Thank you to all who joined us for our Facebook chat with James Rubart, author of Rooms. I’ve captured (and slightly reorganized) that chat here to make it easier to follow. Enjoy the wisdom he offers…
Jim Rubart It took me six years to write ROOMS, two years to write BOOK OF DAYS, five months to write THE CHAIR, ten weeks to write SOUL’S GATE (comes out in early November) and I’m on pace to finish the novel I’m working on right now in six weeks, so it’s apparently getting easier although it’s tough writing 3,500 words per day!
Simply Faithful OH MY GOODNESS! That, my friend, is some fast writing!
Simply Faithful Do you think that it is because you are a better/faster writer now or because you tackled some of your fears?
Jim Rubart Certainly fear is a part of writing. (When are they going to figure out I can’t write!) But it’s like anything you do, you understand the process better each time you do it which speeds things up. Uh, and there’s always the factor of having a deadline you’re getting paid to meet.
Tanya Shaw Herrold Jim – Were you fearful that Rooms would be “rejected” because of the rooms and voices? It does not seem as “main stream” as most Christian Fiction.
Jim Rubart It was rejected, Tanya. By every major publisher, even B&H who eventually bought it. But God had other plans.
Tanya Shaw Herrold Were you feeling discouraged or did you know God had plans?
Jim Rubart At that point I wasn’t discouraged because I had decided to believe I was a writer even if I never was published. So I just started working on BOOK OF DAYS. Then I met the editor at B&H who had rejected ROOMS and he said he’d read 200 manuscripts since he’d read mine and mine was the one he couldn’t get out of his head so he took another shot at getting the committee at B&H to buy it and obviously they did.
Tanya Shaw Herrold You believed you were a writer! WOW! That is a powerful statement. How did you arrive at the point where you could believe in yourself like that?
Jim Rubart: I’d just gotten a rejection from Thomas Nelson for ROOMS (who is now my publisher for Soul’s Gate) and my wife asked me when I was going to start believing I was who God said I was even if no one else every agreed. That was the moment. My wife has been amazing. Cliche to say, but I wouldn’t be typing these words to you right now if not for her.
Tanya Shaw Herrold She sounds like an amazing woman who loves the Lord and trusts Him. Those are powerful words to say to your husband. I love that you listened and believed her. That is a lesson we could all learn from!
Simply Faithful We were just talking at dinner how it’s hard to remember what God says about us when the world says something else. (Your wife is a wise woman!)
Lisa Riggi Hi Jim… if I have a story to tell and would like to put it in book form, where do I start?
Jim Rubart Hi Lisa, I would start by immersing yourself in the blog of a friend of mine. I think it’s the best writers blog on the Web and it will give you a college level education on the publishing industry (be sure to go back and read all the old posts). http://www.rachellegardner.com/
Rebekah Cummings Weissert ditto on that. Rachelle Gardner’s website is fantastic.
Rebekah Cummings Weissert And if I may add a piece of advice, Lisa, if you haven’t started writing…start! And if you don’t know where to start, remember, you don’t have to start at the beginning. Start with your favorite scene and go from there. You can always fill in the beginning later.
Simply Faithful And then, Lisa, we’ll host a chat for you, too! Anybody who goes through the work of writing a book deserves to be celebrated.
Jim Rubart Well said, Rebekah.
Rebekah Cummings Weissert I thought about writing a book for many many years. That one piece of advice (start at your favorite scene) unlocked something for me and I had the bulk of the novel done in 3 months. Amazing what can happen when we stop being fearful and start writing. Guess I should take my own advice and work on book two, huh? haha
Lucinda Mellinger Anderson: Your new book Soul’s Gate( got a preview copy) from International Christian Retailers Show, my husband and I prayed through that, reminded us alot of Peretti spiritual warfare books.
Jim Rubart Lucinda, Dekker and Peretti were huge influences on me, so I’ll take that as a big compliment!
Jim Rubart Yes, definitely a flavoring of F.P. in that one! Wasn’t planning on it turning out that way, but it did!
Simply Faithful Do you know how your books will turn out before you start?
Jim Rubart No. Well sometimes …. uh … not really. Most of the time I have a premise and then start writing. The story forms as I write. The one I’m working on now (SWITCH) doesn’t have a firm middle begining or end yet … and I’m 72k words into it. So I suppose the simple answer is no, I see the story like a movie in my head and I simply transcribe what I’m seeing.
Jim Rubart Lucinda, if you’ve read my other books, where does Soul’s Gate in your like scale?
Lucinda Mellinger Anderson Have yet to read Chairs or Book of Days but really really loved Soul’s Gate!! The Matrix is not my favorite movie, I think I like more reality in my book!!
Jim Rubart So glad you liked it, Lucinda! My son and his girlfriend say it’s their favorite out of the four so far … mine is still ROOMS, first novel and all that.
Lucinda Mellinger Anderson Is every little detail intentional like the size of the house in Rooms?
Jim Rubart Yes, originally the home was 12k square feet, but I thought that was too big.
Lucinda Mellinger Anderson That is what several people talked about in the discussion group, deliberate details that lead the readers on!
Tanya Shaw Herrold That is why I read the entire book in one day! I was drawn to how the story was going to end/begin
Jim Rubart Yeah, those sneaky authors!
