Kristin Wilhite reads “Auralia’s Colors” at The Grinder

At the coffee stand where I spent a lot of time revising the last draft of Auralia’s Colors, Kristin Wilhite is already intrigued by Auralia’s mischief.

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Auralia has landed!!

July 27, 2007

Auralia’s Colors has arrived.

Hey, I just take the pictures. Who am I to ignore the power of what this image tells me? Four out of five readers prefer Auralia’s Colors to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows! And that fifth reader looks like she’s losing her grip…

But seriously…

I hereby announce, with an overwhelming sense of gratitude, that Auralia’s Colors has arrived.

I have arrived at the destination of a journey that began when I was seven years old. I keep thinking back to all of the teachers along the way… third grade, fourth grade, fifth grade, and on… who told me that I would someday be a published storyteller. And I thank them for their confidence in me. I have many more to thank as well, like my parents, and WaterBrook Press, and Lee Hough, and so many more who I listed in the acknowledgments, so….

Hey, thank you! Not only for keeping me company here at Looking Closer, which has made all of the hard work more interesting and enjoyable. Special thanks to those who have given me a vote of confidence by pre-ordering the book! (It’s only $11.19 at Amazon. Wow.)

Now the most exciting part begins… sharing Auralia with the world.

YOU CAN HELP: If you would like to review it for a website, a magazine, a newsletter, or something else, let me know right away at joverstreet [at] gmail [dot] com.

If you know someone else who would review it, or have a magazine to recommend for a review, let me know that as well. Thanks! That would be very helpful.

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The book is dedicated to Anne, who was there when I began to dream up the story while hiking through the woods beside Flathead Lake, Montana. She was the inspiration for this story.

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My neice Amelia, who happens to have a cousin named “Auralia” (who was, in fact, named after the character in the book).

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Rachel Beatty, who illustrated an extraordinary map for the book, lives just two blocks from our house, and has been a dear friend for many years. (When Anne and I got married, she illustrated the invitation!)

Remember… you’re all invited to join me at one (or both) of the release parties in September. You’ll find details in the column on the right side of your screen.

Approximately one hour after I turned in Cyndere’s Midnight to the publisher, my editor passed along the new Publisher’s Weekly review of Auralia’s Colors

Film critic and author Overstreet (Through a Screen Darkly) offers a powerful myth for his first foray into fiction. The kingdom of Abascar is cloaked in gloom, sentenced to an ongoing “wintering” by a jealous queen, in which colors have been done away with and are only allowed in the royal court. But young Auralia, found as a baby by the river and raised by outcasts, has a talent for finding colors everywhere and bringing them to life in a way no one has ever seen before. The fate of the kingdom rests on what Auralia chooses to do and how the king responds. Overstreet creates a world with not only its own geography but its own vocabulary — it is haunted by beastmen, home to cloudgrasper trees, vawns (something like dinosaurs) and twister fish. There are Christian bones to the story — particularly in the mystery of the beast called the Keeper, who is “always moving about, but he likes to hide just to see who’ll come seeking” — which may be too obvious to some and not at all clear to others. Overstreet’s writing is precise and beautiful, and the story is masterfully told. Readers will be hungry for the next installment. (Sept.)

What a day!

Wow.

You know, so many conversations I’ve had about Auralia’s Colors with my agent and the publishers have occurred via email, that sometimes I suddenly wake up and realize…

THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING.

The characters I love — Auralia, the Ale Boy, Krawg, Warney, Cal-raven, Ark-robin, and yes, even Maugam the Jailer — they’re going out into the real world, and people are going to read about them.

One of my favorite bloggers, Amy Wellborn is at the International Christian Retail Conference, and she’s blogging about what she sees.

And, well… look at what she has seen.

Amy writes:

In case he wasn’t aware of it (and I’m sure he is), this one is for Jeffrey Overstreet, whose first novel, Auralia’s Colors, is being published by Waterbrook this fall. The book, which, from the first chapter seems to be excellent, is getting nice exposure at the show…

In fact, Amy… I didn’t know it was getting exposure like THAT.

