The Falcon | Volume 83, Issue 53
Jeffrey Overstreet, communications specialist in University Communications, is the author of "Auralia's Colors," his first novel in a four-part fantasy book series. He discusses his latest novel, "Raven's Ladder," the third installment of the series as well as his journey to becoming a published author.
Photo credit: NICOLE KOHLMAN/The Falcon.
Fiction series by SPU alum moves ahead
By MEGAN LANDIES,
Published: February 17 2010
While hiking with his wife many years ago, Communications Specialist in University Communciations Jeffrey Overstreet grappled with the idea of people outgrowing their imaginations.
"Why do you suppose people reach an age of wrapping up their imaginations and putting them in the closet?" he asked.
Overstreet finds time to explore this question through his published fantasy novel series. Alongside these novels, he works on marking materials for SPU, writing reviews for Response magazine and occasionally writing for etc. magazine. Overstreet writes film and music reviews on his Web site (http://lookingcloser.org).
Overstreet manages these projects while finding the time to explore the question that resulted in a four novel fantasy series.
The desire to keep readers from placing their imaginations in the closet prompted Overstreet to write "Auralia's Colors," the first novel in his four part fantasty series. Overstreet described the series as "fantasy without battlefields and dragons."
He said his inspiration came from his love of fairy tales and fantasy. The readers will be able to find echoes of "Beauty and the Beast," the King Arthur legends and "The Lord of the Rings."
"To me, it's a story about characters who discover colors they've never seen before, and what happens when they go looking for the source of those colors," Overstreet said. "It's about people who dream of a magnificent monster lurking in the shadows, how children become curious about those dreams and how adults try to bury them."
"Raven's Ladder" is the third novel in the series and comes out Feb. 16. Reviewers praised this novel as the best of the three. Esther Maria Swaty from Seattle City Guide Examiner described the novel as a "brilliant tale of intricate layers" and author R.J. Anderson added that the novel is "the work of a fertile and striking creative imagination." The feedback surprised Overstreet as he took approximately 10 years developing the first novel and had less than two years to finish the third.
For Overstreet, the story itself is full of personal experiences. He said the series deals with questions about freedom and responsibility.
His inspiration for the characters came from relationships in his own life and the wild, beautiful things of this world influenced the scenes of his stories.
"In the series, the world's wild beauty leads some to humility, discovery and faith" Overstreet said. "For others, that same wild beauty leads to selfishness, pride and dangerous behavior."
"It was important for me to write a book that sounds good when read out loud," he said. "I want there to be an experience in the music of language."
Overstreet said he wanted to write scenes that people would go back to again and provoke readers to think about what they are consuming, not just how they are consuming it. He referred to himself as a nutritionist of sorts.
Overstreet's love of literature began at a young age and has grown into a passion that is evident in his works today.
Overstreet has been crafting his skill as a writer since he was seven years old. "I started copying the text of my storybooks onto blank pieces of paper and then I would draw my own pictures," he said.
Confidence as a writer truly began to grow in Overstreet when he was a student at SPU. "Professors like Luke Reinsma really inspired me," Overstreet said. "I still take stuff to him and ask him to read it."
After graduating from SPU in 1994, Overstreet recalls wanting to keep the conversation about literature alive, but found it difficult to find people reading the same books. Around that time, people began putting up their own Web sites and Overstreet started writing film reviews online. Overstreet said he became interested in writing reviews because he craved the discussion about art with other Christians.
"Anything that is true and anything that is beautiful is God's territory," Overstreet said. "The best you can hope for is to reflect the excellence and beauty that God manifests for us."
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