Another Favorite Author: Steven James

This week, I’d like to introduce you to another of my favorite authors, Steven James. Steven’s books include: The Pawn, The Rook, The Knight, The Bishop, and The Queen. His latest novel, Opening Moves, will be at the end of this week.

Saying Steven James writes thrillers is like saying Ferrari makes cars. It’s true, but so much is not said in those simple words.

Steven’s thrillers will keep you up far into the night, on the edge of your seat, turning pages. We don’t follow his main character, FBI Agent Patrick Bowers, on his cases. We are with him in every scene. Our adrenaline pumps when his does. We sweat with him, physically, emotionally, and mentally. When fear and doubt strike, we feel it. We are there from uncovering clues to dealing with conflicts within the FBI to his romances that seem to trip up along the way to the tests and proving of friendships to the face-to-face confrontations with killers to raising his teenage step-daughter, Tessa. As every parent knows, that can sometimes be more harrowing than facing killers.

Steven’s stories succeed because he has given us a character who is wonderfully complex and quirky from his Maglite and his coffee snobbery to peeling back his personhood layer by layer as Patrick risks his life and his heart and shows us what it’s like to be human.

In every Patrick Bowers novel, Steven has his hero face death in some form. James Scott Bell writes about every story dealing with death either physical, professional, or emotional. Patrick Bowers faces all three in every story. He faces his own death when confronting the killers. Professional death looms because his reputation, his career, is on the line in every case, especially when he comes into conflict with his superior. Emotional death arises as he tries to raise and protect Tessa, a learning process that continually challenges him, challenges every parent can relate to.

When I read Steven’s novels, I am immediately caught up in the plot and the characters. I re-read them to savor all they can teach me as a writer. How to develop intricate plots. How to create villains who are real. How to set scenes and write dialogue. How to build tension and suspense. How to portray intricate relationships between the characters. How to add twists and surprises to keep the story moving.

Reading one of Steven’s novels is like having a living writing workshop in my hands.

What authors do you read to learn from? Which author has taught you the most about writing?



4 Responses to Another Favorite Author: Steven James

  1. Janet Sketchley August 29, 2012 at 4:07 pm #

    Henry, I loved Steven James’ non-fiction book, Sailing Between the Stars, and I definitely agree with you about his fiction (and about Ferraris, it seems). The Pawn is excellent, and that’s where I decided to stop. I had a feeling the villain would be back. But I’d have loved to follow Patrick’s and Tessa’s stories.

    Who do I read to learn from? Science fiction writer Timothy Zahn, specifically for his twist endings and his understanding of human interaction.

  2. Janet K. Brown August 29, 2012 at 4:32 pm #

    Steven is a wonderful teacher. Iheard him once @ Blue Ridge & last Mary @ Oklahoma City. YOu’re right, Henry, his stories really grab you & won’t let go.

  3. Henry August 29, 2012 at 9:22 pm #

    Thank you, Janet. I’ll have to check out Timothy Zahn. Haven’t heard of him before.

  4. Henry August 29, 2012 at 9:23 pm #

    Thanks, Janet. I’ve heard Steven on several occasions. I learn something new in each session.

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