The award-winning author talks about the biblical roots of a classic tale of terror—and his modern-day take on the story.
Bestselling speculative author James L. Rubart offers his modern take on Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic novella The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde with The Man He Never Was (Thomas Nelson). Eight months after he vanished, Toren Daniels shows up on his family’s doorstep a radically different man. There’s no hint of the raging temper they’d endured. He’s oddly patient and kind—but then the real battle begins. In this exclusive interview, James discusses why he writes supernatural fiction, how he relates to his conflicted main character, and the unusual inspiration for his next novel.
How did you first get interested in supernatural fiction, and what appeals to you about the genre?
Such a great question! Growing up I was a voracious reader of all kinds of fiction, but loved most of all the stories where the unexpected and fantastical happened. As I got older and my faith developed, I realized not only is the Bible a collection of fantastical stories, but the stories actually happened. So when I began to tell my own stories, I suppose it was natural to combine my faith with the kind of tales I loved reading.
How would you describe your stories?
It’s always been tough to describe my genre, but let’s take a shot…
Contemporary stories set in the real world, where fantastical things happen. Or, psychological soul-searching thrillers with a supernatural bent based on a Christian world view.
Or simply, supernatural suspense.
Where do your ideas come from?
My brilliant wife, seeing a journal laying on the side of the road soaking in the rain (the idea for my novel coming out in 2019), an offhand comment from a friend, questions I’m wrestling with in my own life—it’s never the same way twice. They find me much more often than I find them.
Click through to find out how James uses supernatural fiction to share biblical truth…