Lucinda Mellinger Anderson I love the way fiction books can relay truths that linger with people longer and discussed more, like the point gets across to them with out the preaching style of other books, so Rooms has made some more aware of the “rooms”" we all need to deal with as Christians.
Rebekah Cummings Weissert I agree Lucinda! I love fiction for that reason. This book does stay with you and make you think! I did a radio interview recently and the host almost didn’t have me on because he said he only interviewed non-fiction authors. But I’m passionate about telling the truth through fiction and he admitted that he had neglected fiction as a viable tool to reach people.
Simply Faithful Do the people who live there know about the book? If so, what do they think?
Jim Rubart They don’t … but I when we went to Cannon Beach to film the scenes for the ROOMS Small Group Experience DVD and workbook, then we went into Morris’ Fireside restaurant and met the owner and he knew all about the book.
Simply Faithful That had to be such a great feeling. How is it to share something so personal — and all writing is personal — and have strangers comment on it?
Jim Rubart Wild. I was in Switzerland recently and went to a bookstore there and they looked up the German version of ROOMS. Very strange to think people half a world away are reading a novel of mine in a different language.
Linda Gordon We’ve talked a lot about fear, but what are some other chains that we put on ourselves or allow others to put on us?
Jim Rubart One of the biggest is living to please others. We wear the “clothes” our parents and teachers and coaches and friend put on us instead of living for the approval of One.
Rebekah Cummings Weissert: Jim, I’ve written and published my first novel…and people are constantly asking me when the next one is coming out. I tell them I’m working on it…and I do have ideas. But everyone has loved the first one so much, I know I’m scared that it was a fluke and what if the next one doesn’t measure up. Did you deal with that fear?
Jim Rubart Oh wow, YES! I did. The response to ROOMS was so strong I was definitely nervous when BOOK OF DAYS came out. That whole, “I only have one book in me” thing. But a lot of people liked BOOK OF DAYS better, and now when I ask people who have read all three of my novels which is their favorite, the vote is evenly split … so I’m maybe sorta kinda starting to believe I have more books in me.
Rebekah Cummings Weissert Really comforting to hear I guess “trust with all your heart” means with all my heart and I need to just move forward.
Jim Rubart If you haven’t read ROOMS, stop reading now. J Just curious when people figured out Rick was more than he appeared to be.
Tanya Shaw Herrold I felt like there was a uniqueness about him but, I did NOT see the guardian angel thing coming. He was a powerful voice!
Simply Faithful I usually pick up on that kind of thing pretty quickly, and I’d guess I was about halfway through the book… I think when he was “away” from the shop.
Jim Rubart Rick is my favorite character in the book.
Simply Faithful See, I would have thought Micah was your favorite. Why Rick?
Rebekah Cummings Weissert Now I have to go read the book again! It’s been a year. I would have read it again if I’d known get to join in on this convo tonight. But I remember loving Rick.
Jim Rubart Rick is strong and kind and wise and powerful when he needs to be and has such love and passion for Micah. I love Micah too, but I can’t help thinking how cool it would be to have a Rick in my life.
Simply Faithful You do have a Rick, right?
Jim Rubart Yes, I do. Jesus.
Tanya Shaw Herrold Rooms affected me in such a positive way. It opened my eyes and helped me see things as they were. Is it intimidating, knowing you are touching people’s lives in such a personal way?
Jim Rubart Well, this is going to sound so spiritual but it’s true. I’m just stepping into where I think Jesus is leading me and then it’s up to the Holy Spirit to do the heavy lifting. So it is me, but it isn’t me at the same time. I’m just so grateful to Jesus he’s allowed me to go on this wild ride.
Tanya Shaw Herrold I think it is a blessing to those of us who read your work. You are using your gift to give glory and honor to God by sharing the truth and opening eyes.
Tanya Shaw Herrold Listen to Jim’s wife! Is she taking on Life Coaching?
Simply Faithful And how do we stay there? I give myself little pep talks and sometimes I’m fearful again before noon!
Jim Rubart She should! If perfect love (Jesus) casts out fear, then the simple (but often hard to practice) answer it to continually press in to Him.
Jim Rubart But there’s much more to it than that. We need healing from past wounds. We need to understand the depth of God’s love. We need to understand what our destiny is and trust that God will lead us into it. And we need to realize we are dead. I no longer live but Christ lives in me. We have to die to self, give up our lives. How can a dead man or woman fear? But again, easier said than done.
Tanya Shaw Herrold Wow. I think sometimes we don’t know what/who are past hurts. Well, maybe it is just me….. I enjoyed the imagery of only truly being able to live one life. Either with God or money. Did you experience the crumbling of a life when you were saved?
Tanya Shaw Herrold I struggle with fear and pep talks! I saw a quote about being fearful of being great. You made it sound easy to listen to your wife. Was it?
Jim Rubart Yes it was, Tanya. She has incredible wisdom, but if you mean was it easy to believe, no, it wasn’t. Sorry, in this life freedom is available, but we have an enemy not so keen on that happening. Just like an athlete has to train their body for competition, we have to train (renew our minds as it says in Romans) if we want to find victory.