I've been so impressed and spell-bound by Jim's visit on Everyone's Story last week that I've asked him a few additional questions. I hope you enjoy his responses.
No matter how many times I have read your account of how God united you and Terry Caffey, I am awed at how God led you to this grieving man by way of a single page from your novel to help lift Terry up from what must be one of the worst tragedies for the human heart to endure. A true testimonial of God at work! As for you, other than this incident turning your career around, has it served to uplift you on a personal basis? In other words, has it changed the man James Pence?
It's changed me in a number of ways. First, it's totally changed my perspective on writing for publication. So much in publishing is about sales figures, platform, marketing, etc. We tend to measure the success of a book by how many copies it sells. I don't think that way anymore, because this showed me that it's not about numbers; it's about the lives God touches through my writing. That takes a lot of the pressure off. God wants me to be faithful to Him in my writing and trust him with the results.
It's also changed me on a personal level because I realize that, while we tend to look at the big picture, God is in the details. I'm more attentive to the little things I do and how God can use them in the lives of others.
With the publication of TERROR BY NIGHT you became a collaborator. Are there any other collaborations happening in your life that you are more aware of now since meeting and working with Terry Caffey? Do you believe all of us need to tap into a collaboration--a working partnership--with a God who we don't see and therefore cannot sit across a desk from in an office and sign a legal document liable for penalties if invalidated?
Most definitely. This experience brought me to the realization that, whether I know it or not, I am in a "collaboration" with God. As I write, I trust him to use my words for his glory. I think that applies to whatever we do. As we trust Him to work in and through our gifts and abilities, God can do great things through us.
And for fun: if you had all the time in the world, along with no financial concerns, and let's throw in a binding publishing contract no matter what you wrote, what would you like to (or dare to) write about?
Probably the next wildly-successful ten-part end-of-times novel series. (Just kidding.)
I have to be honest here. I don't have the slightest idea. Unlike many novelists, I've never been overflowing with story ideas. In fact, most of my fiction ideas have to be pulled out of me kicking and screaming. That's why I've begun to gravitate to narrative non-fiction. I enjoy being able to tell true stories of God's amazing works.
With that in mind, if I had all the time in the world, no financial concerns, and a publishing contract, I'd be waiting for someone to come to me with an awesome, knockout story about what God has done in his or her life.