This week our guest at FIVE ON FRIDAY is New York Times Best-Selling author James Rollins. This week, Jim has entered the world of Children’s Books with the publication of his new YA Novel Jake Ransom and The Skull King’s Shadow.
Visit James at his website www.jamesrollins.com.
When did you know that you first wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always been the storyteller in the family (what my Mom called being the “Liar” of the family). I was always terrifying my siblings with stories of Martians loose in the neighboring cornfields and of a ventriloquist doll that would wake at night and wander the house looking for blood. I also read a lot growing up, but I’d say it was junior high when I truly began setting pen to paper and truly considered writing for a living.
What book or writer/artist do you feel influenced you the most?
If I had to pick one, I’d say Michael Crichton. I have all of his books, including a signed first-edition of The Andromeda Strain. His mix of science, adventure, and suspense is the stuff I love. It’s the reason I write what I do today. He is an author I admire both for his versatility and his bottomless ingenuity. Though many have tried to follow in his footsteps, none have succeeded. He will be missed.
What book or books are you currently reading or have recently read that you’d recommend to others?
One book really stood out this past year of me, and I’ve been telling lots of people about it: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. It’s a YA novel about a Survivor-like game show of the future, where children compete in a kill-or-be-killed competition. Loved the whole world she creates, and especially the main character.
If you could offer one piece of advice to aspiring writers (or illustrators), what would it be?
It’s also only one word: READ. There’s the old adage that you should “write everyday” if you wish to get published, which is definitely true. You do need to practice and hone your craft. But I’d like to add a caveat to that old nugget: “Write everyday, but read every night.” There is no better teacher on the craft than a good book. Whatever problem you struggle with during your writing day (dialog, opening a scene, etc), you’ll discover a great example on how to address that in the book you read that night. If you write everyday and read every night, you’ll grow stronger and stronger as a writer. That, and don’t forget to floss.
I’m currently polishing up the sequel to by first Jake Ransom middle school book. It’s titled Jake Ransom and the Howling Sphinx, where Jake’s next adventure takes him deep into Egyptian mythologies and mysteries. But I also have another two books coming out this year. This summer is the next big Sigma series book, ominously titled The Doomsday Key. And this winter will be a stand-alone thriller called Altar of Eden.