Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Meet Steve O'Brien, author of Elijah's Coin
Steve O'Brien's Young Adult novel, Elijah's Coin, was a fascinating read with some serious lessons revolving round the curious Elijah who gives a special coin to a wounded young man. You can read my review of Elijah's Coin on Gather by clicking on the link.
I'm delighted to welcome Steve to my blog today to tell us more about his book and where the idea to write it came from.
Steve O’Brien is a lawyer and fiction writer. His first book Elijah’s Coin received nine literary awards. Bullet Work, his second novel, will be released in Spring 2011
Over to you Steve:
The concept for Elijah’s Coin is an adaptation of historical Jewish writings about the prophet Elijah and his use of coins as symbols of transformation.
In one story Elijah meets two brothers, one is wealthy and the other is quite poor. The wealthy brother rebukes Elijah, while the poverty stricken brother takes Elijah in and gives him food and shelter. Elijah gives the poor man several coins and asks him to count them. He begins counting and counting and counting. The coins multiply and the man becomes miraculously wealthy. The man was rewarded for his kindness to a stranger.
In another story Elijah gives two coins to a man and he as well becomes wealthy beyond his dreams. Several months later Elijah returns and takes back the two coins, which in turn causes the man to lose all of his wealth. The reason Elijah took the coins back was that the man did not provide assistance and charity to his community despite the great wealth he had accumulated.
In a third story Elijah asks a young man whether he would rather have money, wisdom or a beautiful wife. The young man chooses wealth and Elijah gives him a coin, which the man turns into a great fortune. The three choices were given to the man because he had cared for his father’s garden and made it more prosperous. Since he had given of his time and energies to improve his father’s business, Elijah rewarded the son.
All of the Elijah “coin” stories have a common theme.
A coin was given which resulted in good fortune or success. Bestowing the coin in each case was itself an act of kindness and rewarded acts of kindness by each recipient. Thus, evoking kindness and evincing the “give to get” philosophy.
The coin, however, comes with obligations. If one does not behave as Elijah wished, the good fortune can be whisked away along with the coin.
In my adaptation, Elijah is an elderly mentor. He finds individuals who are struggling and offers to help them change their lives. A coin is presented and the mentee must then travel a personal journey to learn the message and the purpose of the coin.
As with the Jewish teachings about the prophet returning and taking back the coin, the characters in Elijah’s Coin must embrace the rules surrounding the coin and change the way they live their lives.
Elijah’s Coin is about evoking kindness, about “giving to get” and, ultimately through application of Elijah King’s rules, about personal transformation.
Thank you Steve. I really enjoyed Elijah's Coin. Readers can find the book at