I recently sat down with my future self to discuss my career as a bestselling novelist. James shared his incredible story and offered some tantalizing hints about future projects.
JAW: Thanks for joining me.
James: My pleasure. It's nice to see you again.
JAW: So here we are just two weeks away from the release of your latest novel, The Last Woman on Earth. How excited are you about this book?
James: Well, let me tell you. This is the best book I've ever written. I know I said that about my last novel, Five Years Tomorrow, but this one is better.
Here's the premise. The entire earth's population has been wiped out. Gone. Dead. Game Over. But two people have survived. One is Ransom Whitfield, a man who was just recently awarded the man of the year award by Time Magazine. He's a handsome movie star, a millionaire, a man who has it all.
The other survivor is a woman by the name of Sheila Mugwall. She is a burn victim. Half of her face is scared from the flames. You would cringe at the sight of her.
Ransom and Sheila meet up. They are the only people left on earth. The most handsome man alive meets the most ugly woman he's ever seen. She's the last woman on earth. Will they fall in love? Or will mankind be lost forever?
JAW: Wow. That sounds pretty interesting.
James: It's an idea I've had for a long time. It's going to blow people away. There's never been a book like this before.
JAW: I can't imagine there has. Now, you're incredibly successful, a #1 New York Times bestseller, you've been published in over twenty different languages. When you sit down to write, do you feel any pressure knowing that literally millions of people will be reading your next book?
James: Let me tell you something. You're a young writer, not yet published, so you don't know what it's like to really have people read your work. There is nothing more satisfying than knowing that my stories will be read all around the world.
JAW: So no pressure?
James: I'm not saying that I don't get a little panicky sometimes. I mean, who doesn't? But I know that I'm supposed to write, you know? If I didn't write, I'd just be stupid. I mean, I'd probably sit in the corner and just twitch or something.
JAW: I see that your hand is twitching now.
James: Yeah. That started shortly after I finished writing my fourth novel. It's my writer's twitch. My hand is always trying to write. I can't stop it.
JAW: Sounds frustrating.
James: You learn to live with it.
JAW: Take us back for a moment. Tell us how you made your big break.
James: Yeah, sure. So my agent, this sweet little gal, she had come to her wits end trying to sell my books. Nobody was buying these things. We got all sorts of nice rejections, but no deals. So I finally called her and said, "Look, this isn't going to happen. We should accept the fact that nobody is going to buy my work."
She told me that she would try one more time. She would take my strongest novel--I'd written four of them at this time--and she would send it to the last editor she knew.
I said, "Okay. Whatever. Why not?"
A week later: ring, ring. Guess what? It's my agent. She tells me she sold the book.
JAW: You were happy?
James: I almost peed my pants. Then she tells me that she not only sold one book, but the publisher wants to buy all four of my completed novels and sign me on for three more books.
JAW: That was huge.
James: It was bigger than huge. It was a dream come true. Better than winning American Idol. I literally floated off the ground I was so happy.
JAW: But then something bad happened.
James: I fell off my house and broke my back. I was paralyzed from the neck down. Couldn't even move my pinky.
JAW: What was going through your head?
James: A lot of bad words. Actually, I thought this couldn't be possible. I finally get published and will be able to write full time and now I can't even move my fingers. I ate a lot of fattening foods. Through a straw. I was depressed.
It was bad. Really bad.
JAW: You thought about killing yourself.
James: No, that's not true. I never thought about killing myself. That would be too easy. I wasn't going to give up. I was going to figure this out.
JAW: Your wife wrote your next book while you dictated it.
James: Yep. She's the greatest woman in the world. I really don't deserve her. She was so patient. We'd stay up late at night and she'd write and I'd talk. It took forever. When we finally finished the book, I didn't think I could ever do it again.
JAW: And then the miracle happened. The miracle that made you better.
James: Someday I'm going to write an autobiography, and nobody is going to believe what I'm about to tell you. But it's true. Every bit of it is true. I was paralyzed from the neck down. Never going to walk again. Then something happened that healed me and gave me back my hope.
Tune in next week to hear James's amazing story of healing and to get a tantalizing hint about his upcoming project.