Monday, August 5, 2013

Memory's Door - An Interview with Jim Rubart

As I stated in my review of Jim Rubart's Soul's Gate, I generally give speculative/supernatural fiction a wide berth but meeting Rubart in person in Orlando at ICRS 2012 convinced me to give his books a try. I'm so glad I did. When I learned Soul's Gate was nominated for a Christy Award (which it won!) and he would be in St. Louis for ICRS this year, I immediately requested an interview to talk with him about the second book in the series, Memory's Door. An advanced copy of the book arrived the day before I left and I had read about half of it when Jim and I talked. Here's a bit about the book, my thoughts upon completing the novel, and my interview with Jim.

Memory's Door
(A Well Spring Novel, Book 2)
James L. Rubart
(Thomas Nelson)
ISBN: 978-1401686079
August 2013/368 pages/$15.99

The prophecy brought them together—to fight for the hearts of others and set them free.

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.

“. . .this is a seriously heart-thumping and satisfying read that goes to the edge, jumps off, and ‘builds wings on the way down.’”—Publishers Weekly review of Soul’s Gate

Available on Deeper Shopping, Amazon, and other retailers.


James L. Rubart is the best-selling, award winning author of Rooms, Book of Days, The Chair, Soul's Gate (which won a 2013 Christy Award), 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.


Whew! Buckle your seat belt for this one! Soul's Gate was simply a primer for the experiences that the Warriors Riding team have in store for them in Memory's Door. James L. Rubart has created a gripping tale that will delight lovers of supernatural fiction, yet it is so much more than just a good story. Deeply thought-provoking, this novel puts flesh onto the usually unseen war of the spiritual realm as the team must discern who the enemy is and engage that enemy in a combat unlike any other. Rubart's brilliantly woven plot depicts how devious and calculating demonic powers are, as well as how easily a seemingly strong believer can be deluded by their wiles and how those enemies feed off the regrets and baggage within a believer's mind and soul. I pondered this one for days after finishing it, and eagerly anticipate the series conclusion. Don't miss this important book and series!


Congratulations on your Christy win for Soul's Gate! That is so exciting and well-deserved. It is a phenomenal book.

Thanks. It was very cool to get that.

It was with a little bit of trepidation that I began Memory's Door because I thought, "Where's he gonna take us now?" It's a little bit daunting, some of the experiences they have. Your characters deal with another realm in both of these books. I know missionaries in other countries deal a lot more with this than we do in mainstream America. One of the things I struggle with a bit is the characters initiate certain things vs. God initiating things, such as in Soul's Gate when they go into people's souls and when they teleported. Yet I know God has incredible power that we don't take advantage of.

You're exactly right and I consciously thought about that. If you write a book where the whole thing is passive and God's doing this and this and this, you're not taking any action. But at the same time, I didn't want to make it appear like (he snaps his fingers) I've got God at my beck and call. He's not our magic formula. When you look at the scriptural basis for teleportation, it's always God that's doing this. But at the same time, I'm writing a story where I want my heroes to be active and involved. I really had to skate a fine line between "who's initiating this?" Because it's fiction, I probably pushed it farther than I normally would in real life so it would serve the story. But you bring up a really good point.

How does this all come to you and work out in your head? Is it all structured? I guess I'm asking if you are a plotter or a pantser. Does God take you for a ride on this thing and take you places you hadn't planned on going? How do you wrestle this story onto paper?

That's a great question because each author does it a little differently. I am an ADD writer. By that, I mean when I write a book, I will get a premise. Then I will write a scene or maybe half a scene. I'll write a snippet of dialogue. Then my brain's spinning so fast, I'll think "OH!" and I'll write another. Totally unrelated. Then I write another. And another. And another. I'm watching all these snippets of a movie playing in my head and I write them all down. Almost unconsciously - I mean, I'm not thinking about it; I'm just transcribing the moving playing in my head - I will get, in the case of Memory's Door, about 50,000 words into the book and have no structure to it. It was just a bunch of garbled scenes. Once I get to 50,000-70,000 words, I sit down and say, "Jim, you've got to organize this."

It sounds like the opposite of editing a movie and leaving the clips on the floor. You're starting with a pile of clips on the floor and putting them together to make the movie/book.

Exactly. I've got all these different clips that are unrelated. Some clips are finished. Most aren't finished. They're just all over the place. So what I literally do in my secret writing room is go through my manuscript on my laptop and write a headline for every scene I've created. Even if it's not finished. Then I stick them with tape to my writing wall and then, like puzzle pieces, I move them all around in order on the wall. Then I move them around on the laptop. Then I go back and fill in all the gaps and finish scenes and write transitions. That's how I do it.

Oh wow! (We laugh).

I know! It's crazy! It is chaos!

