Sunday, July 28, 2013

Featured Author Interview: Steven James

Steven James is the critically acclaimed author of more than thirty books, including his bestselling The Bowers Files.

His books span the genres of psychological thrillers, prayer collections, dramas, monologues, a nine book series on creative storytelling, YA fantasy, and inspirational nonfiction. He has received wide critical acclaim for his work including four Storytelling World Honor awards, two Publishers Weekly starred reviews, and 2009, 2011 and 2012 Christy Awards for best suspense. 

The following is July 2013 interview with Steven.


Be in to win a copy of The King

Contest open to entrants worldwide.

Contest runs from July 22 - 28 NZDT

Tell us a little about yourself.

Although I’ve written a number of nonfiction books in the past, these days I’m a novelist who focuses mainly on writing mysteries, thrillers and suspense. I’m also a contributing editor to Writer’s Digest magazine. I love science fiction movies, trail running and jalapeño pizza.

How did you become a novelist, and did you always want to write?

I never imagined I would become a novelist. I’ve always loved telling and writing stories, ever since I was young—stories are a deep part of me. When I was in college I kept jotting down poems, thoughts, story ideas, and one day when I was at the laundromat doing my laundry, I realized I would never be happy unless I would become a storyteller and share my ideas. I wrote that in my journal, and I still have that journal on my shelf. The day I was called to be a writer my underwear was tumbling around in a dryer next to my elbow. What glamorous beginnings.

What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?

Honestly, I’m not sure I even know what people mean specifically when they talk about “Christian fiction.” I feel like I’m at a loss of what to say. I think that fiction that’s Christian is fiction that tells the truth about the world—about both the glory and the grief, the pain and the wonder—whether it was written for or by Christians or not. I also think that Christian fiction celebrates what God celebrates and abhors what he abhors. Sometimes I wonder if the devil owned a publishing company, what books would he publish? Certainly not those that tell the truth about how lost we are and how our only hope needs to come from God. Whatever novels the devil would reject, those are probably the Christian ones.

How do you hope your readers react to the stories you write?

I hope they’re entertained—sometimes that might be laughing or crying or shivering or dreaming a great big and impossible dream. It depends on the story. If they don’t react at all, well I guess I haven’t done my job very well as a writer. If I can bring up big issues and help people think about the questions that matter most, great, that’s the icing on the cake. But first, before anything else, I need to make sure people are entertained.

What responses to your novels have affected you the most and why?

Early on, whenever I had a book come out I would scroll through all the reviews online and pour over them. (Okay, I admit it, I still do a little, but not quite as much as I used to.) Anyways, since my novels involve grisly crimes, some people of faith complained that I couldn’t be a Christian, that I was an impostor, and so on, just because they didn’t like that the stories I was telling were violent. I don’t mind if people criticize my work, but it really bothered me when they attacked me as a person because they were offended by the evil I portrayed in my books.

How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ?

Everyday I have to wrestle with questions of good and evil, of love and meaning and choices and consequences. I think that being a storyteller is a great calling because it forces you to think about the questions that really matter. Honestly, all of this helps bring me closer to Christ and the answers he offers to our hurting world.

Other than writing great novels, what other goals do you have for your life?
Being a good dad, being a good husband, getting better at rock climbing, improving my half-marathon time. Growing closer to Jesus. Besides that, I wouldn’t mind writing screenplays someday and inventing a way for movie popcorn with butter to somehow cause you to lose weight. That would be epic.

What do you like to do in your spare time?  

When I can get away, I love to go out for a round of disc golf (kind of like regular golf, but with Frisbees that you throw into metal baskets), play basketball or go running. When you write for a living you need to be purposive about getting out and exercising or it’ll come back to haunt you.

What can you tell us about your latest novels?

