolyn Wada is the oldest of seven children raised by two wonderful, supportive parents. She has a deep interest in children's issues. In particular, she is interested in supporting organizations that help child survivors of abuse.

Royalties from For Cory's Sake will be donated to organizations that provide services to abused, neglected or exploited children.

More information about this aspect can be found via


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Carolyn Wada said...

Thanks for hosting me, Tracee. Visitors, thank you for coming! I welcome your comments or questions and will stop by later to respond. For now, character intros are ongoing at,if you're interested.

jesavius said...


corysgrandma said...

For the sake of children who are not receiving the love, safety and nurturing they are entitled to, may you achieve your goals and dreams through For Cory's Sake. Thank you for sharing your thought processes and experiences.

jesavius said...

they should make this into a lifetime movie

Sylvia said...

Dear Carolyn, your interview is extraordinary. It's good to Know that you wrote this book for the sake of children, as I did. It's good to know that you care about your readers, unlike many writers who already have thousands of them and just put an end to communication. Your book seems very intelligent and loving, which is something that I really appreciate in a book, I hope you have the biggest success.

David Lucero said...

As an avid reader I am thoroughly enjoying Carolyn Wada's book, For Cory's Sake. As a writer I admire Carolyn Wada's skill for her ability to transfer her thoughts onto paper. As a person I believe Carolyn Wada is truly a wonderful human being this world is blessed to have walking among us and bringing to our attention what is most important to all of us. Family, friends, and children's rights. In the words of Matt Schott, author of Lord Skyler and the Earth Defense Force, 'Keep on Writing'. In my own words to you, Carolyn, 'Thanks for doing what you do and for being you.'

David Lucero

Lisa said...

I can't believe you actually wrote a book. I am totally impressed. I'll have to read it sometime.