Because of the proximity of Colorado’s majestic mountains to the city, Platt Park resident Joe Beine believes that Denver residents live right next door to paradise.
A similar paradise is the setting for Beine’s latest book, “Made Out of Trees.”
“In the book, nature is going out of balance because of the encroachment of people,” Beine said. “I felt Laurel’s story needed to be out there.”
Laurel is the main character of Beine’s book. She is a nature sprite connected to the elements whose natural world provides her with everything she needs. Laurel is weary of the nearby village, but eventually learns more about it through a friendship with a teenage girl that came about unexpectedly. However, as Laurel starts to explore the world beyond hers, she learns first-hand how humans don’t always live in harmony with nature.
Beine hopes that “Made Out of Trees” will inspire audiences to “learn to be friends with the natural world and be a part of it,” he said.
“Made Out of Trees” came out in late January. It is Beine’s third novella, and he also has a collection of short stories published. Beine, 63, has always had a love of storytelling and geared “Made Out of Trees” toward teen and young adult readers. But Beine believes audiences of all ages will enjoy the book.
“Hopefully,” Beine said, “the magic of the story will be helpful to people during these hard times.”
Q&A with Joe Beine
What inspired you to write “Made out of Trees?”
A character started forming in my head who seemed somehow connected to trees, very close to nature. I didn’t really have a story yet, but I had Laurel — a nature sprite who lived by herself in the forest. And she lived inside a tree surrounded by a lot of books. After I wrote the first chapter, which I thought was going to be a short story, I decided I really liked the character so I just kept writing about her. And I followed her into her forest, into her magical world of wolves and bees and plants, and her story slowly emerged. It was as though she led me into it.
What do you hope readers will take away from the book?
It felt magical writing the story and following Laurel into her world of nature. I hope the reader finds that same magic in the book, especially from light — the sunshine and the rich starshine that’s missing from living in a city. And Laurel’s relationship with water — the nurturing rain and the importance of the stream that wanders by her tree house. I hope the reader sees the story as an allegory for our time and it helps bring people closer to the natural world’s magic.