Jim Baton has spent the last 20 years living in the Muslim world, where he’s been involved in a variety of peace and reconciliation activities including interfaith dialogue, training elementary through university students in peace principles, and bringing Christians and Muslims together to pray.
Jim’s three novels in the Peace Trilogy are transforming people’s perceptions on Muslims and how we can build bridges between our religions for peace.
Q: Have you always wanted to be a writer?
JB: Not really. I had an unusual experience around age 35. One day in prayer, I was remembering my father who committed suicide when I was young, and how he had ambitions to be a writer that were never fulfilled. I felt an impression in my spirit, “Do you want the writing gift, to fulfill what your father started?” I answered “Yes.” After that I began to seek what it was I should write about, and discovered a joy writing thrillers about terrorism and peacemaking.
Q: Tell us about your book and the story behind writing it.
JB: A Violent Light is the third book in my Peace Trilogy, about a group of ten Christian and ten Muslim youth at a peace conference where things are not as they seem, and when one by one they start disappearing, they have to solve the mystery before none of them are left. This story was born of our efforts in running peace camps with Christian and Muslim youth in SE Asia, but in the environment America is experiencing since the 2016 presidential election, fear and prejudice are running wild. It’s time we stop pointing the finger at nations far away and face the evil that is inside our own borders.
Q: What’s the biggest challenge about being a writer?
JB: For those of us who have other full-time jobs, finding blocks of writing time is probably the hardest challenge.
Q: Do you have a specific writing space?
JB: No, I don’t. I’ve been traveling a lot and find myself writing in all kinds of spaces. The only essential for me is a solitary, quiet place.
Q: What’s your number one piece of writing advice?
JB: Nowadays it’s not enough to write well and hope to be discovered. You have to learn how to write, edit, publish and market your work. My advice is to try to learn about all these facets of the process and learn to enjoy each of them.
Q: What books do you currently have on your bedside table?
Q: Who have been your biggest writing influences and why?
JB: I’ve been greatly influenced by other thriller writers such as Ted Dekker and David Baldacci. Ted always has a profound point he builds the story around, similar to my books. Baldacci’s plots are airtight. My character development has been influenced by the peerless Dick Francis.
Q: How do you market your writing?
JB: I’ve chosen to self-publish. I have many opportunities to travel and speak on Christian-Muslim issues and on peacemaking, so my books sell well at my events. I also try to get my name out there by writing articles for print and online magazines and my personal blog. My books have won several awards in writing contests—I hope that will impact buyers’ decisions to take a chance on my books as well.
Q: Lastly, something fun. What’s something our readers might not know about you?
JB: I have to write with a pen name because in my books I mention specific terrorist organizations, their tactics, and their individual members by name. My photo is never posted on the internet either. If you want to know more about me, you’ll have to come to one of my speaking events. ☺
By Jim Baton