More books! J I’m not able to give details yet, but I recently signed a new contract for five more novels so I’m thrilled that’ll I’ll be playing in the writing arena for a while longer. Also, a year ago LifeWay/Serendipity Publishing approached me about doing a Small Group Study Guide Workbook based on the four major themes in my first novel ROOMS. We did a DVD as well where I’m teaching in the locations I write about in the book and we even hired actors to act out scenes from the book.
Tell us a little about your family.
Married 25 years to the world’s most amazing woman. Two sons, Micah and Taylor (I used their names for my protagonist in ROOMS.) Micah just turned 16 and is going into his sophomore year of high school. He’s athletic, straight A student, and a skilled speaker.
Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?
Writing has ruined reading for me. As I’ve improved in the craft I see poor writing more easily and it yanks me out of the story. I try turning the editor off but it’s hard. So when I get a book that captures me with a combination of great story and great craft I’m thrilled.
What are you working on right now?I’m right in the heart of my fourth novel, SWITCH. I’m about a quarter of the way into it and I’m writing it without an outline so it’s fun to watch it unfold in very unexpected ways.
What outside interests do you have?Everything. I’m almost serious. Being an author and also having a day job makes room for little else. But some of the things I still squeeze in are: Backpacking (Taylor and my cousin and I went on a four day trip in August) dirt biking (Taylor, Micah and I went for a three-day trip in July) water skiing (any chance I can get) photography, and spending time with old friends.
How do you choose your settings for each book?
This sounds flippant but it’s not. I simply wait till the setting(s) introduce themselves and I go with it. With The Chair I didn’t get the setting until the book was 70 percent finished. With ROOMS and BOOK OF DAYS the setting appeared much earlier.
If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why?It would have to be (C.S.) Lewis. He blew my mind in both non-fiction and fiction when I was young and throughout my teens and early twenties. Reading The Chronicles of Narnia made me want to be a writer. Can’t wait to hang with him in heaven.
What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started writing novels?How much I would love it. Yes, there are struggles and doubts and fear and long hours in being a novelist. But writing puts me at the heart of where God wants me to be, and where I want to be. So in retrospect I wish I’d started sooner. Those of you reading this that have always want to write—start now.
What new lessons is the Lord teaching you right now?
How selfish I am. (Wow, was that vulnerable enough?) He’s reminding me this life isn’t about us, it’s about Him and what he wants us to do. And that He wants us to love his followers. To focus on them. To encourage them. To care for their hearts in big and small ways. He’s asking me to take seriously his truth that the one who wants to be the greatest in the kingdom has to be the servant of all.
What are the three best things you can tell other authors to do to be successful?
First, write books that people can’t put down and will tell others about. I’m serious. I know it sounds like that story about a famous track coach who was asked by a sprinter how to win more races and the coach answered, “Run faster.” But there are things you can do to write more compelling stories. Study story. Devour books that teach what makes certain novels stand out. Get critique partners who will be gut-level honest about your stories.
Second, I’d suggest they define success. Like the Cheshire cat said, if you don’t know where you want to go, any road will get you there. Success means different thing to different people. So figure out what it means for you. They might surprise themselves and find out they’re already farther down their personal road of success than they thought.
Third, forget about contracts and sales. I predict no one is going to care about those things in heaven. They’re going to care about changed lives. Do you think the woman in the New Testament who put two coins into the offering was “successful” in the Jewish culture of the day? Of course not. Would we celebrate a person who donated five cents to the building fund today? No. But Jesus noticed. And I think she’ll be celebrated in eternity in far greater measure than some Christian celebrities we laud at the moment for what we think they’ve accomplished.
I was reading an article about how some of the plows Jesus made lasted well into the second century and I thought, “What if He made a something that lasted until today? And what if it was a chair? And what if it was a chair He sat in after He was resurrected? And what if that chair had healing powers? I started writing it from that premise and as I wrote I discovered a story of a man who longs to see the chair help him heal the person whose life he destroyed twelve years earlier.
Sounds interesting. Please give us the first page of the book.
Sounds interesting. Please give us the first page of the book.
On Tuesday afternoon at five thirty, an elderly lady strode into Corin’s antique store as if she owned it and said, “The next two months of your life will be either heaven or hell.”
The corners of her mouth turned up a fraction. It was almost a smile.
“Excuse me?” Corin Roscoe stared at her over the mound of bills in front of him and stifled a laugh.
White hair, deep smile lines etched into her high cheekbones—she had to be at least mid-seventies. Maybe eighty, but she moved like she was in her forties. She wore a dark tan coat that bounced off her calves as she strolled toward Corin, ice blue eyes full of laughter. She didn’t look crazy.
“I’ve brought you the chair, you see.” She stared at him as if that statement would explain everything.
Corin brushed his dark hair off his forehead and slid off the stool behind his sales counter. “What chair?”
The woman looked around the store like a schoolteacher evaluating a new classroom of students. Her eyes seemed to settle on the pile of precisely stacked books from the 1700s.
“I love books, you know.”
Something about her was familiar. “Do I know you?” He took a step toward the woman.
“No.” Her laugh had a tinge of music in it. “I hardly think so.”
“You’re a fortune-teller, right? And think a little heaven and a little hell is coming my way. Can’t I just subscribe to your newsletter?”
She drew a circle in the air with her forefinger, cherry red nail polish flashing under the halogen lights of Corin’s antiques store. “Probably an interweaving of the two realms. And I believe you’ll discover the hope of restoration. The final outcome will, of course, be your choice.”
Wow! You hooked me. How can readers find you on the Internet?
My Web site is: www.jameslrubart.com
Facebook is: James L. Rubart and my Twitter account is: @jimrubart
My pleasure! Our visits are always interesting.
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