Monday, November 4, 2013

Interview Feature: James L. Rubart

Dear imps, I am very pleased to be able to introduce to you today a man who has made quite a mark on the speculative fiction scene in recent history! His best-selling, award-winning novels have been compared to such authors Frank Peretti, but this gentleman has carved out his own unique niche as well. Suspenseful, innovative, thrilling, and full of faith, his stories have been welcomed by eager fans since the release of his debut novel, Rooms. I give you . . . James L. Rubart!

James L. Rubart is the best-selling and Christy Award winning author of Rooms, Book of Days, The Chair, Soul's Gate, and Memory's Door. During the day he runs Barefoot Marketing which helps businesses and authors make more coin of the realm. In his free time he dirt bikes, hikes, golfs, takes photos, and occasionally does sleight of hand. No, he doesn't sleep much. He lives with his amazing wife and teenage sons in the Pacific Northwest and still things he's young enough to water ski like a madman. More at

And here is a little more info on his newest novel, Memory's Door, which is the sequel to Christy Award-winning Soul's Gate:

The prophecy brought them together. But the Wolf has risen, and now their greatest battle begins.
The four members of Warriors Riding have learned to wage war in the supernatural, to send their spirits inside people’s souls, to battle demonic forces, and to bring deep healing to those around them.

But their leader Reece is struggling with the loss of his sight. Brandon is being stalked at his concerts by a man in the shadows. Dana’s career is threatening to bury her. And Marcus questions his sanity as he seems to be slipping in and out of alternate realities.

And now the second part of the prophecy has come true. The Wolf is hunting them and has set his trap. He circles, feeding on his supernatural hate of all they stand for. And he won’t stop until he brings utter destruction to their bodies . . .and their souls.

James is with us for an interview today . . . and for an exciting double-prize giveaway, so be certain to check that out at the end of the post!


Welcome, James! Glad you could be with us today. Would you mind telling us a little about yourself? Hobbies, personality . . . tea or coffee?
James: Coffee—although my friends say I don’t drink java, I drink cream with a little bit of coffee sprinkled in. Hobbies? Water skiing, backpacking, playing guitar, doing sleight of hand, photography, dirt biking … yeah, I have a lot of interests. I’ve lived all my life in the Pacific Northwest, have been married to my amazing wife for 27 years, and have two sons, Taylor (20) and Micah (18). 
What led you into the writing life? Were you always a storyteller?
James: Yes, always a storyteller, and I’ve always felt led to the writing life, but for a long time I was too scared to leap off the cliff and try it. Because what do you do if your biggest dream crashes and burns? What is your purpose then? But in the spring of 2002, my wife went on a fast without knowing why or for how long. After three days, a light bulb exploded over my head and I felt like God said, “I’ve given you this gift, I’ve given you this desire, when are you going to step into your destiny?” I turned to Darci as we were driving home and said, “I know why you’re fasting. I’m supposed to be a novelist.” She said, “Wait a minute, I’m hungry for three days, and you get the answer?
We both laughed, but that was the start of me going after the dream of becoming a published author. I finished by first novel (ROOMS) three years later, and it was published in 2010.
Tell us a little about your new novel,
Memory’s Door. How long did you work on this story? How did the idea come to you?
James: Memory’s Door is the second novel in my Well Spring series, and the heart of this story is regret. What do we do with our regrets? How do we get free of them? At the time I wrote the story I was going through a period of having to face my own deepest regrets, so those trials were interwoven into the story to a great degree.
Can you pick a favorite character from this new novel?
James: Although I have four main characters, more of the focus in Memory’s Door is on University of Washington physics professor, Marcus Amber. He is dealing with the deepest regret of his life—one that threatens to split up his marriage, and destroy the Warriors Riding as well. I think readers will care about him because all of us wrestle with regrets that keep us from living fully in the present. So I believe readers will long for Marcus to get free of the past and at the same time find freedom from their own regrets.
What inspires your work? Where do you turn when you need a renewal of inspiration?
James: Everywhere, but specifically, the outdoors (beauty), reading, music, deep conversations with my wife and friends, and spending time with the Trinity.
What are your favorite and least favorite parts of the writing process?
Getting that first draft done is exhausting. I’m a classic seat-of-the-pants writer, so it’s an exhilarating adventure to see where the story is going, but extremely tiring at the same time. but once I’m finished, I love going back and adding and fixing what was wrong the first time through.
If you were forced to pick a single favorite author, who would it be?
James: Have to go with C.S. Lewis. When I read The Chronicles of Narnia as a ten year old kid, I knew I wanted to try to do for others what Lewis had done for me—which was to whisk me off to new worlds and make me think in ways I never had before. Lewis did fiction, non-fiction, adult, children’s … and did them all brilliantly.
So what is next on your publishing horizons? Can we look forward to more books in the Well Springs series?
James: Yes! One more, called, The Spirit Bridge. It’s the first novel I’ve written where I’ve liked it right after it’s finished. (Usually it takes me about three months before I can look back on my stories and say, “That’s not too bad.”) It releases in May of 2014 and I think it’s pretty epic.
What are you actively writing right now?
James: Working on my next novel (the one coming out after The Spirit Bridge) as well as a screenplay.
Can you share a short snippet from Memory’s Door?
James: But of course!

