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Thursday, August 20, 2015

That 'What If' factor

“Whenever I start a novel, I'm always looking for two things: a bit of science that makes me go 'what if?' and a piece of history that ends in a question mark.” – James Rollins
One of two pen names for American veterinarian James Paul Czajkowski, Rollins is a writer of action-adventure/thriller novels who had been practicing veterinary medicine when he decided to "mostly" switch careers.   An amateur spelunker and a certified scuba diver, he also found those pastimes to be great background and settings for many of his writing. 

“But, I don't actually have a one wellspring of inspiration,” he said. “I subscribe to National Geographic, Scientific American, Discover, and a slew of other magazines. And it is while reading articles for pleasure and interest that an interesting 'What if?' often will pop into my head.”

Dr. Czajkowski, aka James Rollins and James Clemens
Born on this day in 1961, he didn’t start writing until 1999 but has been almost unstoppable since, penning 35 novels, and counting.  Among them is the wildly successful Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.  His first novel, Witch Fire – written under his other pen name James Clemens – was “discovered” as an entry in a contest sponsored by the Maui Writers' Conference.
People sometimes pooh-pooh writing competitions as a waste of time, but as Rollins proved, it’s worth exploring.  If you think your work is worthy, why not give it a shot?
Rollins also continues to practice veterinary medicine, particularly helping abandoned or abused animals.  And, he says he’s found a secondary benefit from his writing. “Generally, if you preface a request with, 'I'm an author writing a book,' for some reason, that seems to open a lot of doors.” 

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