Thursday, March 25, 2010
If you like my characters, a lot! :-) They say your first novel can’t help having a heavy dose of autobiographical material and I agree. Most of my characters have different parts of me in them, probably 40% is me, but 60% are things I see in others which I add to make the personality more interesting.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I have to pick just one? I’ll go with the following since it’s the first that popped into my mind: As I stood in line with a friend waiting to see the first Spiderman movie I watched a local radio station interview people coming out of the showing before ours. I poked my friend in the side and said, “Hey, let’s join the crowd coming out and pretend we just saw the movie.” As we walked by the reporter he asked what I thought of the movie. I said, “Three thumbs up.” The reporter said, “Three thumbs?” I responded, “Yeah it’s a superhero anomaly thing.” A few weeks later as friend of mine said, “I think I heard you on KIRO am!" Yep, they ended airing my strange comment.
You sound like a real fun person to be around. When did you first discover that you were a writer?
Seventh grade. My English teacher had a video camera and wanted our class to act out a story one of the students had written. She chose mine. It made me realize I might have some talent and brought the desire to write to the surface. I found that story recently. Fun to read it again after all these deca … uh, I mean years ago. It’s certainly not printable, but there was a spark of ability even back which makes me think God gives writers their desire and gift at birth.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
Everything. Fiction, non-fiction, trivia books, biographies, magazines, sci-fi, speculative, thrillers, literary, romance. I’m one of those strange men that loves Braveheart, but also gets dust in my eyes every time I watch You’ve Got Mail. Same thing with books. And I always have at least five books going at the same time. Doesn’t everyone?
What other books have you written, whether published or not?
ROOMS is the first and only novel I’ve written. Yeah, I know, it’s rare for the first one to sell. But I’ve been a professional writer for over sixteen years as a marketing executive, so I have been honing my craft for a long time. I also wrote a non-fiction book for a friend who wanted to self-pub. I just finished my second novel, Book of Days, and I’m diving into my third, The Chair.
Actually, I sold my first novel, too. I just happened to hit the market at the right time. How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Sane? Oh, I see you’re kind enough not to tell your readers what I’m really like. :-) To be serious, I water ski, dirt bike with my sons, take long walks with my wife, and once or twice a year I head for eastern Washington by myself for two or three days of complete solitude. During that time I talk to no one. It’s a chance to write, pray, refresh, relax, plan and get perspective.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
I often pull names from childhood friends. It’s a fun inside joke for those who know me. But in the case of my protagonist in ROOMS—Micah Taylor—I took my two son’s first names and combined them. It was my way to honor them for letting me take the time needed to finish that pup.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Loving my wife. Loving my boys. Stepping through my fear and pursuing my dream of being a published author. Whoops, I thought there was an “s” on the end of “accomplishment.”
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
Easy answer! A dolphin, no question. They're fun, adventurous, intelligent, and fast. To me they are the embodiment of freedom and joy; the type of life I believe is available in Jesus.
What is your favorite food?
Food singular? Wow. I see you unveil the tough questions in the middle of the interview. No worries, I’m up for it: Artichokes with melted butter. Crab legs are a very close second.
Those are two of my favorite foods, too. What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
What advice would you give to an author just starting out?
Figure out if you need encouragement or critique. These are very different. Some authors ask for critique when they’re really asking for someone to believe in them, cheer for them and encourage them. Other authors are ready to do the hard work; they’re willing to have their writing torn apart because they want to improve. It’s okay to be in the first camp, but when you feel you’re ready for the next stage, realize anything worth getting requires intense determination, belief in yourself and willingness to be teachable.
Tell us about the featured book.
What would you find if you walked into the rooms of your soul? One man is about to find out. ROOMS is the story of a young Seattle software tycoon who inherits a home on the Oregon coast that turns out to be a physical manifestation of his soul.
The home makes Micah face his darkest wounds and propels him into his true destiny. And he finds a freedom he’s always longed for. Most of us don't live a life of freedom and healing even though Jesus says that’s why he came. (Isaiah 61:1, Gal. 5:1) He came to restore us, save what was lost, and guide us into our calling. (For example, my destiny was writing, I knew it deep down but was too scared to pursue it). And he came to heal our broken hearts. ROOMS is the story of a young man who discovers his true destiny, and finds healing for his heart and freedom. It's set in Seattle and the Oregon coast.
Please give us the first page of the book.
Why would a man he never knew build him a home on one of the most spectacular beaches on the West Coast?
Micah Taylor stared out the windows of his corner office overlooking Puget Sound, rapping his palm with an edge of the cryptic letter. Cannon Beach, Oregon. Right on the ocean and built by his great-uncle Archie, at least that’s what the letter claimed. But of all the towns up and down Highway 101, why there? A place that repulsed him. A place he cherished. Both at the same time. Fate wouldn’t be that cruel.
Shake it off. There couldn’t really be a house in that spot with his name on it. No way. Not there. This was exactly the kind of practical joke his team might try to pull off. No one would ever accuse RimSoft’s culture of being stoic. If they only knew how badly they’d misfired this time. Micah sighed. But if the letter was real—
“Time to go, boss.”
Shannon stood in the doorway, eyes bright behind her Versace glasses, short-cropped salt-and-pepper hair outlining her face. She’d been Micah’s administrative assistant for three years. Smart and not easily intimidated, what churned in her five-foot-eight frame made her one of the strongest links in his company’s chain.
“I hate being called boss.” Reminded him too much of his dad.
“Yes, I know.” She pulled her glasses down and gave him her pirate look—one eye closed, the other squinting.
Micah tried to smile and tossed the letter announcing his inheritance onto his desk. Shake it off, he told himself again. It didn’t help.
“You all right?”
“Yeah. Great.” He grabbed his notebook and wagged his finger at Shannon as they walked out of his office. “You shouldn’t call someone boss when you’re almost old enough to be their m—”
“—much older sister.”
“Right,” Micah said as they fell into step and marched down the halls of RimSoft. Normally he loved Fridays. The creativity his team poured out was astounding. If employing people better than yourself were an Olympic event, Micah would be swimming in gold.
But today wasn’t a regular Friday. Today a bizarre letter sat on his desk trying to dredge up memories he’d buried forever.
Very intriguing! How can readers find you on the Internet?
Google me (James L. Rubart) or hit my author site and blog at: http://www.jimrubart.com/ or my business site at: http://www.barefootmarketing.com/
Thanks for having me, Lena!
And thanks for spending this time with us, Jim.
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