Snippet from

Memory's Door

Brandon Scott finished the second to last song of his first set on Friday evening and scanned the back of the arena looking for the stalker. If the man had come again and kept his pattern the same, he’d stand and walk out within a few seconds. He’d done it every time for the past five concerts when the band finished Running Free.
No one but his manager, Kevin and Brandon’s bass player, Anthony, knew about the guy—Brandon hadn’t even hinted about it to any of the Warriors except to Marcus earlier in the day. For one thing, he’d been on the road for three weeks and wanted to talk to all of them about it at the same time, and in person. For another, he wanted to figure out if it was just your friendly neighborhood whacko or something darker, like Zennon.
They’d seen little of the demon during the past ten months. Yes, there had been minor skirmishes, but most of their days had been filled with going deeper into the Spirit and helping set others free. But now? Maybe this was part of Zennon’s resurgence. Maybe the stalker was Zennon. Brandon had asked the Spirit repeatedly about the tall, thick, man who stuck to the shadows of the halls they’d played in over the past two weeks, but he’d gotten no answer, no clue as to what action to take.
Brandon pushed back his longish, dirty blond hair and squinted against the glare of the spotlights bathing his band and him in dark reds and blues. Where was the guy? Was it over? Maybe he’d stopped coming. Brandon scoffed. Yeah, right.
“Wake up, Song Boy. One more tune.” His bass player bumped his shoulder into Brandon’s. “You with us?”
“In a second.” Brandon scanned back over the crowd. Each time the guy sat on the left side of whatever hall Brandon was playing, two-thirds of the way back.
“Are you looking for the guy again?”
“Lucky guess.”
Anthony thumped out a bass line, probably to keep the crowd from wondering why the concert had screeched to a halt. “If he was stalking you, he’d have approached you by now, sent a note, sent flowers, done something. Let it go. Maybe he’s just a mega-fan.”
“Yeah, a mega-fan who just happens to have an ax in the trunk of his car.”
“Men don’t stalk men.”
“They don’t?”
“Well.” His bass player grinned. “Not typically.”
“I’ll be sure to mention that to the guy when he shows up knocking on my bedroom door at two in the morning with an Uzi in his pocket. I’ll call you, hand the guy my cell, and you can tell him he shouldn’t be there.”
Brandon made another scan of the room. Nothing. Wait. There. Sitting five or six rows back from the spot he usually sat in. Was the guy blond? Wearing a T-shirt? Hard to tell with the lights in Brandon’s eyes and the audience buried in shadows. Two concerts back Brandon asked security to talk to the guy, find out who he was, but they hadn’t been able to corner the man. Which didn’t make sense. He would be hard to miss. The guy had to be almost as tall as Reece.
If he was a stalker, why didn’t he ever try to get to Brandon? And why spend the money just to see the same concert over and over again? Tickets to his shows these days weren’t cheap. Between plane fare and buying a ticket for each show and food while traveling, the guy had to be dropping upwards of five hundred dollars per city.
He’d had strange fans before. Those wanting him to sign non-PG areas of their bodies, those who God supposedly told they were to become a member of his band; there were even a few who thought they were told to come to his house, set up tents, and pray for him every morning at five thirty because, “Jesus rose early to pray, so we’re following the path he has showed us.” But something about this guy was different. He wasn’t your ordinary whack job. Which meant the enemy was most likely involved.
Anthony bumped his shoulder again. “Did you see him?”
“That’s cool. Now can we start playing again?”
“Sure.” Brandon blew out a quick breath and called out the next song to the beat of his foot thumping on the stage. “One, two, three, go!”
An hour later the concert was over, and Brandon stood in front of the stage praying with people, hearing their stories, signing autographs, and scanning the back of the room. There was no use—the stalker had never shown up after a show—but he couldn’t help himself.
As the last concert goer turned and waved one more time at Brandon, Kevin clicked up to him on his right. “Done?”
Brandon glanced at the crew milling around the stage, breaking down their gear. “The stalker was here again.”
“Yeah, Anthony told me.” Kevin nodded. “And we were ready. The guys watched hard.”
Kevin stepped closer and lowered his voice. “They saw him tonight.”
“Apparently he left from a door fifty feet from where two of them stood. They went after the guy.”
“Talk to me.” His heart pounding, Brandon stared at Kevin. “Who is he? What does he want? What’d the guy have to say?”
“They didn’t get to talk to him.”
“Hold it. They see the guy leave the concert, they’re only fifty feet away, and they couldn’t find him?”
Kevin shook his head. “I don’t know what happened. They say they ran after him. Turned the same corner the guy did three seconds earlier, but when they got there the hall was empty. There were only two doors and both were locked. They would have heard a door open and shut anyway.”
Heat washed over Brandon. Zennon. Had to be. Or someone who had figured out how to teleport like he and the other Warriors had. The former was more likely. Fine. Zennon wanted to stalk him? Brandon would hunt the demon in return.
“Next concert I want security racked and stacked every ten yards. We’re going to corner this guy and find out who he is. And if he’s not human, I know who and what he is, and we’ll get ready for that possibility as well.”
“Something right here”—Kevin pointed to his stomach—“tells me there won't need to be a next time.”
Thank you, James, for sharing with us today!
And now, dear imps, James is generously offering a two-part giveaway. The winner will receive a copy of Soul's Gate and Memory's Door, the first two books in the Well Spring series! Be certain to enter your name in the giveaway below, and to thank James for his time today!" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway



