Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Day Three of our CSSFB Tour With Auralia's Colors: A Fabulous Author...A Fabulous Novel...A Fabulous Interview...and a FABULOUS GIVEAWAY!!

I am SO pleased to introduce you to a magnificent author. He is an amazing talent, and I am so blessed to call him my friend. He has given me the privilege and the honor of an interview....and his responses are as marvelous as his novel. Enjoy my time spent with Jeffrey Overstreet, author of "Auralia's Colors":

1) We never really learn where Auralia comes from...exactly. How was she born in your mind--what sparked her creation?

Don't stop pondering the questions about Auralia's origins. We have three more books to go in The Auralia Thread!

Auralia was born during a hike through the awe-inspiring beauty of Flathead Lake in Montana. I was delirious from the scenery, immersed in color. My oh-so-imaginative wife Anne was talking with me about imagination. She made a comment about how most adults reach a point where they "fold up their imaginations, put them in a closet, and forget about them."

At that moment, I pictured a colorless kingdom set in the middle of a beautiful world. I imagined these poor, deprived people who had lost their appreciation of creativity and color.

And suddenly, I realized that I was looking at this imaginary kingdom over the shoulder of a character: a young woman who, with tears in her eyes, was weaving together the colors of the whole world in hopes of waking up the culture that had gone to sleep. She was gathering the courage to carry those colors down into that lifeless city. And what would happen then? That's how it started.

2) The color imagery is so vivid in your story! I loved "watching" Auralia create her colors and experiment. Why the emphasis on color in your tale?

If I was going to follow Auralia through her story, I would have to try and be observant like her. She taught me a lot about slowing down and appreciating the colors all around me.

It's interesting to me that, for all of our talk about art, nature is so far ahead of us when it comes to beauty. I worked in downtown Seattle for ten years, surrounded by manmade (and woman-made) structures. I felt like I was starving for natural beauty, so I'd take frequent ferryboat rides out of downtown, just to surround myself with God's own art. I think that Auralia would be frustrated in a city.

3) I noticed this volume is called "The Red Strand". How many more strands can we look forward to, and any hints on future colors??

The second book is "The Blue Strand." We'll learn where Auralia found her particularly powerful blues. Hmmm. Maybe I should call it How Auralia Got the Blues.

Just kidding. The second book is called "Cyndere's Midnight." Beyond that, I'm not saying yet. The story might surprise me and change my mind.

4) I spotted some allusions to C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. Any other fantasy influences in your life?

Patricia McKillip's language is miraculous, especially in The Book of Atrix Wolfe. If my writing reminds anybody of her, I'll be overjoyed.

Kate DiCamillo is considered a "childrens' author," but she writes with such power and beauty that I think all grownups should read her books. Especially The Tiger Rising.

Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast trilogy is an ocean of wild, hilarious descriptions and colorful characters.

Michael Ende, who wrote The Neverending Story, has a wonderful book called Momo that needs to be rediscovered. The central character, Momo, is like a cousin to Auralia.

And the style of Guy Gavriel Kay, who tells his stories through the perspectives of many different characters, definitely affected the way I wrote Auralia's Colors. I love his two-book series, The Sarantine Mosaic.

5) What are you currently reading, and what's on your iPod?

Somebody told me that Auralia's Colors was "obviously influenced" by Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. I've never read it. But now I'm curious, so I just picked it up.

I'm also reading poetry by Scott Cairns, and his translations of spiritual writings, called Love's Immensity. There's nothing healthier for a fiction writer than a daily dose of poetry. It focuses your attention on how much can be said with just a few words.

I've also been reading a riveting, raw book for young women recently published by a great new author named Sara Zarr. The book's called Story of a Girl. I don't usually read that genre, but Sara's such a great personality that I had to give it my attention. And I'm really impressed.

I've just finished Cormac McCarthy's No Country for Old Men and The Road. The two books are very different, but both are memorable, meaningful nightmares.

My iPod? Two albums this year have made my head spin: Joe Henry's Civilians and Over the Rhine's The Trumpet Child. I'm going to both of the sold out Over the Rhine shows in Seattle this week. They're some of God's secret agents in the music world. They have a mysterious way of weaving sexy love songs together with soul-stirring sacred music. It coheres, somehow, into a celebration of everything that's good. I'm also enjoying recent albums by The Innocence Mission and The Arcade Fire.

6) Any special spot you go to write that helps you find that extra spark?

I do my best writing in two places: At Fort Casey on Whidbey Island, a short ferryboat ride from the north end of Seattle; and then, in the deserts around Santa Fe, New Mexico. Coffee shops are good too. In Seattle, I go to Hotwire, Zoka, Richmond Beach Coffee, and a great little espresso cart called The Grinder.

7) What is your favorite aspect of Auralia's story?

A lot of stories I read these days move too fast for me. It's as if the writers are desperate to hold the attention of an impatient audience, so they have constantly make jokes or do something shocking. Me, I like it when language sounds like music, when imagery is so vivid that you can get lost in it. I want beauty, not shock treatment.

