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 thinks he’s young enough to water ski like a madman. More at www.jameslrubart.com
INTERVIEW WITH JAMES RUBART
S.S: How long have you been writing?
I dabbled with short stories for many years, but it wasn’t till 2002 that I got serious about writing. To be blunt, I was afraid. My greatest dream had always been to write novels, but I never took action, because what if I attempted my dream and it crashed and burned? I’d have nothing then, not even the dream anymore. What a lie. I think God gives us desires. Those desires reveal the way he designed us. That design reveals our destiny. My destiny was to be a novelist, even if I never was published. God’s definition of success and ours is very different. His definition is, “Did you try? Did you risk? Did you go for it?” So in the early 2000s I took the risk, started writing, and finished my first novel (ROOMS) in late 2005.
These days around 70% of my time is spent writing and related activities, the other 30% is running my marketing firm which I’ve owned since ‘94. I work for businesses, and authors, on their websites, advertising, branding, etc. I also teach and give keynote talks at churches, retreats, and conferences.
S.S: Tell us about the moment you finally felt like a “real author”?
This might sound strange, but it wasn’t till I won the Christy for Soul’s Gate this past June. Yes, I knew I was an author before that. I’d written three other novels. I’d hit the bestseller list. I’d won awards for my other books, heard from many wonderful people how my stories had changed their lives—but there was something about standing up there on stage, looking out at all these people I’d admired for so long and winning an award I’d dreamed of winning for what seemed like forever that made it feel real. It was a surreal moment in the best way.
S.S.: Who has been your greatest supporter as an author?
Without question my amazing wife, Darci. She’s talked me off the ledge so many times she has a lawn chair set up out there. She’s been my encourager, my editor, my counselor, my friend, my challenger, my rock.
S.S: Do you write in any other genres? If so, what?
Not yet. I’ve always said you can only write in one genre, that readers come to expect a certain type of story from their favorite authors and to break out of that is to break a promise to your readers. But … I’m starting to toy with the idea of dipping my toe in the lakes of other genres as well as non-fiction. We’ll see.
S.S: How does your faith play into your writing?
I’ve never thought about it. I don’t try to put my faith in my novels. So far I’ve simply written the story that pops into my head, usually in the form of a question: What if you could walk into the rooms of your soul? (ROOMS). What if you could find God’s book of days on earth that shows your future? (BOOK OF DAYS). What if Jesus made a chair that lasted until today that has supernatural healing power? (THE CHAIR) What if you could send your spirit into other people’s souls to fight for their healing and freedom? (SOUL’S GATE).
So I don’t set out to write a story with faith elements in it, I just write the idea I’m passionate about, and so far, faith has organically been part of the story.
S.S: If you couldn’t write, what else would you want to do?
Make movies. I’ve always loved film, loved acting (acting in a community play is on my bucket list) so I’d be a producer or director. (And I’d love to write the screenplay.)
S.S: Tell us about your current release.
Memory’s Door is the second novel in my Well Spring series and as well-received as Soul’s Gate (the first in the series) was, I think people will enjoy Memory’s Door even more.
The stakes are higher, the lows are lower and the battles are more epic. There were a number of scenes that brought dust to my eyes as I wrote them, and that’s always a good sign that I’ve captured a few elements that will go to the deep parts of people’s hearts.
It’s an epic story but at the same time deals with one of the most intimate, devastating issues of being human: our regrets. Here’s the back cover copy:
“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.”
S.S: Where did you get your inspiration for this book?
My contract with its firm deadline was incredibly inspiring. Kidding. This is a deeply personal story that came out of time of spiritual and personal crisis and having to face my own regrets. Writing the novel was incredibly freeing and in some ways is an expression of my journals and the struggles I went through while writing it, coming out in published form.
S.S: What is the main thing you hope readers remember from your story?
Not surprisingly, that they can get free of their own deep regrets. Regrets are devastating because they not only keep us locked in the past, they keep us from living fully in the present and the future. There’s another major theme in the novel, but saying anything about it would be a bit of a spoiler. Sorry.
S.S: Who is your favorite character in this book and why?
Have to go with Marcus Amber (University of Washington physics professor) for this one. While Reece was arguably the main focus of Soul’s Gate, Marcus gets a little more of the spotlight than the others this time. He’s the one who has to face his deepest regret and somehow get free of it. Because if he doesn’t, his actions will destroy the other three members of the Warriors Riding.
S.S: Who is your least favorite character in this book?
Zennon. Why? Because he is bent on the utter destruction of The Warriors Riding. He’s brilliant, insidious, and has been orchestrating the Warriors demise for years.
S.S: What are you working on now?
I’m finishing edits on The Spirit Bridge, which is the third and final book in the Well Spring series—releases spring 2014—and starting on my next novel after that which will be a stand alone with a truly mind-blowing concept. And I have a major project I’m working on that I can’t say much about. Yet. (If folks are interested, they can go to my website and sign up for my newsletter and they’ll find out more as soon as I can tell them.)
S.S: Any writing goals you still hope to achieve?
So many! I want to write Y.A. novels. I want to finish a number of short stories I started in my 20s. I want to write screenplays for my novels and turn them into movies. I want to write a number of non-fiction books. I want to co-write a novel with an author friend of mine. There’s more, but that’s plenty for the moment.
S.S: Now let’s get a little personal. Name two things on your “bucket list” that you haven’t done yet.
Ride my bicycle down the entire Oregon coast. (But I’d have to get in shape for that wouldn’t I?) Spend a month in Italy with Darci.
S.S: What is the silliest thing you have ever done?
I’ve done a lot of silly/stupid/crazy things so this might not be the silliest, but it’s the first one that popped into my mind.
A friend and I were standing in a long line to see the first Spiderman movie and a local radio station was interviewing people as they came out of the theatre. I said to my friend, “C’mon, let’s pretend we just saw the movie.” So we joined the back of the line. When we reached the reporter he asked, “So wha’d you think of the movie?” I said, “Three thumbs up! It’s a superhero mutation!” The next day a friend of mine said, “Did I hear you on the radio yesterday?”
S.S: What is the hardest thing you have ever done?
Jump out of an airplane at 10,000 feet. I’m terrified of heights, so forcing myself to toss my body out of that plane was a significant challenge. But wow, what a rush! I loved it. It was a tremendous metaphor for my life—that anything we want in life comes with a risk and most of the time, fear. But the rewards so far outweigh the downside that there’s no other way to live.
S.S.: Where can readers find you on the internet?
The best places are: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JamesLRubart Twitter: @jameslrubart and my website: http://jameslrubart.com/
S.S.: Anything else you’d like to share with us?
I stepped into my destiny after it was only a dream for a long time. If you’re reading these words and haven’t stepped into your purpose, do it. Take the chance. Jump off the cliff and build your wings on the way down. It will set you free.
James is giving away a copy of his book, MEMORY'S DOOR! To enter, leave a comment, along with your contact information. James will pick a winner on Monday!