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Linda Rader Overman is so proud of her former student Natalie Grill who was a winner of the Oliver W. Evans Writing Prize in Fall 2023--Well done!!

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Letters Between Us: Press Release & Interview by CSUN

Below is really great interview conducted with my by Nichole O'Grady CSUN Public Relations about my novel Letters Between Us--thanks so much!

"CSUN Professor Resurrects Art of Writing Letters With New Publication"

(NORTHRIDGE, Calif., Aug. 8, 2008) ― People, smells and objects have the power to recall memories throughout a person’s lifetime. For Cal State Northridge English professor Linda Overman, writing letters reminds her of a childhood once forgotten, inspiring her to author a book in hopes of immortalizing the past.

In “Letters Between Us,” Overman uses written letters to create character relationships that develop into an intricate plot of murder, mystery and self-revelation. The book is scheduled for release this October.

“It’s about a troubled writer’s search to understand a friend’s mysterious death at a mental institution leading to her own self-discovery and transformation,” said Overman.

Main character, Laura Wells, attends a memorial service for her childhood friend, Katharine Taylor, whose body was discovered in a garbage dump. After obtaining boxes of her own correspondence with Taylor as well as her friend’s diary, Wells heads down a 26-year-old path only to reveal a past she never quite understood.

Wanting to give readers an experience similar to what other authors have given her, Overman is pleased to present her first novel.

“I love to lose myself in a literary world that pulls me to live and breathe the fictional ‘reality’ that an author gifts us with, at times, in order to forget the burdens of our own,” she said. “Reading should help us to transcend our peripatetic lives and in the process guide us to learn something more about our world and ourselves.”

The inspiration for “Letters Between Us” came after an old schoolmate of Overman’s passed away. Although the two had not recently been in touch, she recalled how losing a friend she had known since adolescence “felt like losing a part of my own childhood.”

“That shared history with that particular friend is partially gone,” she said. “We had enjoyed a writing relationship, starting with passing notes in class and trying to not get caught by the teacher. So to fill that gap, I decided it would be fascinating to write a series of letters between two young girls the old fashioned way ― with pen and paper.”

Written in epistolary form, Overman faced the challenge of recreating letters that not only tell a story but grows with the characters over time. Stylistically, when writing the correspondence between the two as young girls, Overman left in mistakes, scratch outs and “silly symbols kids often use for emphasis” to make it authentic.

“It became a challenge to recreate the voices of two hormonal adolescents,” said Overman, “and to give them each a distinctive and unique voice recreating the teenage-speak of the 1960s and 1970s. From there, the novel grew.”

The CSUN alum is happy to have completed her first book after 18 years of life’s interruptions, she said.

“I am currently immersed in the publicity and marketing of the work and that is quite a different and dizzying experience,” said Overman. “Needless to say, I am thrilled, terrified, excited and hopeful all at the same time.”

For more information on “Letters Between Us,” visit http://lindaraderoverman.com.