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Baylor professor pens novels

Sept. 30, 2003

By Ryan Kite, reporter

While Greg Garrett, associate professor of English, manages to be a father and multitalented artist, his novels have granted him the most attention. With two novels and a book about The Matrix already released, Garrett is paving a way for fiction writers that love the details of life.

Garrett's novels Freebird and Cycling both center around men that have experienced loss and that have not completely embraced life.

The main characters from both novels have to overcome their past to move on with their lives.

'When I write a story there really has to be something to be conquered,' Garrett said. 'The ideas of grace and hope and redemption and faith - those are important in my writings.'

Garrett adds semblances of real life by writing pieces of himself into his characters. Cycling's protagonist, Brad Cannon, rides basically the same 30-mile bike trek around Waco that Garrett took when he lived in Hewitt 10 years ago. Garrett also based a killer in Cycling off of a known serial killer that lurked around Central Texas for a few years.

'The process [of creating a character] is something like an actor does when they create a role,' Garrett said. 'You get to know the characters so well, you know how they would react to any situation.'

Garrett set Cycling in Waco using Baylor and other landmarks in his story.

Garrett's latest release is a novel he co-wrote with Chris Seay called The Gospel Reloaded.

This book analyzes the Christian ideas and symbols suggested by The Matrix movies. Questions about the power of faith and perceptions of reality will lead readers to ponder what they accept as truth and fiction, he said.

'Chris has preached about The Matrix and I have taught about it,' Garrett said. 'We were also looking for an excuse to work together.'

Garrett relates The Matrix to the differences in religion. Buddhists, Christians, pagans and a variety of other religions all clamor to grab the world's attention and give answers, he said.

'The Matrix is kind of a microcosm of the world. You have all these choices to choose from about what to believe,' Garrett said. 'We have to choose one that makes sense to us. Neo [the movie's main character] chooses one way, and we get to see where that takes him.'

Garrett is scheduled to speak, in October, with a panel at the Austin Film Festival that includes high profile writers and producers like the Weitz brothers and director Bryan Singer.

Garrett received a bachelor's and master's in English from the University of Central Oklahoma. He later completed his doctorate at Oklahoma State University.

He has a son currently attending Baylor. Garrett lives in Austin and commutes for his classes during the week.