James L. Rubart is the best-selling, award winning author of Rooms, Book of Days, The Chair, and now Soul’s Gate.
During the day he runs Barefoot Marketing, which helps businesses and authors make more coin of the realm. He also enjoys dirt biking, hiking, golfing, and photography and ‘still thinks he’s young enough to water ski like a madman.’
Jim lives with his wife and two sons in the Pacific Northwest.
What is the most important (or most surprising) thing you’ve learned about the business of writing since the release of your debut novel, Rooms, in 2010?
Something I suspected and have seen play out: Marketing your books is as much about marketing to your publisher as it is to your readers.
I’m surprised how many authors don’t know their publisher personally, don’t know any of the sales people who are repping their books, have never spoken to their cover designer. And yet these people can be a significant factor in your success as an author.
Let’s talk about your new book, Soul’s Gate (Thomas Nelson, November 2012). Please tell us about it.
What if you could send your spirit into other people’s souls to fight for their healing and freedom? That’s the premise behind Soul’s Gate and it was a wild book to write. Here’s the back cover copy to give you a better feel:
Reece stood and faced the group. “Every now and then we get a break from reality. A glimpse into the other world that is more real than the reality we live in 99 percent of our days. The Bible is about a world of demons and angels and great evil and even greater glory.
A world the prophets saw; the world Enoch, and Elijah, and Paul, and John the apostle all saw. A world that is all around us in every moment if we would have eyes to see and ears to hear.”
What if you could travel inside another person’s soul? To battle for them. To be part of Jesus healing their deepest wounds.
Thirty years ago that’s exactly what Reece Roth did. Until tragedy shattered his life and ripped away his destiny.
Now God has drawn Reece out of the shadows to fulfill a prophecy spoken over him three decades ago. A prophecy about four warriors with the potential to change the world . . . if Reece will face his deepest regret and train them.
They gather at a secluded and mysterious ranch deep in the mountains of Colorado, where they will learn to see the spiritual world around them with stunning clarity. And how to step into the supernatural as powerfully as anyone in the Bible did.
The four have a destiny to battle for a freedom even Reece doesn’t fully fathom.
But they have an enemy hell-bent on destroying them as well and he’ll stop at nothing to keep them from their quest for true freedom and the coming battle of souls.
Publishers Weekly says: “Readers with high blood pressure or heart conditions be warned: this is a seriously heart-thumping and satisfying read that goes to the edge, jumps off, and “builds wings on the way down.”
Ted Dekker: “Powerful storytelling. Rubart writes with a depth of understanding about a realm most of us never investigate, let alone delve into. A deep and mystical journey that will leave you thinking long after you finish the book.”
RT Book Reviews: Top Pick! “Rubart’s novel is enthralling and superlative. Truly a story about freedom from things that we hold onto, this tale will captivate readers and encourage a more active, dynamic spiritual life. The original plot and well-drawn characters elevate this book to ‘must read’ status.”
What sparked the idea?
The inspiration came from two places: First, as I wrote Rooms (my debut novel) I thought, “If I ever did a sequel what would it be about?” In Rooms, a young man goes into the rooms of his soul, how would I take that up a level?”
The answer popped into my mind that people could go into other people’s souls to fight for their healing and freedom. And while Soul’s Gate isn’t a sequel to Rooms (which I hope to do someday) it’s certainly inspired by it.
The second influence came from sitting around a fire at Well Spring ranch (yes, for those of you who have read, or haven’t read the novel already, the Well Spring Ranch in Soul’s Gate is a very real place).
I was there in September of ‘11 with my publisher at the time, Allen Arnold, brainstorming what the novel would look like. It was a total God thing as the broad strokes of the entire novel came together in less than an hour.
God often uses our stories to teach us when we’re writing them. What did you learn (about life, faith, and/or even yourself) in the process of writing this book?
Wow, do we have time for all I could say? I learned how opposed the enemy of our souls is to us living in the life God wants for us. And how passionate Jesus is about us throwing off the chains of fear, regret, and past wounds and stepping into healing and our divinely designed destinies and freedom.
This was the hardest book for me to write so far, but I believe it will be the book that brings more people freedom than any of my previous novels.
As you know, this website is all about detours. As an accomplished marketing guru (don’t you love that word?) in book publishing and other fields, what is the biggest detour you’ve taken when trying to “market” something—and how did you turn it into a positive and/or learn from it?
Guru. How can you not love that word? I’m saying it again, here we go . . . guru!
The biggest detour was marketing myself. In the mid-90s I was offered a partnership in another ad agency in town and I thought it was going to be the ideal environment and the answer to a number of challenges that were going on in my own agency at the time. It turned out to be the opposite—an extremely difficult and painful period of my life—but the experience shaped me in massive ways for the better. I had to turn to God in a deeper way than I ever had. I needed that refining to be where I am with my career and writing today.
A few fun questions…
What’s your current favorite song on the radio or your mp3 player?
My oldest son, Taylor is a wildly talented songwriter and he wrote a song I’m loving. Stuck in my brain in a good way.
What verse or story in the Bible best describes your faith journey?
Mark 9:24 I believe, help my unbelief. Not in God, but in what He’s made me to be. It took me a long time to believe in the gifts and abilities He gave me, and even though I do believe and have stepped into much of what I’ve been called to do, I think there is more about myself He wants me to embrace and live out.
Besides work and writing, you enjoy speaking, playing guitar and golf, and dabbling in photography. Which of these, if any, has taken residence at the top of your to-do list lately?
For the past five years I’ve golfed very little but this summer I got out four times with one of my closet friends and it was a blast. Relaxing, fun, and he bought me a sleeve of illegal golf balls. Wow! Those things go!
And I had the chance to sing and play The Pizza Parlor Blues for my friend Allen Arnold and his family recently, so I’d have to mention my guitar playing as well.
Thanks, Jim! It’s nice to have you as a guest at DivineDetour again.
So fun to be here Kathy, appreciate the support much!
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For more information about Jim, visit his website at http://www.jameslrubart.com.
To purchase Soul’s Gate logon to:
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Good to hear how things are going for you, Jim! Congrats on having a new book out.
Hi, Laura! Nice to hear from you! Thanksgiving blessings.
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