Photo courtesy of http://www.stevenjames.net/bio/
Please welcome author Steven James, a national bestselling novelist with over 30 books to his name. His newest release Every Crooked Path is the eighth book in the critically acclaimed Bowers Files, a series of psychological thrillers which currently includes The Pawn, The Rook, The Knight, The Bishop,The Queen, The King, Checkmate, and a prequel Opening Moves. He has received three Christy awards for this series and numerous other honors for his writing.
1. What inspired you to write Every Crooked Path?
News reports of people at major search engine companies who have to analyze reported websites and decide if they contain child pornography or not. They spend all day, every day, looking at illegal content—the worst things that humanity has ever recorded doing to children—and then they go home to their families at night. I began to study cybercrimes, and decided it was an important topic that a lot of other novelists were shying away from, but that is part of our world today and needs to be addressed.
2. What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, or logistical) in creating this book?
Well, lots of psychological ones, since I was studying crimes that were hard to think about. I interviewed a former undercover FBI agent and several digital forensics experts to get the inside scoop on investigations involving tracking cyber criminals. Some of it was intriguing, some disturbing, but it all helped me shape a more realistic story.
3. What books have most influenced your life, your writing?
My spiritual life is important to me, so the Bible deeply influences the way I look at the world. I’ve also always loved short fiction—horror, thrillers, anything with a twist. (I know, two ends of the spectrum. Different types of adrenaline when I’m in different moods.)
4. If you had to choose, which author would you consider a mentor?
Hmm . . . I perhaps learned the most about the economy of language from an American Book Award winner named Walter Wangerin Jr. His novel The Book of the Dun Cow really influenced me when I was early in my writing career.
5. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
Toughest—when people judge me personally by what I include in my books. I don’t mind if they want to criticize the plot, but the personal attacks are out of line.
Best—when someone writes to me and says, “I hate reading, but I loved your book. You made me want to start reading again.” That makes it all worthwhile.
6. Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Just finished my YA thriller Curse, which will be released in May, 2016. I’m gearing up for a trip to Detroit to research my next Bowers novel, which will happen there. I’ve never really poked around the city, so that should be interesting.
7. How can we contact you or find out more about your books?