'The Overcomers'

New book by area authors and film underway by former YHS grad

Carmen GeorgeSeptember 26, 2012 

Area authors Howard Kent and Elizabeth Stephens have big hopes for their new book "The Overcomers" -- a fictional story about everyday people overcoming obstacles to solve a big murder mystery, set in Oakhurst.

The authors describe the flavor of the story as a blend of the TV shows "Touched by an Angel" and "The X-Files."

They've also started filming a movie in the area based on their book, what they hope will eventually put Oakhurst on the map the way "Twilight" did for Forks, Wash.

Andrew Platfoot, owner of Platform Studios and a 1991 Yosemite High School graduate, is filming and producing the production. The former post-production film specialist, whose worked on green screens adding special effects for television commercials and short films, is filming the movie with a new high-definition, "theater-quality" video camera.

Things have started to move quickly, with Edwards Cinemas recently agreeing to show the film one night on a screen in Fresno as part of a campaign to support aspiring film makers.

Working on the novel and movie has been an exciting experience for the trio. By day, Kent of Oakhurst works in security as a loss prevention officer at Tenaya Lodge, where Platfoot also works as its restaurant manager. Stephens of Madera works as an emergency medical technician at Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino in Coarsegold.

But by night -- or days off the job -- the three hang up their uniforms and delve into their passions: weaving new works of entertainment.

"Everyone should have a project in life, something they enjoy doing, and this is ours," Kent said. "The ultimate goal is maybe one day having our own production company ... You start with little baby steps and work your way up."

The baby steps are working, with their novel already available for purchase in paperback on Amazon.com, Amazon.com/UK, Barnes& Noble.com, Kindle, Nook and iPad.

The original manuscript for "The Overcomers" was written 20 years ago by Kent, and was originally published in 2008 as a "Christian graphic novel." Kent, also a husband and father of two, later joined forces with his friend Stephens, a mother of one from Madera, to turn the comic book into a full-length novel.

"The Overcomers," the first in a series still being written, centers around four people who have come together to unravel the mystery of a traveling cult that they believe is responsible for bizarre murders of Christian leaders near Oakhurst. The four heroes and heroines discover they have each been given divine, God-gifted powers to use against forces of evil. The duo say the book is easy reading for young adults and grown-ups alike, and that it's "not a religious book, but rather a great fiction tale of action and suspense."

"When you start hurting people in the name of God, that's wrong, and that's all around," Kent said. "The characters in this story get embroiled in that. This is a story about helping those in need, and 'Let me get my life in order first.' It's all about giving instead of receiving."

"All around us, we always see inspiration," Stephens said. "And we always use that to come up with things for our writing."

The authors said they did extensive character profiling research before they started writing, basing their characters' personalities and struggles on real-life people and situations in order to offer readers more valuable advice throughout the story.

"Hopefully people can relate to one of the characters," Kent said. "It's about learning how to make the right choices, no matter what you believe -- being moralistic and ethical in decision making."

Details: To learn more about "The Overcomers," go to Facebook.com/theovercomerstheseries, where memorabilia is also available for purchase. Those interested in making a donation to help fund the filming of the movie, being put together by an all-volunteer cast, can email Kent at hkent70@yahoo.com.

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