Raven Oak, 2013
December 21, 1977 |
Riverside, California, U.S.
|Education||B.S., 2001; M.S., 2005|
|Alma mater||University of North Texas|
|Genres||Fantasy, science fiction, dark fantasy|
|Spouse(s)||Erik Carson (1996–present)|
Raven Oak (born December 21, 1977 in Riverside, California) is an American author, whose written works range from science fiction & fantasy to cross-genre. The majority of her novels are epic fantasy, with her first set to come out in January 2015. She wrote her first novel, a 320-page fantasy work at age twelve. She is also a pianist and songwriter, whose musical works deal with the survival side of life. Currently residing in Seattle, WA, Raven Oak is currently focusing on writing novels full-time.
Oak grew up in many places around the U.S. including California, Michigan, Oklahoma, Florida, and Texas, where she eventually attended Richland College and later the University of North Texas as a music major. A military child, her family moved frequently until they settled in Texas in 1989. Her maternal grandmother was a public school teacher in California and under her tutelage, Raven Oak was reading and writing at age three.
After high school, the rest of the family moved out of state, but Raven Oak remained in North Texas to attend college and received both her Bachelor of Science Degree and Master of Science Degree in CECS from UNT.
Raven Oak has written stories for as long as she can remember, and before that, she was telling them. She wrote her first novel, "The Cry of the Dragon" at age twelve. The novel was heavily influenced by Anne McCaffrey's Pern novels.
She spent middle and high school "devouring all the science fiction and fantasy novels" she could find, and her writing shifted towards the authors who influenced her most: Neil Gaiman and Connie Willis. Raven Oak was the vice president of her high school's "Writer's Guild," a club for aspiring writers. Its faculty adviser was author Linda L. Donahue (writer of The Four Redheads of the Apocalypse), who mentored Oak on writing and invited her to join a local writers' critique group. While Raven Oak learned how to critique, she struggled with finding her own voice. It wasn't until her late-twenties that she felt her craft up to par.
In the winter of 2012, Raven Oak retired from teaching computers and moved to Seattle, WA to pursue her full-time writing career. She's a member of several local writing organizations such as the Pacific Northwest Writers Association, Magnolia Chapter One, and the Northwest Science Fiction Society. As part of Magnolia Chapter One, she has authored several articles on the craft of writing and writing life.
She completed five novels in 2013 and her first fantasy novel, Amaskan's Blood, is set to be released in January 2015. When she's not busy writing novels, she often posts about writing or reading on her blog, including a section called "Flashback Friday," where she reviews a science-fiction or fantasy novel she read as a child that influenced her as a writer.
- Amaskan's Blood (January 2015).
- TruthWeaver: A Novel of The Dark Crystal (written for the Jim Henson Author Quest)
- B.M.A. (Bad Mothers Anonymous) (Early 2015)
While Oak continued writing novels throughout college, she began her university studies as a music composition and theory major, her primary instrument being the piano. A piano player since the age of five, she was gifted with the ability to play by ear. Her ability to learn instruments quickly gained her the spot of 1st chair in her middle school's top band just two months after joining beginning band. She was also named 1st chair in the All-Region Honor Band.
Despite her musical gifts, she found the University of North Texas music program stiffing as it tried to pigeonhole her into being a musician in jazz or opera, rather than classical contemporary one. In 2001, she changed majors to CECS and released her first CD, "Walls, Boxes, & Jars." The CD's sales donated to RAINN, the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network. RAINN, founded by musician Tori Amos, is America's only national hotline for rape and abuse.
Of Raven's music, Score! Music says: "Perfectly stunning musical compositions that, though they lack vocals, do not lack in emotional impact; it’s as though one can venture inside Raven’s being through her beautiful piano work. Think Tori Amos unplugged and without lyrics." Splendid Magazine says, "...Oak transcends the damning excesses of the Lilith Fair ghetto...if it's the job of a musician to tell stories through her instruments, Raven Oak does her job exceedingly well."
Her music career is currently on hiatus with an unknown release date for her second album, titled "Fight or Flight."
Shaded Tree Records
- Walls, Boxes, & Jars
- Fight or Flight (unknown release date)
- Oak, Raven., Official Website Biography.
- Magnolia Chapter One., Oak, Raven, "When Words Fail a Writer."
- Oak, Raven., Official Website Blog.
- Donahue, Linda., Official Website.
- , Oak, Raven. Official Bibliography.
- Score! Music Magazine., Jeanne. October 2002.
- Splendid E-Zine., Matthew Pollesel. February 22, 2002.
- Official Webpage: http://www.ravenoak.net