I had opportunity to ask a few questions from one of my favorite authors and storytellers, Steven James. If you haven’t heard of Steve yet; he’s the critically acclaimed author of the Patrick Bowers Files, the Blur Trilogy, the Jevin Banks series, as well as books on the writing craft.
Steven James also teams up with another Bestselling author, Robert Dugoni, who both are instructors at the Novel Writing Intensive Retreat.
- Steven hosts a great podcast called the “The Story Blender” where he interviews leading storytellers in film, print, and web.
- His book Story Trumps Structure won a storytelling award.
- Has twice served as Master Craftfest instructor at ThrillerFest a premier training event for suspense writers.
- International Thriller Award Finalist, Retailers Choice Award Finalist, Suspense Magazine Book of the Year, Best Crime Thriller Christy Award, and multiple Christy Awards.
So if you haven’t been on the bandwagon yet, hop on in!
From your recent interviews on the Storyblender which things have stood out to you? Or what have you learned?
A couple of moments pop to mind. When I was interviewing Sandra Brown, she mentioned asking herself the question “What do I know that readers don’t?” and, I believe, in her book she tries only to reveal this on the last page. I thought that was a great question to ask. When I spoke with Hollywood producer Steve La Rue, I asked him who was the main character in the X Files, one of the shows that he championed. He told me that it was Scully because she’s the one who’s transformed throughout the series. This is something that I had believed myself and it was informative to have him confirm it. It’s hard to choose, as our guests have been wonderful, and the interviews are always informative, not just to listeners but also to me.
In Every Wicked Man, do you have any thoughts on how the next case affects Patrick Bowers?
Every Wicked Man is really a story that ties together the prequel series with the chess series, completing the narrative circle. Although Patrick certainly has his work cut out for him tackling the case in this book, it’s a much more intimate look at his relationship with Christie, his wife, and Tessa, his stepdaughter, as he steps into the role of being a father-figure for her.
According to your experience as a storyteller and reader how would you define the imagination?
What an interesting question. I’m not sure how to define the imagination, but I certainly try to appeal to it through the stories that I tell and write. I feel like one of the best ways to do so is through sharing instances where people can identify with either the emotion of an experience or the truth that the story conveys. Very often, humor comes in pointing out truth that people haven’t noticed yet. Sometimes this can be done through exaggeration, but when an audience or when readers identify with something, nod their heads and say “yes, that’s true” or “yes, I’ve experienced that,” then you’ve made the connection to their beliefs and their imaginations.
Are you pumped for the upcoming ITW online Thriller school?
I’m always excited to share insights that I’ve learned over the last twenty years of being a writer, but this event holds a special place for me because it is targeted at those who write suspense or thrillers just as I do. Another great opportunity that your tribe might be interested in is the Character Conference I’m teaching in October in Atlanta with a couple of other mystery/suspense writers (www.characterconference.com). For anyone who signs up through this interview, if they use the code ALUMNI, they can receive a $25 discount on the registration cost.