A Conversation with James L. Rubart

Today, the INSPY Awards warmly welcomes author, James L. Rubart. His novel, The Long Journey to Jake Palmer (Thomas Nelson) is on the 2017 shortlist in the Speculative Fiction category. Please join us in welcoming James.

James shares the inspiration behind his shortlisted novel, read about the TV shows he’s watching, and read what wins his “faceoff” questions – plus more!


What if there was a place where everything wrong in your life could be fixed?

Corporate trainer Jake Palmer coaches people to see deeper into themselves—yet he barely knows himself anymore. Recently divorced and weary of the business life, Jake reluctantly agrees to a lake-house vacation with friends, hoping to escape for ten days.

When he arrives, Jake hears the legend of Willow Lake—about a lost corridor that leads to a place where one’s deepest longings will be fulfilled.

Jake scoffs at the idea, but can’t shake a sliver of hope that the corridor is real. And when he meets a man who mutters cryptic speculations about the corridor, Jake is determined to find the path, find himself, and fix his crumbling life.

But the journey will become more treacherous with each step Jake takes. – Goodreads

Interview Questions

INSPYs: What was the inspiration behind the characters in The Long Journey to Jake PalmerWhen our boys were young, Darci (my wife) and I took them to the same lake each summer in eastern Washington. One day, we anchored our boat at the end of the lake and I pointed at a wall of cattails and trees and said, “Anyone want to see if we can make it through and find out what’s on the other side?” We swam up to the cattails, pushed through them and the trees and wound up in a lush meadow on the other side. I told the boys we’d entered another realm full of mystery and adventure. Years later, Darci and were brainstorming story ideas and she said, “Do a story on the end of the lake. Make a legendary lost corridor that if you can find it, and get through it, the person will get what they want most in the world.” So yes, the corridor in the book is based on a real place.

Jake, the main character is the one that searches for the corridor and he is someone (like many of us) that never feels like he’s enough. Enough for his parents, friends, his wife … and the idea for him came from a close friend who has struggled all their life with meeting other’s expectations. One of the other characters that has a huge supporting role in the novel is Susan May Warren who has become a dear friend of Darci’s and mine. It was a kick to make her a character in the story.

What were some of the greatest challenges you found in writing this story? I had to write it lightning fast (8 weeks) and I struggled with figuring out where the story was going. Most of the time I have a strong idea of the overall plot, but this time it came together in a bunch of fragmented pieces. I’d write during the day and brainstorm with Darci at night. Plus I brainstormed with five other friends/authors so I had notes and ideas strewn all over the place. Thankfully I have two brilliant editors, Amanda Bostic and Erin Healy who helped it all come together in the end.


What are you reading or what’s on your nightstand? Big Magic, Originals, Cain, Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader, and a stack of novels folks have asked me to read for possible endorsement. Trying to figure out how to read at night when I’m asleep.

What are you currently watching? We’re watching Designated Survivor, The Killing, Survivor and can’t wait for the next season of Stranger Things.

Faceoff Questions:
  1. PC or Mac? PC … but I’m weakening. The pressure, the pressure! (My sons have been trying to convert me for years.) Next laptop will be a Mac.
  2. Print or Ebook? If I have a choice, print all the way. But I read on my Kindle a lot as well.
  3. Comedy or Action?Action, no, comedy. No, action. I like both, but I’ll stop on action because (for me) the comedies of the last 5 – 10 years have rocketed down to the lowest common denominator for laughs, and that just doesn’t work for me.


James L. Rubart is a professional marketer, speaker, and writer. He serves on the board of the Northwest Christian Writers Association and lives with his wife and sons in the Pacific Northwest. Learn more at www.jameslrubart.com.

Thanks so much for joining us on the INSPYs blog today, James. It was a pleasure to host you and spotlight your shortlisted novel, The Long Journey to Jake Palmer.