I Think I Like My Own Novels (Maybe) by James L. Rubart

Do you like your own novels?

I’m not sure how I feel about mine.

My novel, The Chair was Christian Retailing’s TOP PICK for September 2011, was nominated for a Christy, is a finalist in the ACFW Carol Awards, and I’ve received many reader e-mails about how much they loved the book.

But my reaction to all that has been: Really? You’re serious? Are we talking about the same book?

I’m not trying to be self-deprecating. It’s truly how I felt.

Why felt and not feel?

Because recently I recorded the audio version of The Chair (after being away from the book for more than a year) and as I read through the novel I caught myself thinking, “Hmmm, I guess that part isn’t completely horrible,” and “Hey, that works okay.”

Can you relate? Yes, I see that hand, and yes you in the back, I see yours as well, thank you.

A few weeks ago my son Taylor and his girlfriend, Mara, read my next novel, Soul’s Gate (releases this November). When I asked how they liked it, both said it’s their favorite out of the four I’ve written. Again, my reaction is, “Really?”

Help me. Why do we do that?

Maybe it’s because a novelist’s concentration as well as their editor’s is on what’s wrong with the book and where it needs to improve rather than on what’s working well. That of course has to be the focus, but I wonder if it skews my thinking after the novel is finished. You?

How long does it take for you to be away from something you’re written to get back and see there are elements that work well?

Do you don’t ever go back and read what you’ve written. If not, why not? And why is it easier for others to love our work more than we do?

James L. Rubart is the best-selling author of ROOMS, BOOK OF DAYS, and THE CHAIR. His fourth novel, SOUL’S GATE hits shelves in early November.

During the day he runs Barefoot Marketing which helps businesses and authors make more coin of the realm. In his free time he dirt bikes, hikes, golfs, takes photos, and occasionally does sleight of hand. No, he doesn’t sleep much. He lives with his amazing wife and teenage sons in the Pacific Northwest and still thinks he’s young enough to water ski like a madman. More at www.jameslrubart.com