He calls them “Meditations,” but they could also be called “James Owen-isms.” While simple messages, they are truisms, concrete direction for life, that the Taylor, Ariz., author and illustrator James A. Owen, has not only lived by, but that have served as his comfort during trials and his springboard to success.
Now, those “life-changing” Meditations will be available to readers everywhere as part of a three-book deal James recently signed with Shadow Mountain Publishing.
That deal came on the heels-in fact, the very next day-after he penned a contract with the same company for a five-novel series-making eight forthcoming books in all.
Working out of his Coppervale Studio, the renovated version of the first LDS Church building constructed in Taylor, James Owen has already built a name for himself as an imaginative writer and illustrator-creator extraordinaire-of two dozen “StarChild” comics, the MythWorld series of novels, and the bestselling series published by Simon and Shuster called “The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica.”
Yet, his success has been hard won, including having to face serious illness as a child, working to recover from an accident that crushed his drawing hand and dealing with crippling financial challenges.
Still, James has emerged with more than a “can do” attitude.
“I think the greatest responsibility I have is in showing people that one can face adversarial circumstances and still find a way to use the gifts you’ve been given to help other people and enrich their lives,” he explains.
He has employed his own “Meditations” to: “Never, ever, sacrifice what you want the most, for what you want the most at that moment.”
He recognizes that he is poised to take another giant step in fulfilling that as the first four of the eight books with Shadow Mountain will be published this year.
“I’m entrusting them with my crown jewels,” James says,
The Mediations trilogy-including Drawing Out the Dragons, which was originally self-published with limited distribution; The Barbizon Diaries, coming out this summer, and The Grand Design, to be released in the fall-will be hardcover editions with two-color illustrations.
James says the trilogy reveals his personal story and “the most difficult situations I’ve been through” in hopes that others will understand how trials can “refine you, purify you.”
“The description I hear of them most often is ‘life-changing’ and I’ve been asked, ‘Do you know how many lives you are going to save with these?'”
Similarly, but in a bit less direct manner, the novels of the Fool’s Hollow series, the first of which will release in October and the second in December, are deeply personal.
They reveal :”everything that is important to me in this life,” James says. “They speak of families and how families and stories bind us together.”
He adds, “They are the fairytales behind StarChild,” a series James started two decades ago, but which was never completed.
A description by Shadow Mountain states, “Fool’s Hollow will be a grand retelling of-and completion of-the StarChild saga and will include dozens of all new, original illustrations,”
“Fool’s Hollow is the work closest to my heart,” James says.
Chris Schoebinger, publishing creative director for the publishing house, says, “Shadow Mountain is excited to welcome Mr. Owen to our publishing family. James Owen is a master-storyteller with a penchant for bringing out the best in people. We look forward to a long and lasting partnership with him.”
To learn more, see samples of James Owen’s illustrations or to read his blog and latest Meditations, visit his new website atwww.jamesaowen.com, or find him on Facebook at:http://www.facebook.com/CoppervaleStudio