Female. Born in Dallas, TX.
Home—Milwaukie, OR. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Firebrand Books, 2232 South Main St. #272, Ann Arbor, MI 48103; fax: 248-738-8202.
Writer and certified Rolfer.
The Second Coming of Curly Red, Firebrand Books (Ithaca, NY), 1999.
Contributor to periodicals including Dallas Life, Massage, and The Justin Wheeler.
WORK IN PROGRESS:
Gentle Tales from a Ragged Life, a collection of essays.
With her first book, The Second Coming of Curly Red, author Jody Seay delivered a "remarkably confident debut novel of heartache and redemption," remarked a reviewer in Publishers Weekly. Protagonist Jimmy Heron lives in a haze of grief since Lou, his wife of fifty years, was killed by a "virulently racist, misogynist gunman" in a random, hate-fueled shooting at a restaurant, the Publishers Weekly critic wrote. After Lou's burial, Jimmy abandons his home in Mineral Wells, Texas, packs up what little of his life he can fit in his pickup truck, and heads out onto the road with no particular destination in mind.
Heron's ramblings finally lead him to a trailer home in the tiny town of Reliance, Oregon. Reliance, however, is not a quiet place—racism, intolerance, and violence simmer beneath the town's surface. The discord present between the inhabitants of the town is revealed from Heron's point of view as he begins to make Reliance his home. Cory and Leigh, Heron's lesbian neighbors, are expecting their first child, but are subjected to increasingly horrific and violent harassment by locals, and Leigh finds herself under intensifying pressure at her teaching job at the local school. Local minister Darryl Dimmer preaches fire-and-brimstone fundamentalism and has his eye on both a television ministry and his ultimate goal, the worldwide eradication of homosexuality. The local sheriff has conflicting views about equality among those who live in his district. Joshua, the sperm donor for Cory and Leigh's baby, is killed when the couple's barn is deliberately set ablaze. Homophobia and religious intolerance threaten not only the gay and lesbian residents of Reliance but all who live there.
Hope is found in the form of Cory and Leigh's baby, who serves as the vessel for the return of the title character, Curly Red. In his past incarnation, Curly Red lived with Heron; after his death, he became an angel. He decides to return to the world in order to teach Heron and the inhabitants of Reliance some heavenly lessons—with assistance from an angelic rookie, Jimmy's wife Lou, who offers insightful commentary on her new life as an angel.
Whitney Scott, writing in Booklist, remarked on the "heartfelt sincerity that resonates throughout" the novel. With her clear-cut take on issues such as free speech, equal rights, hate crimes, and religious intolerance, "Seay demonstrates the connections between violent bigotries of all kinds," observed the Publishers Weekly reviewer. "It is more difficult to write about happiness than unhappiness," wrote Ruthann Robson in Lambda Book Report, adding that "Seay does an admirable job describing daily ecstasies."
Library Journal critic Ina Rimpau observed that the novel's characters are not adequately fleshed out; Robson agreed, commenting, "The drama of Curly Red is not found within the characters." However, Rimpau remarked that "the novel's brisk pace almost compensates." Robson found that the driving force of the book is an easily identifiable conflict between good and evil. "Despite my yearning for more ambiguity, introspection, and depth, The Second Coming of Curly Red is a commendable novel and marks the debut of a lesbian writer worth watching," Robson concluded.
In addition to being a novelist, Seay is also a certified Rolfer. Rolfing is the practice of manipulating the body's soft tissue in order to align the structural and muscular system, improve physical performance, and relieve pain.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, November 15, 1999, Whitney Scott, review of The Second Coming of Curly Red, p. 606.
Lambda Book Report, December, 1999, Ruthann Robson, "Hate Is Not a Family Value," p. 15.
Library Journal, November 1, 1999, Ina Rimpau, review of The Second Coming of Curly Red, p. 125.
Publishers Weekly, October 4, 1999, review of The Second Coming of Curly Red, p. 62.*