Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Author Steven James: Delving Into Evil And A Giveaway

editedforflirting2If you enjoy intriguing, fast-action thrillers, then join me in welcoming one of the masters at the game -- critically acclaimed author Steven James who stops by today to talk about his chilling release, THE BISHOP

Here’s a brief synopsis: FBI Special Agent Patrick Bowers's cutting-edge investigative techniques and impeccable logic are about to be pushed to the limit. Killers are on a bloody murder spree throughout the Northeast, with each crime a model of deadly perfection. With nothing to link the crimes to each other, Agent Bowers faces his most difficult case yet- even as the killers hone their craft with every death. 

Thanks to Steven, Alexandra and the good folks at Penguin Group, I have 2 copies of THE BISHOP to offer as giveaways. Please see the end of the post for the giveaway guidelines. 

Steven joins us to talk about ‘Delving Into Evil and the Depths of Humanity.’

When some people approach writing a novel they start with a theme statement or a moral they’re trying to teach. I’ve never been a fan of that approach. It seems too agenda-driven and plus, since a story is only moved forward through escalating tension, if you start with the answer then you diminish the struggle. 

THE BISHOP PenguinSo, whenever I write a novel I start with a dilemma or a question. My thrillers revolve around an FBI agent named Patrick Bowers who doesn’t look for means, motive or opportunity, hates profiling, and has nothing to do with DNA. Instead, he uses twenty-first century technology to track some of the country’s most violent offenders.  

Issues of good and evil, justice and truth, naturally fit into this series, so with my three previous novels, THE PAWN, THE ROOK and THE KNIGHT, I explored the questions, “What makes me different from those who do the unthinkable?” “What would it take for me to step over the line and become like those I (or Patrick Bowers, really) hunt?” “What’s more important, protecting the innocent or telling the truth?”
In THE BISHOP I posed the most profound question so far—what makes humans different from animals? 
The question was not nearly as easy to answer as I thought it would be. Which made the writing all the more fun.
In this story, the most intricate and pulse-racing thriller I’ve ever written, Patrick is pushed to the limit when a young woman is found brutally murdered at a primate research facility in Washington DC. He faces not only the extraordinary challenge of finding her killers, but of discovering what lies at the heart of human nature itself. 

If you like gritty, intense, intelligent thrillers, I think you’ll love checking out THE BISHOP

Steven, thanks for guest blogging and sharing your thoughts on delving into evil. You tackle some interesting points here. It will be enjoyable discovering your take on what lies at the heart of human nature in THE BISHOP.

For a bit of discovering about Steven now. He has penned hundreds of articles and scripts as well as 30+ books spanning the genres of psychological thrillers, prayer collections, dramas, monologues, YA fantasy, inspirational nonfiction and craft books on creative storytelling. He has received wide critical acclaim for his work, including four Storytelling World Honor awards, two Publishers Weekly starred reviews, and 2009 and 2011 Christy Awards for best suspense. 

His thriller, THE BISHOP, was named both Suspense Magazine's and The Christian Manifesto's 2010 Book of the Year and won an RT Book Reviews and INSPY award in the categories of suspense/mystery. Library Journal listed his latest action thriller THE QUEEN as one of the best novels of 2011.  

Steven is a contributing editor to Writer's Digest, and has taught writing and storytelling principles on three continents. He earned a Master’s Degree in Storytelling from ETSU in 1997 and is an active member of International Thriller Writers, the Authors Guild, Mystery Writers of America, and International Association of Crime Writers. 

Steven lives in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Tennessee with his wife and three daughters. When he's not writing or speaking, he's trail running, playing disc golf, or slipping away to catch an afternoon matinee. 

Now for the giveaway guidelines. The contest is open to U.S. residents only. Those wishing to enter, can send me an e-mail ( with ‘WIN THE BISHOP’ in the subject line. The body of the e-mail should include your name and complete mailing information. No post office box addresses can be accepted. The deadline to enter this contest is 8 p.m. (EST) on Thursday, Jan. 5. Just so you know, I don’t share the mailing information or use it for any other purpose. 

Do you enjoy thrillers that are gritty and intense? Thanks so much for stopping by today. 


  1. Mason - Thanks for hosting Steven.

    Steven - I think it's interesting that you explore those deeper questions. They really are fundamental questions. I agree with you, too, that too often, books can end up having an agenda rather than telling a story. It's a tough balance for an author. I wish you much success.

  2. Steven, thanks again for joining us today. You do explore some intriguing questions. Wishing you much success with your writing.

  3. Margot, thanks for dropping by. I also enjoy your take on stories.

  4. I love a good thriller! I haven't yet read your work, but I will be checking them out.

    I much prefer a story that poses a question which allows you to draw your own conclusions as you read. I've never been one who enjoys being preached to regardless of the quality of the story.

    I love the idea of chess pieces.

    Wishing you the best with this series Steven.

    Happy New Year, Mason!


  5. This book looks very interesting and this author has a lot of experience. Thanks Mason for introducing him to me.
    Unrelated question: what's disc golf?

  6. Thanks for the interview! I'd love to read this.
    lvsgund at


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.