I read this, and I thought of the way that some characters respond to Auralia and to the extraordinary colors that she reveals to them.

Diane Ackerman is writing about artists, and why we need them:

And yet, through their eyes — perhaps because they risk so much — we discover breathtaking views of the human pageant. Borrowing the lens of an artist’s sensibility, we see the world in a richer way—more familiar than we thought, and stranger than we knew, a world laced with wonder. Sometimes we need to be taught how and where to seek wonder, but it’s always there, waiting, full of mystery and magic. I feel that much of my own duty as a writer is to open those doors of vision, shine light into those dark corners of existence, and search for the fountains of innocence.

– Diane Ackerman, “Language at Play” from In Fact: The Best of Creative Nonfiction

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TitleTrakks review Lori Fox turned in this review.

And what can I do but say “Thank you!”

At her blog, she continued:

… let me tell you — that book was good!

Absolutely unbelievable, actually. I was quite skeptical before I started actually reading it since… well, how can the absence of color really make a good plot point? It just does. I’m not saying that to gloss over it- I mean it. It just does. It’s in the way he weaves his characters, the culture, the land, everything together. It all builds up into something brilliant.

And we’ve all heard about “poetic prose” and roll our eyes. How trite. What a cop out. You use it to gloss over a weak story. Wrong. There are parts of Auralia’s Colors that actually sing, and mesmerize. Repeatedly, I found myself drifting along on the mental sounds of the words and the pictures they conveyed, only to snap my mind back to the story. It’s like masterful epic poetry crossed with a fantasy legend’s best novel. Only better.

Many thanks to the folks at The Supsense Zone, where there’s a new review of Auralia’s Colors by Karri Compton (“A very unique novel, one from which most readers can find enjoyment and wonder….”) and an interview that includes the following questions:

  • Do you have any previously completed novels that you think may be published one day?
  • What are the most important things you have learned so far in your writing journey?
  • If you could make a living at anything besides being an author, what would that occupation be?
  • Who was your favorite character to write in Auralia’s Colors?
  • What is the hardest part of writing for you?
  • Can you tell us a bit about the next book in the series, Cyndere’s Midnight?

God bless Jason Panella, who’s blogging at Truer Than Truth. His response to Auralia’s Colors makes me feel better about all of the editing that still needs to be done on the sequel.

… when I say Auralia’s Colors is a different sort of fantasy novel, that’s meant as high praise. Even though it took a few chapters to draw me in, I fell in love with everything about the book. I’m already impatient for the sequel, slated for next fall. … It’s hard to believe this is Jeffrey’s first novel.

The review of Auralia’s Colors at Front Street Reviews says a little more about the conclusion of the story than other reviews. But I’m grateful that Susan Helene Gottfried is so pleased….

We’ve seen this before: the unique child with the power to change the world. It’s not a new story — until it is deposited into Overstreet’s hands. In Auralia’s case, the change she brings doesn’t save the world in one fell swoop.

This isn’t the only thing that sets Auralia’s Colors apart from the rest of the fantasy genre. In fact, the twist on what has become a familiar formula isn’t even the most exciting and ground-breaking.

Rather, it is the emphasis that Overstreet puts on the use of color. From the shades of grey in the storyline to the bold, vibrant colors that surround Auralia, this book — and, hopefully, this series — is defined by this one simple element.

It’s interesting that Gottfried picked up on this. Yes, color is central to the story… even more central than Auralia herself.

In my mind, Auralia’s just the messenger to her world. She’s wide awake, and she directs our attention to look closer at what she sees.

One reader commented that Auralia’s colors are the closest thing to a “savior” in this story. I thought that was interesting.

And another reader shared that he thought it was the first story he’d read in which the Main Character of the Story is, in fact, a city: House Abascar, and what is going on in Abascar’s “mind” and “heart.” That caught me by surprise too.

I don’t consider Auralia a savior — to me, she just seems to be an artist who’s exploring complex questions through art. Nor did I give much thought as to who might be “the main character” as I wrote. (The first draft of the story did not let us see Auralia much at all, but focused on how her presence had affected those around her.) But now that I stand back and look at the finished story, I can understand why some people might conclude she’s a “Christ figure.”

Finding out the many and varied ways people are interpreting Auralia’s Colors is proving just as much fun as writing it.

But now, I gotta get back to writing the second one. Reading something like Gottfried’s comments reminds me how challenging it will be to complete what Auralia’s colors has set in motion. I’d better not drop any of those loose “threads” of the story along the way…

*You can also read the review here, at Gather.

Kevin Lucia has just posted our conversation about Auralia’s Colors and Through a Screen Darkly.

A blogger named Rachelle asked some good questions too, including how I might cast an Auralia’s Colors movie.

I’ve been reading movie reviews at Crosswalk for years, so it’s kind of wild to see some criticism there relating to my own work. What a relief that they found it worthwhile.

Thanks to Cheryl Russell for her review, and thanks also to other reviewers: Thanks to Valerie Comer. And thanks to Jake at Bookshelf Review who says,

Jeffrey Overstreet has crafted a beautifully woven tale of hope and adventure in this marvelous debut. His writing is rich and gripping, forcing the reader to savor every line as the story unfolds at a perfect pace. Overstreet’s characters are wonderfully fashioned and the struggles and triumphs of each are incredibly captivating.

You can’t read Auralia’s Colors without sensing that this is the start of something great. With more volumes of Auralia’s Thread to come, I cannot wait to see where Jeffrey Overstreet takes us next.