It is a privilege to have Jim share at Relz Reviewz and we hope you enjoy this interview.
Over to you, Jim:~
If you could have chosen your own name, what would it be?
I changed my own name when I was eight years old and now wish I hadn’t. Until then everyone called me Jamie, but I thought it was girl’s name. So when my family moved from Seattle, WA to Spokane, WA I announced, “When we get to Spokane I’m not Jamie anymore, I’m Jim!” I wish I would have kept Jamie. Now I think it’s a cool name for a guy.
Your first pet’s name?
Trouble, a cat, and it was.
Your best friend’s name in primary (elementary) school?
Dave Damrell. I found him on Facebook three or four months ago. Very fun to connect again.
Did you have a special toy that went everywhere with you when you were young? Please describe.
Oh, wow. Do I have to describe the first thing that popped into my mind? Okay, fine. I loved playing sports growing up and had this small plastic baseball player that even went on vacations with me. I called him Basey. I know, not too original, but hey, I was seven.
A few years ago my mom gives me a box of old junk from my childhood and Basey was in there. Here’s something no one knows until now: A few pages into ROOMS Micah makes a quick reference to a company called Bay-C. Yep, it’s my nod to a treasured childhood toy. ROOMS is actually full of inside jokes like that.
If you were stranded on a desert island what one object would you want with you? (Besides your Bible)
My laptop. I don’t know if other writers feel like this, but I can’t not write. If I go a few days without writing I start to feel jittery. (I sure hope your desert island has electricity.)
Cookies and Cream. But I’m weird. I like to stick my ice cream in the microwave for a few seconds and make it almost soupy before I eat it.
Two things. An author and Evel Knievel. My mom would never let me get a dirt bike growing up. Now my boys and I all have them. Great fun. (But I don’t jump cars.)
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Italy with my wife for at least a month.
The Chronicles of Narnia (all seven in one volume so they can count as one. J
Heroes, Bones, Lost or The Brady Bunch?
Captain Jack Sparrow, Indiana Jones or Jason Bourne?
Jason by the width of a quark. Indiana is that close. Sorry, Jack, you make me smile but you’re a distant third.
Baseball, basketball or gridiron? (I’d put cricket in there but don’t like my chances!)
Gridiron, I’m really hoping to play football again in heaven. Cricket? Huh?
Not even close. GBR all the way. I went scuba diving there in the early 90s and can’t wait to go back someday.
Where’s the most interesting place you have been?
Australia. My wife and I loved it. For the people. For the sites. The beauty. For the weather. All of it.
Rel: Okay, so I REALLY like you now Here’s a picture of the Twelve Apostles, a couple of hours from my place!
Tie between It’s a Wonderful Life and The Matrix. You see how those go together, right?
Marketing, public speaking, writing ~ which one comes most naturally?
Wow, tough. All three are deep inside my comfort zone, but I’ll probably have to go with public speaking as the most natural; it’s a gift I’ve always had. I’ve been always been okay speaking without ever working at it. Marketing and writing I’ve had to study in depth to get proficient. When I was in second grade I was picked to make an announcement for some school assembly and it went really well. I’ve liked public speaking ever since.
What’s your most fervent prayer?
That God says, “Well done, while on earth you maxed out the gifts I gave you.”
What is your favourite Bible verse (or “one” of your favorites) and what does it mean to you?
Matt 6:19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
We’re not taking anything with us after our short time of being mist on this earth except for our relationships—with each other and God. So why do we spend so much time on stuff that in seventy or eighty years that will be gone for eternity?
Besides God, who has influenced you the most?
C.S. Lewis. His fiction made me want to be a writer, his non-fiction—specifically Mere Christianity—made me say for the first time, “Hey, there’s someone out there that has put into words what I’m feeling.”
What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?
I’m terrified of heights. So it took a lot of courage to jump out of an airplane at 10,000 feet. I figured if I faced my fear I would conquer it. Didn’t work, but what a rush! I’m a bit of a thrill seeker, so I was terrified and loved it at the same time.
What was your most embarrassing moment in High School?
My lawyer says I can’t tell you.
Rel: But I’m a lawyer so would keep it confidential ~ LOL!!
We went to dinner at the Farm House Inn which is halfway in-between Seattle and Bellingham. Then drove to the top of Mount Erie a few miles from there. Spectacular views. A Mount Erie reference made it into my next novel.
Ask each of your kids one thing they think is great about their Dad and share it with us, please!
Micah says, “Your creativity, and such incredible love for his kids that you canceled an important meeting to be with me on my birthday.”
Taylor says, “Your ability to relate to and talk to people of different views, to be able to help them in what they’re going through in life, your perceptiveness to see through the surface level and get down to the heart of the issue.”
Rel: Thanks boys ~ what’s Dad going to do about character names now?!
What or whom inspired you to write this story?
When I was a teenager I read Robert Munger’s little pamphlet My Heart, Christ’s Home. When I was in my mid-twenties I thought, “What if you took that idea and put it on steroids? Then I mixed in flavors of my favorite movies and books and out came ROOMS.
Micah is a mix of three specific personalities I had in mind when I wrote it, and I’m probably one of them. So yeah, there’s some of Jim in Micah. And there are some bits and pieces in ROOMS that actually happened to me. No, I’m not telling which ones. J
Please describe each of your main characters with one word.
Rick – wise
Micah – passionate.
Sarah – perfect.
Did you have the plot fully determined before you started writing ROOMS or did you go on an intriguing journey wondering where it would end up, just like Micah?
I went on the journey! I didn’t know how to write a novel, so I just let my imagination go, like a movie playing in my mind and wrote down what I saw. I was constantly surprised.
What do you hope readers take away from this story?
Freedom. Healing. A determination to step into the density God planned for them.
What was your favourite scene to write? The most difficult?
The scene with Rick and Micah on Cape Lookout at the end of the book.
The scene right after that one.
You have just finished writing your second novel. Care to share?!
Absolutely. It’s the story of a young man searching for God’s book of days—described in Psalm 139—that has recorded the past present and future of every soul on earth.
Cameron Vaux is losing the memories of his wife, who died two years earlier in a car accident and it terrifies him. When he hears a vague legend to a book hidden in Three Peaks, Oregon he heads there to see if it’s real and recover. But his quest turns out to be far more than just searching for the book.
Thanks for having me, Rel! GREAT questions!
An absolute pleasure, Jim!! GREAT answers Really enjoyed getting to know you better and so looking forward to your next offering.
Relz Reviewz Extras
Review of ROOMS
Character spotlight on Micah Taylor