Joni said...

A question for James: Once you received the big push from God toward pursuing writing, how was the experience working on ROOMS and before getting published? Did you ever have any doubtful days wondering if you were doing the right thing or did you always have a peace in your heart knowing you were heading in the direction God wanted you to go?

Thanks for the great interview- and the giveaway! ^^

Unknown said...

Hi James! Thanks for sharing about your books, and the fantastic giveaway!

You mention your favourite author is C.S. Lewis (he's one of my favourites, too), and I was just wondering what your absolute favourite of his books is, and if any of the specific themes he covers had directly influenced any of your books or characters? I know the way he wrote "Til We Have Faces" has really helped me embrace bittersweet endings for the sake of the story. Thanks for stopping by the blog, and God bless you in all your endeavours!


Meredith said...

Oh, this is so very exciting! Mr. Rubart, I must thank you for writing Soul's Gate. I found it on audio last year, (you read wonderfully, by the way), and I loved the exploration of the character's struggles with the strongholds in their lives. Being blind, I appreciate finding edifying and suspenseful titles that proclaim spiritual truths. My favorite parts of the novel concerned Dana, Brandon and Marcus' search for the names God had chosen for them, the scene at the church building and the scene where Dana and Brandon enter Marcus' soul. The ending is phenomenal as well. Is Memory's Door in an audio format? Will be praying for all your writing endeavors. God bless you.

taylor2taylor74 said...