Do you give writing workshops on that? (Grinning with tongue firmly in cheek!)(

Yeah, right! My method. But it works. Because once I can see it on the wall, then it's the puzzle and it works. Because I can't keep the whole novel in my head. [This way] I can see where scenes go and what's missing. I can see the whole plot.

When we talked at the Christy Awards you told me you didn't set out to write about demons; you set out to write about freedom. So you didn't originally set out to write a book like this.

No, I wanted to write a book about the freedom that is available in Jesus. But then I got into it. See, Soul's Gate came out of Rooms, which is the story of going into your own soul. Well, what's the sequel to Rooms? Going into other people's souls. Ding! So while Soul's Gate is not a sequel (there are none of the same characters; it has none of the same stuff), it's a progression. But as I got more and more into Soul's Gate and this thing about freedom, the question arises, "what's opposing freedom?" Ask people if they are free and they say no because they have brokenness from their childhoods or they have this fear or this wound or that. Well, where do brokenness and fear and wounds and all that stuff come from? Warfare! Thirty-three percent of the healings Jesus did were casting out demons. If you look at the New Testament, it's full of warfare! The thing that opposes Jesus is Satan. We don't wrestle against flesh and blood. So I realized, I guess I can't write this book unless we talk about that very real element in our lives. You mentioned missionaries awhile ago. Foreign countries "get" warfare. They get it. And how strange that in American churches, when's the last time you heard a sermon on spiritual warfare? We don't talk about that! Like a friend of mine says, a lot of mental illness is simply something chemical going wrong in the brain. But there's another section of mental illness that's demonic. And instead of saying, "Wow, we need to go after that," we sedate the demons. We just make them sleepy by giving them drugs but that only masks the symptoms; it doesn't bring any cure. Where the cure is - let's go back and use the Bible for our foundation, our rock. Look at what Jesus did. If we're "little Christs" - Christians are "little Christs" and we're supposed to live like Him - what did He do? But we don't do that. We medicate.

Anyway, I got into this whole thing about freedom and realized I had to talk about warfare, too. And how real that is. But I'm not a demon guy. I don't want to have anything to do with that! That's not my focus. My focus is freedom. But you can't do one without the other.

So when you start dealing with this and start writing about this, how has it impacted you personally? Because I'm sure Satan is not happy that you started delving into this.

Yeah, it took a heavy toll on me. Soul's Gate was an incredibly difficult book to write. Spiritually oppressive to write it. Memory's Door was tough, as well, but while you have all this cool spiritual warfare and cool spiritual things going on, the heart of Memory's Door is regret. Dealing with deep, deep regret and getting free of it. There was some of that in Soul's Gate but it's to an even greater degree in Memory's Door. That came out of my experience. During the time I wrote Memory's Door, I was going through a pretty significant personal crisis. So the heart of the book is getting free of regret. I got free of regret in the process. During the time I wrote the book, Jesus set me free of some of my deepest regrets. So that's where you say, "Well Jim if you're transcribing these movies in your head, where are they coming from?" They're coming from my own life and my own subconscious and the stuff I've observed and it just bubbles to the surface. You want to know about Jim Rubart? These are my journals. This is what I'm going through. Can't believe I'm admitting that!

After Memory's Door, is there a third one coming in the series?

The Spirit Bridge. We just named it last week. It is the epic conclusion to the Wellspring series.

Do we still have more trauma to go through? Are you finished writing it or still working on it?

Yes! More trauma! I'm still working on it. I'm about to turn in my macro edit and then I'll do line edits. So essentially, it's pretty close to being done.

Has it been a struggle or a difficult experience writing that one?

That has actually been the easiest of the books to write. It's just epic. You pull out all the stops and it's been a fun book to write. What was really fun is that I have a mastermind group, consisting mainly of other authors, one agent and a marketing guy, and in January we sat down when I had no idea what the book was going to be, and they helped me brainstorm my book. It has all this input from these people so it's really cool. When that happens to me and I get all that input, I can really write it out fast. This one is definitely a very collaborative book. [One of the collaborators] says it's his favorite of the three. It will be out next year, probably April 2014.

Then I'm doing a book with my twenty-year-old son! He came up with the story idea. He said "Dad! I've got a great idea for a movie. I'd call it Backspace. What if you could backspace your life: anything that didn't go good, backspace and do it again?" I said, "That is high concept!" So it's some kind of computer thing this guy figures out and he literally backspaces his life. I told him, "Dude, that's so good, I've got to steal that for a novel." So when we did the contract with Thomas Nelson, I asked if I could write a book with my son called Backspace, and they said yes.

That will be such a neat experience for both of you. Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with me, Jim. This has been great, and I'm so glad I finally took the plunge on your books!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


View blog reactions

1 comment:

Jean Wilund said...

Great interview. It's intriguing to see inside the mind of an author as he works through his novel. Quite appropriate since his books deal with seeing inside the soul...might as well get a glimpse inside his creative mind.