The author on the resurrecting power of the Spirit to make us all we were meant to be.

James L. Rubart loves to send readers on journeys they’ll remember months after they finish one of his stories. He’s also the winner of numerous awards, including the 2016 Christy Award for Book of the Year.

His latest novel is The Pages of Her Life (Thomas Nelson): Allison Moore is barely scraping by and scrambling to help her mom. When she’s given a journal, anonymously, the words in the journal begin to disappear—and, inexplicably, new words fill the empty spaces. Ignoring those words could cost her everything—but so could embracing them.

In this exclusive interview, James reveals the inspiration for the novel, shares the spiritual theme of the book, and tells us his favorite thing about being a storyteller…

James, what inspired the story in The Pages of Her Life?

I was in stop-and-go traffic in Bellevue, Wash., waiting get on the freeway when I spotted a black moleskin journal lying on the side of the road. Something compelled me to get out of my car—even though it was pouring rain—and pick up the journal. There was just a bit of writing in the front, and in the back was a “Jesus” emblem glued to the inside back cover.

I started wondering—what if God had placed that journal there for me to find? What if I wrote in it? What if God wrote in it, like He did on the wall in the Old Testament?

From there, the story took off. I soon realized the heart of the story was about a woman who had stood up for everyone else in her life, but hadn’t ever truly stood up for herself. Until now. And the mysterious journal would help her accomplish that quest.

Tell us about Allison Moore. What about her made you want to tell her story?

I realized there are many of us who are fierce when we’re fighting for someone else. Not so much when it’s for ourselves. And then we live with regret for acquiescing and don’t experience the freedom that’s waiting for us if we’d only step into the strength God is constantly offering.

So, I wanted to tell Allison’s story because so much of it is mine, my friend’s stories, and probably thousands of people I’ll never meet.

So many of your books are about internal struggles—and the fantastical elements are tools to illuminate those internal struggles. What draws you to writing these particular flavors of speculative fiction?

Great question, and I wish I had a good answer! The truth is I write the kind of stories I would love to read, and I love tales with a splash of the fantastic in them.

I don’t consciously set out to put those elements into my novels, they just show up. As you can probably imagine, I’m a discover-the-story-as-I-go writer. I rarely know what’s going to happen ahead of time.

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