Sunday, November 8, 2009

Woman's hobby is a book in progress

Telegram Staff Writer

She's got a whole world inside her head.
And she's trying to share it the only way she can - with her art.
'It's a very dark, very serious futuristic story about a female bounty hunter who's on a quest for revenge,' said Samantha Oliver of Killeen. 'Her brother was killed in front of her, and there's great sadness in her life.'
Entitled 'The Hunter,' her story started as a writing sample for a college scholarship application.
'I kept on writing and writing, and by the time I got to page 15, I still wasn't done,' Mrs. Oliver said. 'I missed the application deadline, but it didn't matter.'
She had created a parallel universe.
'And I had to get to the end of the story,' she said.
But it's not a story that relies solely on words. 'The Hunter' is a graphic novel.
So Mrs. Oliver is creator of both prose and art.
'The talent's natural, I guess,' she said. 'It's in my family.' Her mother, Grace Keller of Dallas, taught her how to draw, and her father, Ron, is an amateur novelist.
'My dad bought me my first comic book, the first issue of Cat Woman, when I was 5 or 6,' Mrs. Oliver said. 'And since then, I've been hooked on the fantasy world.'
Growing up, she read the XMen, watched Star Trek and went to 'nerdy conventions' with her father.
And when video games made their debut, Mrs. Oliver became an instant fan. Today, she's on level 56 of Final Fantasy, and her husband is a World of Warcraft fanatic.
'There's all these neat worlds out there,' Mrs. Oliver said. 'I get inspiration from everywhere, and it's something I can't help. The desire to write and draw, it just comes.'
So she writes and illustrates the shadow world of 'The Hunter' in two to three-page increments every night - after her day job. She works full time as an associate at a Temple print shop.
'The story is mostly finished,' Mrs. Oliver said. 'There are few scenes that I need to iron out.'
Her biggest task is to complete and color her drawings.
'That process takes longer,' she said. 'There's always something I want to modify.'
Her eventual goal is to bind, print and publish her novel, 'The Hunter.'
She doesn't an agent or financial backer.
'This project is coming out of my pocket,' Mrs. Oliver said. 'And that's OK. It's a labor of love. I'll consider it a success if I can get it printed. If I happen to start my own graphic design company along the way, well that's gravy.'
Fellow artist Henry Felschow of Salado, an amateur comic book arist, thinks Mrs. Oliver has what it takes to make her dream come true.
'I love her artwork,' he said. 'Her style is unique, and it's obvious she knows what she's doing.'
You've just got to give her a piece of paper to see what she's thinking about.

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