Q&A: James Scott Bell
WHAT LED YOU TO WRITE ONE MORE LIE?
I love the old pulp noir feel, and this was written in the style of James M. Cain. It's basically a "confessional" where the narrator explains what went wrong and how he paid for his choices. Like in The Postman Always Rings Twice.
STARTING OUT, WHO WERE THE AUTHORS WHO INSPIRED YOU? WHO INSPIRES YOU NOW?
So many. Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, of course. Hemingway, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Erle Stanley Gardner. Later, Lawrence Block, Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Michael Connelly. These authors spring to mind. But I love the older ones, too. Dickens, for instance.
HOW DOES YOUR FAITH INFLUENCE YOUR WRITING?
Every story I write has a moral thread running through it. As John Gardner, the great writing teacher said, great art should be a vision of how the artist thinks life should be lived. So my worldview informs my writing, and it can do it in many ways and in many genres. In my novels for Zondervan, for instance, the faith struggle of the characters is up front. In a novella like Watch Your Back, it's in the background. But in both cases what I think and feel as a writer, and what I think and feel about all too human characters in crisis, just comes through naturally in the course of the story.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU KNOWN THAT YOU WANTED TO BE AN AUTHOR?
Since I was about seven or eight years old, writing "novels" in elementary school. Big influence then was The Hardy Boys. When I got to high school I more into sports, but my all time favorite teacher, Mrs. Bruce at Taft High, saw something in me and encouraged my writing. I got discouraged in college, where I was told "Writers are born, not made." I believed that for a long time. But the urge to write would not go away, so eventually I went out and started to try to learn. And now I teach others what I wish I'd had back at the beginning."
WHAT DO YOU MOST HOPE THAT READERS GET FROM READING YOUR WORK?
An emotional, page turning experience. That's always #1 for a writer of fiction. If a reader is not caught up in the story, it doesn't much matter what the author believes!