Thanks so much for noticing!

I also noticed Auralia’s Colors mentioned in this article.

Which is interesting…

…because most of the things said in this article about “Christian fantasy fiction” have little or nothing to do with Auralia’s Colors.

My mechanic is a Christian. He fixes cars. Is his car-repair “Christian auto repair”? I wouldn’t say so. It’s just good car repair. He glorifies God by doing good work as a mechanic.

Similarly, I’m trying to glorify God by writing a memorably spooky, frightening, enthralling adventure story. I did not try to “work in Christian elements.” If you asked me, “What’s the Christian message?” I wouldn’t know what to say. There are no characters in Auralia’s Colors here that are meant to represent Jesus. (One person who read the book said to me, “It’s strange… the closest thing you have to a ‘Christ figure’ in this story is an inanimate object.” I got a good laugh out of that.)

Hopefully, Auralia’s Colors is just good storytelling. But that’s for you to judge. If it doesn’t measure up to the standards of excellence in the general-market fantasy literature, then it’s not good enough for me.

Have you read Chapter One yet? Download it here (PDF), and send me a report!

Carole from Seattle writes:

You’ve drawn me into Auralia’s world for a little while; I’m anxious to return. Excellent! I worked very hard all day and was tired.  I had saved your first chapter for a treat, so I decided to read it to relax.  I curled up in my comfy chair with my laptop, and in just a few ‘pages’ I was whisked off to somewhere else.  I wonder what happens next …

Thanks, Carole.

What happens next? A great deal. Auralia grows up. She discovers her name, while others attempt to force a name upon her. She finds out what she can do… what she alone can do. And then she must determine what to do with that gift. The society around her is beseiged by dangers both outside (a particularly savage species) and within (a corrupt king and queen). It’s in danger of collapse. But if she applies herself to saving it, she’s in for a world of trouble. It might be a whole lot easier just to run away.

Beginnings are so very important. I’m glad Chapter One caught your attention. I can remember so many of my favorite beginnings. Sometimes, it has something to do with the simple rhythm of it: “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.” Or with information that draws you in to a time and a place: “The primroses were over.” Sometimes it’s a loaded statement: “Call me Ishmael.” Sometimes, for creative inspiration, I’ll visit a bookstore or library and just start reading the opening paragraphs of books I’ve never seen before. My head will spin with all of the possibilities.

Thanks for writing! We’re just a month-and-a-half from the release now…

Today, Auralia’s in Holland, and Johan Klein Haneveld reports:

I read Auralia’s first chapter in Delft, the Netherlands, in my flat on the fifteenth floor, looking out at a wonderful cloudscape that could have come from a Dutch painting… Not weather to go out in though. Anyway, as a follower of your blog, a lover of fantasy and science fiction and an author myself, I’m very much interested in the progress of this book. The concept is certainly original as much as I understand it. The importance on beauty is something I often think about, and it’s importance to the human soul (as beauty points us to God ultimately, or so I believe), so if only for the theme I’m very much interested in reading your book. I hope it will also become available in Europe, if only via amazon.co.uk (shipping from the U.S. would be a bit much).

 Thanks for writing, Johan. Good news! It’s already available via amazon.co.uk.

As for the style, I had to adjust a bit, having just read one of my favorite authors Stephen Lawhead … The Iron Lance, which is about the Crusades.

I read a lot of Lawhead when I was in high school, so I’m sure his work has influenced me… especially The Pendragon Cycle. In fact, I thank him in the acknowledgments, along with my other favorite writers. (I’ll let that be a surprise.)

Have you read Chapter One yet? Download it here (PDF), and send me a report!

I suspect that the biggest marketing challenge for Pixar right now is… how do you get people excited about a movie with a title that’s hard to pronounce? Ratatouille is a fantastic movie, but it’s not as easy for kids to say as Finding Nemo or Cars.

So… to avoid confusion, let’s get this straight:

Auralia is pronounced: 

o-RAIL-ya