So was that a big goal for you as an author?
My goal is to really write the best stories that I can and to write multi-dimensional stories.  This is the difference.  Instead of writing from my answers, I start and write from my questions. The question that drove me to write “The Pawn” was, ‘What makes me different from people who do the unthinkable?’

I’ve always loved thrillers.  But most of the Christian thrillers I’ve read are thinly veiled sermons.  I say, if you want to teach a message to share or a lesson to teach, write non-fiction.  That’s what it’s there for.  If you want to tell a good story, write a novel.  Fiction explores issues or exposes things, but it doesn’t explain them.  That’s not the point of a story.  It’s to allow people to think and consider and explore things.  It’s interesting to see how Jesus told people his stories.  He didn’t tell people what they meant.

I really believe that as Christians we have the best story to tell. Often, we excuse mediocrity by saying that it’s a Christian movie or Christian fiction.  It should be the opposite.  When people think of excellence in the arts—movies, plays, books—they should be thinking of the best.  God’s spirit is a creative spirit and he lives in us.  And the more we become like him, the more creative we have become. Christians should be producing not cheap imitations of that the world does but the finest art.

When did it get derailed?
It used to be. The home of the arts was the church.  I don’t know how we became afraid of story, especially since we have a storytelling God.  There didn’t used to be Christian publishers.  Lord of the Rings and Narnia were published by secular publishers. They wanted good stories so they published them. Today we have this CBA and ABA and everyone knows that he CBA books aren’t as good.  It’s so sad.  It should be the opposite.  I don’t know why, but I know we have to continually work to change it.


The Pawn is published by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, and is available in Christian bookstores nationwide.  For more information, visit www.stevenjames.net.  To read an excerpt from The Pawn, click here.