Whether journeying to Celestia in a retelling of John Bunyan’s classic Pilgrim’s Progress, laughing through a hilarious fable, or running for your life in a heart-stopping thriller, Steven James is one gifted storyteller.
Blessed with the ability to weave a good yarn in many different genres, his gifts in storytelling extend to conference presentations about the craft of writing. Another pro about Steven James is that he’s a fellow Tenneseean and lover of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.
He writes nonfiction for teens, adults, and some hilarious books/CDs for kids.
His adult thriller series, with FBI Criminologist Patrick Bowers, keeps you on the edge of your seat, with graphic descriptions, unexpected twists and turns, and palpable descriptions. His novel, The Rook, won the 2009 Christy Award for suspense.
Learn more at www.stevenjames.net
Because of his busy presentation and writing schedule, he’s a hard man to catch, but thankfully he took some time to answer these questions for me.
Who is your favorite hero &/or heroine from any book you’ve written (They don’t have to be from the same novel) and what’s the story behind their creations?
My favorite hero would have to be the main character for my thrillers, an FBI agent named Patrick Bowers. When I was creating him, actually when I create any of my characters I basically keep asking myself, “If I were this guy in this situation, what would I do?”
From that, he begins to develop and take on a life of his own. I also like to add a quirk to my characters (Patrick is a coffee snob), a fear (he’s afraid of needles), a favorite item (his MiniMaglite flashlight), and of course a variety of interests and relationships revolving around his field of geospatial investigation. Authors will sometimes tell you that characters begin to take on a life of their own, and I’ve found that, at least with Bowers, this is happening in my writing. Often I try to get him into a certain situation or scene and he just shakes his head at me and takes things into a totally different direction. He is probably the reason my books have so many unexpected twists and turns–even I didn’t see them coming when I started working on the manuscripts.
As far as a favorite heroine, I’d choose Tessa, his stepdaughter. When I first began writing her into the books she was a surly teenager and that was about all–not very interesting. But soon, she began to develop this endearing mixture of whip-smart intelligence, dark emotional struggles, and annoyed-at-life teenager issues that really drew me toward her. She has a tendency toward sarcasm and self-destructive behavior (hmm… I wonder where she gets that from), and through her I get to say all the stuff I want to say to people, but don’t because I don’t want to get sued. I have two teen daughters of my own and many of Tessa’s sayings are not exactly 100% fictional…
Many of my readers find her to be their most favorite series character and I’d have to say, when I was writing The Rook, I was afraid she was going to take over the book. I can’t imagine a book in this series without her.
(For a review of The Pawn visit: http://brothersjudd.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/reviews.detail/book_id/1739/The%20Pawn%20(Th.htm )
(For a review of The Knight visit: http://christianfictionreview.com/?review=535 )
Character Creation Tip for the Day:
A touch of the creator. Heroes and heroines have a touch of familiarity to them. As Steven mentioned, he kept asking “what would I do?” Being able to describe feelings of your characters requires delving into who you are with your own feelings. A two dimensional character springs from the head, a three-dimensional character, adds the heart. Use your own emotions and senses to bring your characters to life.
Barbour author, Marcia Gruver stops in to share about her favorite characters and adds a little Wild West humor along the way. Stop by.