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Spring 2008 | Volume 31, Number 1 | Features

The Colors of Auralia

Overstreet’s first fantasy novel is “masterfully told,” writes Publisher’s Weekly

Auralia's Colors
After publishing his first nonfiction book last spring (Through a Screen Darkly, Regal Books, 2007), Response Contributing Editor Jeffrey Overstreet ’94 capped off the year by publishing his first novel in “The Auralia Thread” fantasy series. Auralia’s Colors (WaterBrook Press, September 2007), which Publishers Weekly calls “masterfully told,” relates a tale about the triumph of art and imagination.

Abascar, a disheartened kingdom, lies under threat inside and out. From another territory, it seems, arrives young Auralia. A bewildering artist, she weaves together objects from nature, forming shimmering gifts for the kingdom’s poor. Auralia goes against the grain, since the common folk have been forbidden to wear colors, thanks to rulers who claim colors for their palace only.

“Auralia came about because of what she did rather than who she was,” Overstreet recalls. “Her character was in part inspired by people I’m fascinated with, who collect things others would pass by. I tend to keep in touch with people who are relentlessly imaginative. I wanted to tell a story about them.”

While growing up, Overstreet read more than his share of classic fantasy writers such as George MacDonald and J.R.R. Tolkien. But since high school, Overstreet’s fantasy writing has been inspired more by nonfiction writers and poets such as Annie Dillard, Scott Cairns, and Thomas Merton. “They’ve taught me what language can do,” he says. “I get more story ideas from the sermons of my pastor, Michael Kelly, than from fantasies written today. Most contemporary fantasies are, let’s face it, someone else’s version of The Lord of the Rings.”

Already, readers of all ages have asked what happens in the rest of the series. Does Auralia return?

In Overstreet’s mind, he says, Auralia isn’t the main character of the series, but her art is: “In the next three books, we follow some of her work, pieces of her imagination passed from character to character or discovered in the wild. We find what those pieces do to transform lives, bringing down the greedy and the powerful.”

Why write fantasy? “Fantasy, more than any other genre,” says Overstreet, “strips away technology to focus on nature. Without all the interruptions, we’re more in touch with the way God speaks through elemental things.” And children’s stories — such as the fantasy series Overstreet has created — “command us to have more faith, because they’re written for an audience with extraordinary faith.”

Editor’s Note: Auralia’s Colors can be purchased at or

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