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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Spotlight on Robert Elmer and The Owling


ROBERT ELMER has 28 years of experience as a news editor and reporter, freelance writer and advertising copywriter, technical writer, assistant pastor, workshop leader and novelist. During this time he has written, co-written, edited and collaborated on everything from trade articles and corporate brochures to radio scripts, biographies, appeal letters, ad campaigns, policy and procedure manuals, and full-length novels.

He has written and published more than 50 books under his own name, including youth and YA series like Shadowside and The Wall (for Zondervan/HarperCollins), The Young Underground, Adventures Down Under, Promise of Zion, AstroKids (all for Bethany House/Baker) and HyperLinkz (for WaterBrook/Random House) along with several novels for adults, including The Duet, The Celebrity, The Recital and Like Always (all for WaterBrook/Random House).

Robert also recently updated the devotional classic Practicing God�s Presence (NavPress) and co-authored Off My Case for Kids (Zondervan/HarperCollins) with national speaker Lee Strobel. He is a graduate of Simpson College and St. Mary's College in California, with a B.A. degree in communications and Bible, as well as an elementary teaching credential. When he's not writing (or sailing), he often speaks to young audiences across North America, encouraging them to develop their own writing skills. He's a mentor and board member for the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild in Colorado Springs. Robert and his wife Ronda are the parents of three young adults and live in the panhandle of Idaho.

by Robert Elmer
Published by Zondervan


Life gets even more confusing for fifteen-year-old Oriannon when her former music mentor, Jesmet, miraculously returns from the dead and promises his students a special power called Numa. But he's not the only one offering hope. Sola, Corista's charismatic head of Security, proposes the Ultimate Solution for peace and recruits Oriannon to help her carry out the plan. But Oriannon's friends are skeptical and try to convince her that the plan brutalizes the once-peaceful Owling people. Will Oriannon embrace Sola's solution as the answer to Corista's ancient dilemma? Or will she instead believe the untested promises of a mystical holy man?

Here's a link to YouTube, where Robert posted a trailer of the Owling --

Buy Your Copy of The Owling Today!


1. What gave you the inspiration for this story?

The Owling is the continuation, the second installment in the "Shadowside" trilogy. Since I love all kinds of space and sci-fi stories, but don't particularly like the darkness or hopelessness of that genre, I wanted to present an exciting story with Biblical undertones that pointed to hope. Readers will see the parallels, even though it's an original story and doesn't attempt to be a full-on Biblical allegory. But the parallels are there.

2. How much of your own experiences influenced your characters? What aspects became traits that are theirs and theirs alone?

Oriannon--the main character--is brave, original, courageous, and flawed. Her friend Margus is creative, loyal, constant, at times cautious and other times reckless, and often bumbling. I don't usually model my characters 100-percent on anyone I know, or even after myself. At the same time, I love to build characters that we can all identify with, even a little bit.

But as far as experiences that influenced my characters, well... I haven't yet been to space, but that would be cool!

3. If one of your characters were an ice cream flavor, what he/she be and why?

Oriannon would be Rocky Road, because she has chunks of greatness mixed in with the ordinary vanilla. Though she's a girl who lives on another planet, and she gets roped into some of the most incredible adventures, we see that she's just like us, too! That's why I've enjoyed writing this character, and her best friend Margus. It's sci-fi for the rest of us, fantasy for people who might not otherwise pick up a fantasy. That's what I set out to write. And by the way, I also set out to write characters who would resonate with both boy and girl readers, teens and even older. So this is an ice cream flavor that everyone should enjoy. And in these stories, Oriannon is on a figurative rocky road, as well.

4. What themes exist in The Owling that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?

Among other things, readers will pick out themes of loyalty and faith, betrayal and love. Because Shadowside is inspired by themes and stories found in the Gospels and the Book of Acts, these kinds of themes are hard to miss. I wouldn't say that added themes popped up as the story progressed, but I saw the characters deepen with time. I hope readers enjoy that aspect as much as I enjoyed writing it.

5. What were your most difficult parts to write? Your favorite?

The hardest parts to write were the ones that mirrored the toughest parts of the Gospel narratives. When you read Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, what are the parts that bring tears to your eyes? When they made it into the Shadowside drama, those are the very same parts that were toughest for me to write. And this is the cool part�they were also my favorite. For example, there's a scene where Oriannon and her friends are preparing for a concert, and one of her friends falls from the top of a ladder. Their music mentor, Jesmet, shows up just then, and... Hey, I'm not giving it away! You'll have to read the first book, Trion Rising, to find out what happened there. In The Owling, however, some of the most difficult scenes were those where Oriannon is trapped and helpless, and there's no way out of the mess she's in. I don't want to explain too much... again, not to give it away. :)

6. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?

Book 3 in the trilogy, called Beyond Corista, is set to release next May. It's the conclusion of events set into motion in both TRION RISING and THE OWLING. You've got to read it, if you read the first two.

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Thank you, Bob, for being in the spotlight with us.

Readers, leave a comment for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of The Owling.

If you wish to comment but don't want to be entered, say so when you post. Make sure you also leave your email address (name at domainname Wouldn't want you to miss out on winning a book. :)

And if you want to make certain you don't miss anything, check the box that says 'email follow-up comments to:' when you leave a comment and they'll be sent to the email address associated with your blogging account. That way you'll be notified of any comments and will know when I announce the winner.

This week, the contest is open to anyone worldwide.

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windycindy said...

Such a fun sounding story with great and interesting characters! I would appreciate being entered in your drawing. Many thanks, Cindi

ChristyJan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ChristyJan said...

I enjoyed reading this spotlight with Bob.
THE OWLING sounds like a great read ~ please enter me to win a copy.


Tiffany Amber Stockton said...

We have a winner from this drawing and that is:


Congratulations! I've sent your mailing information to Bob so he can send out your book.

Everyone else, check out interviews with Megan DiMaria and J.M. Hochstetler to see if you've won.

As always, thanks for your continued support.