Mr. Rubart, Although I have never read either of your books both sound fascinating. I am an avid reader but have never gotten into writing. What would be your advice for someone who wants to start writing? Thanks for the giveaway. I can't wait to begin. May God bless you and your family.

Ryebrynn said...

I like how you became I writer.

What is your favorite genre to write? Why?


Jim Rubart said...

Great question, Joni. While I didn’t have doubts, I did have significant setbacks. And at one point wanted to quit. I tell people my wife talked me off the ledge so many times in those days that she set up a lawn chair out there. As you can tell, I believe God has a destiny for us—but so does the enemy of our souls. It’s not easy to push through into what God has designed us for, but if we’re riding alongside Him, it can (and will) be done.

Hi Rebeka. I love to ask people what book, CD, and DVD they would take to an island if they were going to be there for a year. The book I’d take would be The Chronicles of Narnia. (The all volumes in one book!) Those are the Lewis books that made me want to be a writer. Thanks for your blessing!

Ah, thanks, Meredith. It’s a bit of work doing the audio versions, but I really enjoy it. Yes, Memory’s Door is out on audio. I recorded it last summer and it was so fun to continue Dana, Brandon, Marcus, and Reece’s journey. Much freedom to you!

Advice for aspiring writers: Get a sturdy pair of track shoes. Put them on. Run in the opposite direction as fast as you can! Joking aside, writing at a professional level is incredibly rewarding, but also extremely difficult. If you can think of being trained as a writing like being trained as a brain surgeon, you’ll have the right perspective. It takes years, but it can be done! Two of my favorite books for writers getting started are, Writing Fiction for Dummies by Randy Ingermanson, and Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell. Don’t give up, Taylor!

My favorite genre is Time Travel. I haven’t written a novel involving time travel yet, but I have done part of a short story and have been plotting another story with time travel as the main theme. Great question, Ryebrynn!

Mr. Frank said...

I used to live in Oregon and my family have visited Cannon Beach. What's your best memory of Cannon Beach or the Oregon Coast?

Lizzie Gaskins said...

From the moment you got this idea to the moment you sent it to the publisher, how long did the process of writing the book take?

Hannah said...

While this isn't the genre I normally read, this book does look intriguing. =)

What age range would you consider your books appropriate for?

Jim Rubart said...

Mr. Frank, just one? Tough! My wife and sons and I love the Oregon coast/Cannon Beach. I guess I'll have to go with building massive sand castles on the beach.

From idea to publication was six years, Lizzie. It takes time and has to be something you love.

I would say a mature 13 year old on up. My son Taylor read my first novel when he was 14 and loved it, Hannah. The oldest readers I have are in their 90s.

Janalyn Voigt, escape into creative worlds of fiction. said...

Nature inspires my writing, too. How fun that your oldest readers are in their 90s. Much success!

Janalyn Voigt, escape into creative worlds of fiction. said...

So, Jim, do you focus on one novel at a time or do you sometimes have more than one going at once?

Courtney said...

These books sound interesting. What was it like writing the first one? Do you seem to get a sense of direction as your writing or do you just know right away what the main plot points of the story are?

Unknown said...

I have been wanting to read your book. thank you for the giveaway.

Jim Rubart said...

Thanks, Janalyn. I only have one going at a time ... but I'm always collecting ideas.

I get a sense as I'm writing, Courtney. I see a movie playing in my head and I write down what I see. I'm what other writers would call a classic seat of the pants writer.

Thanks, Tammy!

Anonymous said...

Looks intreaging (thats not how you spell intreading is it, can someone tell me how?)


Dom said...

You have mentioned that you are a photographer, have any of your photos ended up in your books?

Jim Rubart said...

In the spring of '09 my wife and I took a trip to Cannon Beach for our anniversary. We went for a walk on the beach and along the way saw a house that was the exact spot I'd put the home in my first novel, ROOMS.

The home in ROOMS was such a significant part of the book, I took a number of photos of it. One of the pictures I took ended up being the home you see on the front cover.

Very fun.

Molly said...

Do you ever hit a writer's block? What do you do to get past it? There are so many different (and interesting!) ways people use. Personally, I just have to go outside with my notebook and I'm back to writing again.