Welcome to my blog, James. We're featuring his new release from B&H. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
I would say, a little bit. Most of my characters are composites. I generally draw from traits of people I know, and from myself, and put them together to form a completely new person.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I used to put my cereal bowl, cereal, spoon, and vitamin out on the kitchen table in the evening so they would be ready when I came down for breakfast the next morning. My family finally gave me so much grief about it that I stopped.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I’ve enjoyed writing my entire life and was a journalism major in college. I suppose I got confirmation that someone else thought I was okay at it when I got some professional articles published in major legal publications. As for fiction writing, the first time I was certain that someone thought I’d done something pretty good was when Crossings Book Club picked my first novel as one of its featured selections for the summer, 2006. At that time, Something That Lasts was self-published (Integrity later picked it up and re-released it), and it was nice to get confirmation that someone in the industry thought I’d written a good book.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
Everything from the classics to Life of Pi. A good story, well told, always interests me. I don’t have much patience for writers who try too hard to tell a story in a “unique voice.” That usually means bad grammar and general confusion. My idea of interesting voice, well done, is The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, and Cold Mountain.
What other books have you written, whether published or not?
My first novel was Something That Lasts. I self-published it and marketed it in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. It did very well, and Integrity (now part of Thomas Nelson) picked it up and re-released it nationally in May, 2006. It did quite well and got very good reviews.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I’ve got strong faith and a great family. That combination has the effect of slowing things down a bit.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
I actually spend some time on that. For my main characters I try to make the name sound like something, or signify something, that has some reference to the character’s role in the story. In my first book, the Parst family was central to the action. I chose that name because of the sound, a combination of parson and Faust (Faustian bargain). In Forsaken, I chose Simon Mason because of the parallels between him and the Apostle Peter (Simon = Peter; Mason = The Rock).
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Personally, that I’ve got a great marriage of 22 years to a woman I love, and I’ve got two kids who are nice, responsible people who have their heads screwed on straight. Professionally, that I wrote a book (now, two, and soon to be three) that got published.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
Something quick and athletic, I hope. I’ve always loved sports. But I’m a dog person, so maybe a sleek retriever.
What is your favorite food?
Pizza; lots of pizza.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
I’m a full-time business attorney, so finding time to write is definitely my biggest problem. I’ve learned to use my time efficiently. I’ve also learned to turn off the television (which is particularly difficult for me during baseball season).
What advice would you give to an author just starting out?
Take a writing class. No matter how much natural ability you have, writing is a craft, and there are some things that you have to learn.
What would you like to tell us about the featured book?
Forsaken is a unique kind of love story wrapped in a Christian action thriller. It is told by Taylor Pasbury, a beautiful but troubled former Secret Service agent who is hired to protect the world’s best-known televangelist when he receives threats from Muslim terrorists. The dilemma the terrorists thrust upon Simon Mason is a parent’s nightmare. I think Forsaken is made more interesting because Taylor is not a religious person, which brings a unique perspective to the book’s spiritual message. It’s a fast-moving story that explores how God uses even our questionable decisions for good if we let him.
I can hardly wait to read it. How can readers find you on the Internet?
James, thank you for spending this time with us.
Readers, you can buy the book by clicking on this link:
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