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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Got Freedom? Interview with James L. Rubart

Ronie Kendig is an award-winning, bestselling author who grew up an Army brat. She married her own hunky hero, who’s an Army veteran. Her life is never dull in a family with four children and two dogs. She has a degree in psychology, speaks to various groups, is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and mentors new writers. Rapid-Fire Fiction, her brand, is exemplified through her novels: Dead Reckoning, the Discarded Heroes military series, which includes acclaimed novels Nightshade, Digitalis, Wolfsbane, Firethorn, and Trinity: Military War Dog. Ronie can be found at, on Facebook (, Twitter (@roniekendig), and GoodReads.

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Memory’s Door, the sequel to Novel Rocket columnist James L. Rubart’s Christy Award winning Soul’s Gate, just released. I was with James last week at the Oregon Christian Writers conference and had the chance to sit down with him and chat about his new novel, as well as other elements of his life. I've been a longtime 'rabid' fan of James's books--in fact, I call them "living books," meaning they impact/alter a person's life no matter where that person is in life. So, it's my extreme pleasure to share this interview with readers today.

Your website has ‘live free’ as the slogan at the top of the page. And you’ve done a take-off on the milk campaign with the “Got Freedom” picture. It’s pretty obvious freedom is a theme you like to work with.

For me, it’s the theme. It’s the overarching theme of all my novels. I want readers to be wildly entertained when they read my stories, but at the same time, I want them to be thinking about my books a week and month later, and having those thoughts bring them greater freedom. I think we all have chains we long to be rid of. I think we all have a destiny we long to step into. I think we all want to throw off our fears, but the lying voices in our heads hold us back. I want to see people, “jump off cliffs all the time and build their wings on the way down.”

You won a Christy Award in June for Soul’s Gate. I know from winning a Christy myself in ’12 that it can be a surreal experience. Do you agree?

More than you know. I’ve loved Karen Hancock’s novels and looked up to her as an author for years. She was one of the people giving out the Christy’s this year so when I won and she handed me the award, it was completely surreal. To be standing up there looking at all these authors and agents and editors I’d admired for years was strange in an extremely fulfilling way.

Memory’s Door just released (Squee!). Give us a quick overview?

If you insist. :-)

Memory’s Door is the second novel in my Well Spring series and as well-received as Soul’s Gate was, I think people will like Memory’s Door even more. The stakes are higher, the lows are lower and the battles are bigger. 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.

Where did you get your inspiration for Memory's Door?

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.

Care to give us 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.

Incredible! If that doesn't entice readers, I'm not sure what will. So, tell us--do you have a favorite character Memory’s Door?

I’d 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.

You have more than a few hobbies. What do you do for fun in your spare time?

Spare time? Sorry, don’t understand the phrase. Seriously, I love spending time with my wife, I love water skiing, dirt biking, backpacking, playing guitar, golfing, photography, doing the occasional sleight of hand, hanging out with my sons and of course, reading.

James L. Rubart & Brian Kendig dirt biking
All of your novels have fascinating concepts like entering the rooms of our souls, finding God’s book that shows the past and the future, a chair that Jesus made lasting until today that has healing powers, etc. Do you intentionally write stories with a strong faith element?

No, not intentionally. So far I’ve simply written the story that pops into my head. I’ve gone with the Toni Morrison advice that if there’s a story you want to read and no one has written it, then you have to write it.

Your beautiful (inside & out) wife, Darci, has become a friend of mine. Knowing her, I’m guessing she’s your biggest supporter. Yes?

Without question. 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.

What are you spending your time on at the moment?
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.)

You are a person who engages and challenges people, which is one element of our friendship that I treasure. With that in mind, do you have any parting thoughts?

I stepped into my destiny after dreaming about it for too long. 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.

Thanks, James! Looking forward to seeing you again at the American Christian Fiction Writer's annual conference next month (September) in Indianapolis! 

BUY Memory's Door NOW!!! 

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 two sons in the Pacific Northwest and still thinks he’s young enough to water ski like a madman. More at!


  1. Jim, you continue to amaze me. Congratulations on your success. Write on.
    Ronie, thanks for a great interview.

  2. I really want to read this new book, Jim, but your last one completely destroyed my manicure and left me shaking for days! You are too good. If you weren't so good, maybe I could read it . But my position in the Big Honkin' Chickens Club would be in jeopardy. ;o) Seriously, your books are good but scary!!!! However, those who enjoy having the fire scared out of them will LOVE it.

  3. I'm waiting for you to write a nice women's ficiton. Any on the horizon? LOL

  4. Beautiful interview. I love "Jump off the cliff and build your wings on the way down." Needed that today!

    Blessings, Jim.


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