by Rel Mollet
James David Jordan Interview
"I decided from the beginning that if I was going to write, I was going to make a ministry out of it." -- James David Jordan
James David Jordan is a business litigation attorney with the prominent Texas law firm of Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr, P.C. From 1998 through 2005, he served as the firm's Chairman and CEO. The Dallas Business Journal has named him one of the most influential leaders in the Dallas/Fort Worth legal community and one of the top fifteen business defense attorneys in Dallas/Fort Worth. His peers have voted him one of the Best Lawyers in America in commercial litigation.
On top of all of that, Jim is a really nice guy! Author of the recently released Forsaken and Something That Lasts, Jim has the following to say on:~
Rel: Why Christian fiction?
James: I decided from the beginning that if I was going to write, I was going to make a ministry out of it. I don't get -- or, if I'm honest, I don't make -- many opportunities to witness. This is my way of witnessing. God has given me a talent (albeit a modest one), and I want to use it for his purposes.
You are a husband, Dad, attorney, “a most influential leader”, author, believer ~ which “label” do you most identity with?
Without question, husband and father. I've never been caught up in career accomplishments. That's a losing game. Someone else will always accomplish more. I'm thankful for whatever comes my way.
How do you fit your writing into what I imagine is an incredibly busy schedule?
With much difficulty. Actually, I've been working very hard for the past two years under my two-book contract with Broadman & Holman. I write in the evenings and on the weekends. Fortunately, my kids are older now and have activities of their own (which, sadly, usually don't include Dad). I do use time efficiently.
Forsaken is your second novel. How different was the writing experience for it from writing your debut novel, Something That Lasts?
It went much quicker, because I learned a lot from the experience of writing Something That Lasts. On the other hand, I was trying new things in Forsaken (e.g., writing the story in the first person; action scenes; scene in Lebanon). So there were many new challenges. I'd say that writing Something That Lasts was a more emotional experience because I felt so strongly about the subject (adultery). I enjoyed writing Forsaken because I got caught up in the action of the story. Plus, I have to admit, I love Taylor Pasbury. She's so attractively imperfect.
What writing project are you working on now? A sneak peek, please.
I'm about half-way through the sequel to Forsaken, which follows up on a mystery involving Simon Mason that was left unsolved in Forsaken. It also introduces a new character: Taylor Pasbury's somewhat wacky mother, who ran out on Taylor and her father when Taylor was nine. She's a fun character and they get into some real scrapes together. The book explores the mother-daughter relationship (which is another challenge for me as a guy), and how God wants us to deal with family members who let us down. It's an action story with a significant mystery component.
Please tell us the inspiration behind this novel
I wanted to explore the personal sacrifices we humans make for others. What motivates them? What do we get out of them? What can we learn about the idea of sacrifice from the sacrifices of martyrs, such as the Apostles Peter and Paul? And, most importantly, how does God use our decisions - even our imperfect decisions -- for good when we're trying hard to serve him the best way we can under difficult circumstances?
Given most men write male lead characters. What made you decide on a female lead and to write with her voice, in the first person?
I thought my readers, who are mostly women, would appreciate a strong woman in an action role. My first novel focused on male characters, and I wanted to try something completely different.
I also thought it would be interesting to write about Christian topics through the voice of a generally unreligious person like Taylor Pasbury. I hope readers root for Taylor to “come to Jesus.” I also hope that her viewpoint will be more interesting to people who would not ordinarily pick up a Christian novel.
Taylor is an interesting character - does she reflect any women you know?
Not really. All of my characters are composites. I draw on different traits that I see in different people I know (including myself) and mold them into someone completely new.
It was very important to me to make Taylor a flawed character, with problems and insecurities just like the rest of us. I didn't want her to be a superhero. As I said earlier, I love this character.
What was your favourite scene to write?
That's easy. The campfire scene. I love the conversation between Taylor and her dad, and I love the action part, too.
Any ideas who you might cast in a movie of Forsaken?
Not Angelina Jolie, that's for sure. I'm afraid to think about movies. It might jinx the book.
While this is a high octane suspense novel, at the heart it is story about a man having to make an unbearable choice between faith and family. Did you contemplate playing it out differently?
Yes. I went back and forth on which way to go, and finally decided the way I chose made for a more interesting story.
What impact do you hope this book has upon the reader?
My goal as a writer is to give readers fun, entertaining stories that stimulate thought on serious subjects of faith. In Something That Lasts, the issue was adultery. In Forsaken the issues were self-sacrifice and the way that God uses our decisions for good if we just keep doing our best.
Some favourite books, please? (Assuming you are a reader as well!)
I like the classics: War and Peace; The Brothers Karamazov; A Farewell to Arms; For Whom the Bell Tolls (I'm a fan of Hemingway's writing style.).
Newer stuff: Life of Pi; Cold Mountain (for the brilliant writing more than the story); The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night (genius idea and execution).
Favourite movie and favourite line from a movie?
Casablanca: Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.
Who inspires you?
My wife and kids. They are great people and they've changed my life.
Please tell us a little about your family
I've been married for 22 years. My wife is the nicest person on the planet earth. She makes me better. My daughter is a student at Southern Methodist University, studying English, Religion and (I insist) some business. She is as nice as her mother, which makes me happy. My son (who is also nice) is a junior in high school and loves sports (especially baseball) every bit as much as I do, which makes me happy, too.
Please share some of your faith journey...
I'm a preacher's kid. We lived next door to the church, so it wasn't a very long journey. I don't' know why he does it, but I know that God is with me in everything I do.
Some essential Aussie questions
When/if you make the trip Down Under what do you want to see first:~
1. A platypus or a koala?
2. Barrier Reef or Uluru (Ayers Rock)?
Barrier Reef, but not from the water. The whole great white thing!
3. A cricket match or a game of Aussie Rules Footy?
Cricket. It's almost baseball, and it intrigues me that the pitchers are allowed to hit the batters.
Any last words?
You are very nice to take the time to interview me. Thank you. I hope
everyone loves Taylor Pasbury as much as I do.
Thanks Jim for giving up some precious time to share with us :) Looking forward to the sequel!
Watch the Trailer for Forsaken:
Rel Mollet is a lawyer, wife and mother of three young daughters and lives in Melbourne, Australia. Reading has been her passion since childhood. She is a Book Club Co-ordinator and has her own website ~ relzreviewz ~ dedicated to reviews and author interviews with the sole aim to support authors writing from a Christian worldview. She believes Sir Francis Bacon's (1561 - 1626) creed, "Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body".