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Interview with James Rubart

Have you ever felt trapped, stuck in a never-ending loop of reliving your past mistakes? Do you sometimes believe you will never jump that hurdle looming in front of you, preventing you from moving forward? Our featured author today knows exactly what that’s like. He has lived it, multiple times. James (Jim) L. Rubart and one of his coauthors, Susan (Susie) May Warren, have both spent time wallowing in a world of regret. They have both wished they had made different choices. Don’t we all?

However, the trouble with living life like that is you spend so much time wishing for something different, you’re unable to see the future rushing in to sweep you into great things than you can ever imagine. Jim, Susie, and Susie's son David – collectively writing as David James Warren – don’t want you to continue on that path. With their latest book, they want you “to come away with not only hope, but a knowing deep inside that no matter what your past is, there are unending second chances in God’s kingdom.”

Those second chances can be viewed as a do-over, or they can be opportunities found in the everyday routines repeated for years. For example, Jim and his wife Darci went to Cannon Beach on the Oregon Coast with their boys for vacations. When Jim went to write his first novel, Rooms (which is set in Cannon Beach), he had all the research he needed.

“It was great fun bringing to life all the spots down there I’d fallen in love with over the years,” he says.

Now, imagine if Jim had never ventured forth or taken the risk to breathe life into that first story. Imagine if he had instead given life to his doubts and let the lies of the enemy stop him in his tracks.

“I didn’t believe in myself much in my younger years. For ten years I told myself, ‘You’re going to the Northwest Christian Writer’s Association conference.’ Ten years! And I never went. I didn’t think I had the talent or anything to say. I let fear hold me back for far too long. The Apostle Paul says anything done without faith (risk/not knowing the outcome) is sin. So, I wish I would have taken that verse to heart earlier and [as Ray Bradbury says,] ‘jumped off the cliff and built my wings on the way down’ much earlier.”

Anything done without faith is sin. That’s a hard pill to swallow, isn’t it? We must have faith to move forward. We must take risks…or we risk being disobedient. In the spring of 2006, Jim finally attended his first writer’s conference at Mt. Hermon. “Mind blown. It was overload in the most exhilarating of ways. I’d finally found home after ages of searching.” If Jim hadn’t taken those risks, we wouldn’t be here today, celebrating the release of the fourth novel in this action-packed, time-traveling detective series.

The inspiration for these stories started ages ago, around 2012. “Susie and I were on a short plane ride together from Asheville, North Carolina, to Atlanta. We started talking about someday writing a book together and our shared loved of time travel stories. In mid-2016, Susie came up with the idea of Rembrandt Stone, called me, gave me a five-second pitch, saying, ‘An ex-detective goes back in time to solve cold cases,’ and asked, ‘Are you in?’ I laughed and gave the only appropriate response: ‘Are you kidding?!’”

Faith. Stepping out, not knowing the outcome.

Susie asked her son David to join the team and in February of 2017, the three of them gathered at Jim’s home in eastern Washington to brainstorm all six of the stories.

“It took a while from conception to release, but it turned out to be the perfect timing," Jim says. "And what’s thrilling about working with two other partners is realizing how much more two other brilliant people can bring to a project. We all have blind spots and when you’re working alone, by definition, you can’t see your own.”

And the three of them make a great team. Susie writes the first draft and sends it to Jim for editing, where he fine-tunes the story and ensures their main character sounds like a guy and not a girl. Then David does the final edit, and Jim uses that to record the audio version of each book. It works out well.

Early in Jim’s career, a speaker said ninety percent of research for a book won’t end up in the book. He thought that was such a waste, but he’s more of an intuitive writer. “I write the story, then go back and only do the research needed to fill out what I imagined or hoped was true in my first draft," he says. "I know many authors love research, but I don’t think I’ll ever be invited to that dinner party.”

That system of recognizing his strengths and writing to them works so well for him, Jim's son Taylor posed the idea of Jim teaching others to do what he does. Together, they launched The Rubart Writing Academy, where they give students a roadmap for their careers.

“Seeing people step into their destiny and start to fully believe in themselves is the most rewarding aspect," Jim says. "To see that light come on inside of them? Love it!”

I’ve known Jim for a number of years, and our paths have crossed several times. I’ve also been a pseudo-graduate of his writing academy through a one-day seminar here in Colorado hosted by our local ACFW chapter.

One of the things that impresses me the most with Jim is he doesn’t have an agenda. Jeff Goins once asked him if he was a Christian author. Jim replied, “No. I’m not. I’m an author who happens to be a Christian.” Jeff smiled and said, “Good. We can continue the interview.” Jim never set out to write Christian fiction. He has simply set out to write a great story. The solo novels “simply poured out of what was inside and wanted to come out.” See? No agenda.

We all have plans. Sometimes, those plans get sidetracked or put on hold. The key is to not wallow in a world of regret. We need to instead step forward in faith and realize God’s mercies are new every morning. As we conclude this brief glimpse into Jim’s life, he has a few parting words to share with you.

“Most people give up too soon. Writing books is tough, and novel writing is the toughest subset of that. I play guitar. I could entertain you for about twenty minutes, and you’d walk away saying, ‘Jim’s pretty good!’ But you wouldn’t spend money on my music. To get to that level, I’d have to put in a serious number of hours and years practicing. It’s no different with writing. You must put in the years. It’s hard. But here’s the good news: talent is not the greatest predictor of success. Perseverance is. A great book on this is called Grit by Angela Duckworth. So, if this is your passion, please, keep going. You CAN do it!”

Thanks so much for sharing with us, Jim!
Tiffany Amber Stockton has been crafting and embellishing stories since childhood, when she was accused of having an active imagination and a flair for the dramatic. Today, she has honed those skills to become an award-winning author and speaker who works as a homeschool mom and independent contractor, helping others become their best from the inside out. She lives with her husband and fellow author, Stuart Vaughn Stockton, in Colorado. They have a daughter and son, two dogs and two cats. She has sold over 25 books so far, three of which have won annual reader's choice awards. She is represented by Tamela Murray of the Steve Laube Agency. (

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