The King is the newest installment in the Patrick Bowers novels, which feature Agent Bowers, a federal investigator who works for the United States FBI to track some of the most violent criminals in the states. In this installment, two of the most ruthless villains in the series are back—the assassin known as Valkyrie, and the serial killer, Richard Basque. While Patrick is trying to stop Basque from taking revenge on the people he loves, Valkyrie has a quest to take revenge of his own. This might be the fastest-paced novel yet in my series. If you like thrills, suspense and twists, this is the book for you.

The King

FBI Special Agent Patrick Bowers has matched wits with some of the most violent serial killers in history—and one of them has never forgiven him....

Patrick Bowers has pursued the nation’s fiercest serial killers—and now one elusive foe is back for revenge.

Settling into a new post at the FBI academy, Patrick and his fiancée, Lien-hua Jiang, are planning their future together with his stepdaughter, Tessa.

But just when his life seems normal, a demon from the past returns to draw him down a dark road he hoped had closed forever. Forced into a desperate hunt to save the two women he loves most, Patrick is in a race against time to stop an international conspiracy from becoming the most widespread act of terrorism in U.S. history.

Opening Moves (The Bowers Files Prequel)
[Purchase: | Amazon Kindle | The Book Depository]

The Pawn (The Bowers Files #1)
[Purchase: Amazon Kindle | The Book Depository]

The Rook (The Bowers Files #2)
[Purchase: | Amazon Kindle | The Book Depository]

The Knight (The Bowers Files #3)
[Purchase: | Amazon Kindle | The Book Depository]

The Bishop (The Bowers Files #4)
[Purchase: | Amazon Kindle | The Book Depository]

The Queen (The Bowers Files #5)
[Purchase: | Amazon Kindle | The Book Depository]

The King (The Bowers Files #6)
[Purchase: | Amazon Kindle | The Book Depository]


While covertly investigating a controversial neurological research program, exposé filmmaker Jevin Banks is drawn into a far-reaching conspiracy involving one of the world's largest pharmaceutical firms. After giving up his career as an escape artist and illusionist in the wake of his wife and sons' tragic death, Jevin is seeking not only answers about the questionable mind-to-mind communication program, but also answers to why his family suffered as they did.

Rooted in ground-breaking science and inspired by actual research, Placebo explores the far reaches of science, consciousness, and faith. Readers will love this taut, intelligent, and emotionally gripping new thriller from master storyteller Steven James.


When his friend is murdered, illusionist Jevin Banks is determined to find out what really happened. Drawn into a web of conspiracy and top-secret research on human consciousness, Jevin won't stop digging until the truth is revealed. Soon he uncovers a dark secret--one that could change the very fabric of human life on the planet.

Bristling with mystery, suspense, and intrigue, Singularity is the second riveting book in The Jevin Banks Experience. Readers will devour this scientific thriller, flipping pages late into the night until the final shocking page.

Placebo (The Jevin Banks Experience #1)
[Purchase: | Amazon Kindle | The Book Depository]

Singularity (The Jevin Banks Experience #2)
[Pre-Order: | Amazon Kindle | The Book Depository]

What stories can your fans expect from you in the days ahead?

I’ve started work on Checkmate, the final book in The Bowers Files. Also, Blur, my first mystery for teens, comes out in February. It’s about a teenage guy who starts to think that he might be going insane. He starts seeing things related to the death of a girl at his high school—he’s not sure if he’s seeing hallucinations or ghosts—but it leads him into a race against time to try and find the girl’s killer. It’s my first book with a quadruple twist ending. Should be a fun read.

What would you like to say to your fans in New Zealand, and others worldwide?
First of all, thanks for supporting my books and allowing me to do the thing I’ve always felt God calling me to do—write stories. I will do my best to keep you awake at night. I promise.

(By the way, when people ask me where if I could go and visit anywhere in the world, New Zealand is the place I list first. Someday I hope to visit your beautiful country and do some trekking and caving. That would be a blast.)

Do you have any parting words?

Thanks for the invitation!

Buy Steven's Books at The Book Depository

Free Delivery on all Books at the Book Depository


Be in to win a copy of The King
Contest open to entrants worldwide.
Contest runs from July 22 - 28 NZDT

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