Into the Mind of James Rubart

Welcome back, Realmies for another exciting interview! Today we are delighted to have James Rubart talking with us! Let’s delve right in.


How many books did you write before being published?

None. Yeah, I know, crazy that the first novel I ever tried to write was published.


Why do you write speculative fiction? What draws you to it?

I never thought about it until someone pointed it out to me. (That I write spec fiction.) I was at a conference early in my career and an editor asked if I wrote spec. I said no, contemporary. He asked what my story was about. I said, “It’s about a guy that inherits this house that’s a physical manifestation of his soul.” He starts laughing and says my story is colossally spec. Again, I don’t think about it when I’m writing, I simply write the kind of stories that I’d love to read. It took me a long time to accept the fact that not everyone likes stories with spec elements in them. What’s wrong with them! Yes, at this point I realize we’re not all wired the same. And that’s okay … I think.



James shows off his powerful Water-bending skills. Er, Water skiing, yeah, that’s what we meant.

What is your favorite TV show?

LOST, greatest show ever to hit the small screen. Sorry, I’ll pretend I don’t hear you if you ask me about the final episode. It didn’t happen. I’m still waiting for it.


Would you rather live in Middle-Earth, Tatooine, or aboard the Starship Enterprise?

Is this a trick question? Sure, I’d love to visit Tatooine, and the Enterprise, but there’s only one correct answer to this question: Middle-Earth all the way.


What was your favorite movie as a child?

Is a fourteen year old still a child? Yeah? Then I gotta go with Star Wars: A New Hope


What is your favorite food?

Crab. Close second is artichokes.



What was the inspiration behind your most recently published work?

When my boys were young, we used to anchor our boat at the end of a little lake in eastern Washington, then swim through these cattails, through these reeds, then push through the trees to this big open meadow. I told the boys we’d just entered into another realm. When I was brainstorming with my wife, she said, “Write your story about that. It’s a legendary lost corridor that no one can find. But if someone does find it, they’ll get what they want most in the world.” That’s how The Long Journey to Jake Palmer was born. Thanks, Darci!


A toast to great spec writing!



What subgenre of speculative is your favorite to write? Read?

To write: Time travel. To read: Time travel. That’s one of the reasons I’m so pumped about a time travel series I’m going to be doing with Susan May Warren and her son David.


Looks like an epic adventure is about to happen!

Are you a panster or a plotter?  

I’m a hybrid. I’ve written most of my novels as a full out pantser, and one that was fully plotted. Now I’m in the middle where I have a rough sketch of the whole story, but once I dive in and start playing around it often changes significantly.


What is one piece of writing advice someone has given you that actually helped you?

If you want readers to love your stories, leave out the boring parts.


What are you doing/teaching at the Realm Makers conference?

I’m pumped to be teaching a course with Mary Weber:

Heroes, Villains, & the Heart of Your Story: Building an Epic Book from Start to Finish

Heroes? Check. Villains? Of course. And does your story have heart? Without question. But how can you combine these three elements in such a way that your novel breaks out and is embraced by more than just your critique group? Come join this humorous and creative continuing session that explains book building from start to finish—including favorite plotting methods, diversity, themes, addressing sex and other issues, creating believable heroes and villains—as well as a list of easy and engaging ways to ground your spec story for the modern reader. Plus, you’ll get a sneak peek behind the scenes at what Mary Weber and James L. Rubart use in crafting their own stories that have made them both bestselling and Christy-Award-winning authors. Be ready for facts, fun, and a whole lot of encouragement as we talk about the details of story and the heart of Jesus.





James L. Rubart is 28 years old, but lives trapped inside an older man’s body. He thinks he’s still young enough to water ski like a madman and dirt bike with his two grown sons, and loves to send readers on journeys they’ll remember months after they finish one of his stories. He’s the best-selling, Christy BOOK of the YEAR, INSPY, and RT Book Reviews award winning author of eight novels as well as a professional speaker and the co-host of the Novel Marketing podcast. During the day he runs his branding and marketing company which helps businesses, authors, and publishers make more coin of the realm. He lives with his amazing wife on a small lake in eastern Washington. More at


This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. hey Jim! My first ever book I wrote was published, too! Of course, mine was a picture book (details, details), but I only got TWO rejections before it got picked up by Concordia. And my best friend did the illustrations. We were an author/illustrator team – almost unheard of in the industry. Still, we did it! THEN I went to a writers conference and learned just how much I didn’t know about writing. hahahahaha!!

    Looking forward to seeing you in July!

    1. Yes, Pam! Looking forward to connecting. 🙂

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