I just love exploring Auralia's world. I love investigating the characters I encounter there, and finding out how they fit into the web of that world. And, as I said before, I love to be surrounded by natural beauty--so it's nice to have an imaginary world that is bursting with it. It's a little easier on the allergies than Real Live Nature.

8) What is your favorite color?

Ahhh... a Monty Python fan, I see! When I had a box of 64 crayons, I wanted a 65th crayon. So I'll say, my favorite color is the one I haven't discovered yet.

But, if you insist: I love the blue that you see on the ocean at dusk. It's this electric, mysterious, magical hue.

9) If your readers could only get one thing from reading your novels, what is it you'd want them to take after the final page is turned?

I hope they'll go back to their lives with a heightened sense of just how much beauty we walk through in this world.

I hope that they have a greater sense that we are surrounded by cosmic mysteries, and that those mysteries are all part of a grand design.

Above all, I hope that they sense that all things are forms of language -- that each created thing is conveying, in its own particular way, something of great importance. The sky. The woods. The sea. The wind. Fire. Water. Colors. They're all pouring forth speech. And we could all learn to listen better. I know I could. And so I'll shut up now.

Thank you, Jeffrey. I am so much richer and blessed by experiencing Auralia!

For my review of this marvelous debut novel, click here!

To purchase your own copy of this wondrous book, click here!

To see where Auralia has popped up in the blogosphere, click here!

Update To Note: Jeff is hard at work on the Blue Strand of Auralia's story, titled "Cyndere's Midnight". And YES, I AM excited!! I'm hoping for an advanced reader's copy, and you will know if I get one! Keep watching My Bookshelf for more information, or check out Auralia's Journal (see link below).

To buy your own copy, click here.

To win a final giveaway copy of "Auralia's Colors", leave me a comment with your favorite color in the post (the first six comments do NOT COUNT toward this giveaway, so if you left one before, leave another to win!!)

Happy Reading!


P.S. It has been some time since this interview was first posted. It was one of my first author interviews, and Jeffrey made it so much fun. He is a wonderful and humble man that I encourage you to get acquainted with. Visit Jeff at his website, Looking Closer, and watch for Auralia sightings at Auralia's Journal. You WON'T want to miss out!

Visit one of my blogger buddies on this tour below:

Brandon Barr
Jim Black
Justin Boyer
Grace Bridges
Jackie Castle
Carol Bruce Collett
Valerie Comer
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
Chris Deanne
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Marcus Goodyear
Andrea Graham
Jill Hart
Katie Hart
Timothy Hicks
Heather R. Hunt
Becca Johnson
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Mike Lynch
Rachel Marks
Shannon McNear
Melissa Meeks
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Mirtika or Mir's Here
Pamela Morrisson
Eve Nielsen
John W. Otte
John Ottinger
Deena Peterson
Steve Rice
Cheryl Russel
Ashley Rutherford
Hanna Sandvig
Chawna Schroeder
James Somers
Rachelle Sperling
Donna Swanson
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Jason Waguespac
Laura Williams
Timothy Wise


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windycindy said...

Hello, This book sounds absolutely fabulous. My favorite color is green!
Please put me in the drawing. Thanks,Cindi

Rebecca LuElla Miller said...

Great interview, Deena. Your first? You sounded like a pro.


Amy said...

My favorite color is and was purple! Please enter me!

mypalamy {at} gmail DOT com

Unknown said...

Hello Deena and no I'm not entering the contest but had to answer your question anyway.

but before I do for those who like guessing games my screen name is a big hint of my answer.....

.... My two favorite colors are Forest Green and Dusty Rose.

And for those who want to win a copy of the book you can also drop by my blog before next Tues and leave a comment on my review of Auralia's Colors to be entered in my drawing - then if you don't win Deena's drawing, you've still got a chance at the book.


dodo said...

Count me in. My favorite color is indigo, a bluish-purplish sort of color. I also like blue and purple separately :)

mudrash said...
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mudrash said...

Thanks for a chance to win the book. My favorite color is Blue!

Pamela J said...

Favorite colors are such a hot topic at times, I rarely go through a month that someone doesn't ask me what mine is. I usually say all colors because I do love them all... yes, and EVEN yellow (I thought I didn't like it while growing up because of my Mom's dislike for it). I'd have to say bold colors are my most favorite. I made two dresses exactly alike and love them both. One was hot pink and one was vibrant royal blue. These colors make me feel alive in the most amazing way. Of those, I have to say that dazzling, bold, bright, beautiful blue has always and still is my most very favorite, though the hot bright pink runs a very close second.
Please enter me in the drawing. Thanks. Pam
cepjwms at yahoo dot com

Anonymous said...

I've tried so many times to win this darn book!! If it doesn't pan out this time, I'm buying it!

My favorite color is pink. HOT PINK. The hottest pink possible! Bright, cheerful, and incredibly girly. Like me I must say! ;-)

Anonymous said...


I blogged your contest in this post: