Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites


Tigard teacher goes from science to fiction

After more than 20 years in the making, Steve Davala releases his first novel


by: TIMES PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Local author Steve Davala teaches science in West Linn, but said he has always while his children Kyra and Jace explore Cook Park in Tigard. For many teachers, the summer is a good chance to relax and enjoy a good book.

For Steve Davala, it was the chance to write one.

Davala, 40, a Tigard resident who works as a science and math teacher at Rosemont Ridge Middle School in West Linn, regularly spends his summers contributing science articles and short stories to magazines and websites across the country. But this year, he took the plunge as a novelist when he decided to self-publish his first book, “The Soulkind Awakening,” a fantasy novel.

For Davala, who said he has always considered himself a writer, it’s the chance to get his story out without having to deal with large publishing houses.

“(Writing) was something that I liked to do, but it was never something I thought I could do exclusively,” he said.

His novel, “The Soulkind Awakening,” is now available online as an e-book and in paperback.

In truth, Davala said, he has always enjoyed writing but had never attempted anything as ambitious as penning a novel.

Yet over the years, the story for a fantasy novel kept hammering away inside his head.

“The Soulkind Awakening” was inspired by an incident after he returned from a trip to Prague in 1995, he said.

Weeks after returning home, he found a rock in his pocket that he had picked up while on this trip.

Touching the rock brought him back to that place in his mind, and he decided to incorporate that idea into a story.

“The Soulkind Awakening” is about magic returning to the world after 1,000 years and a boy who can see the history of a place by touching stones.

Davala wrote a rough version of the story 13 years ago, slowly polishing it and seeking input from his two children, Kyra and Jace, as well as his students.

“No matter how many times you read something you’ve written, you can find something wrong with it,” he said.

'Excitement, magic and sad parts'

'The Soulkind Awakening' is available on Amazon.comAlthough it hasn’t been available until now, the novel has played a big part in Davala’s life. The protagonist’s name served as a source of inspiration for his family.

“We liked the name so much we named our son after him,” Davala said.

The novel also features a dog, which bears a striking resemblance to the Davala family dog.

Jace, now 6, and his 8-year-old sister Kyra said they like to listen to the story when their father reads it to them.

“I like that it has a lot of excitement and a lot of magic, and there are sad parts,” Kyra said.

In the competitive world of book publishing, more aspiring authors have taken to self-producing their work, rather than dealing with large publishing houses, Davala said.

Even if the novel doesn’t become an international smash hit, Davala said he doesn't regret getting his novel on bookshelves and in the hands of readers.

“What do I really want from this? It’s about getting your ideas out there,” he said. “I write because I love to write, not because I want to make a ton of money.”

At Rosemont Ridge, Davala said he encourages his students to write if they have their own story to tell.

“Writing is fun — it’s a great hobby,” he said. “Now that it is out, I can move on.”

And his love of fantasy novels doesn’t end at his own work. He hosts a "Lord of the Rings" club during lunch, where he and students read the books and watch the films.

“That series really encouraged me to want to write,” he said. “That was my first sci-fi and fantasy love as a kid.”

Davala said the novel is suitable for middle school-aged students.

“When you are writing fantasy, everything has been done, so everything seems so cliché. You have to think about how can you break away and still keep that fantasy appeal to it,” he said.

Since the book became available in April, Davala said several of his students have picked it up.

“It’s so weird hearing people talk about my characters,” he said.

Davala is currently writing a sequel to “The Soulkind Awakening.”




Local Weather

Cloudy

47°F

Tigard

Cloudy

Humidity: 83%

Wind: 6 mph

  • 19 Apr 2014

    Rain 58°F 42°F

  • 20 Apr 2014

    Partly Cloudy 69°F 47°F