Interview with Jim Reiher

When did you first start writing?
My first piece of writing "for publication" was a letter to the editor when I was about 20 years old. I lived in Manly in Sydney then, and it was to the Manly Daily. I cant remember what it was about, but I remember how much I enjoyed seeing something in print!
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
A desire to make at least some of the time of each day, productive and useful.

I have recently published the sequel to "The Sunburnt Circus." It is called "Broken Hill, Broken Lives" and it is set two years after the first story. It is a stand alone story, and can be read without "The Sunburnt Circus" being read first. But those who have read the first story will know the characters and some of the "secrets" about them already.

In the first book one of the sub-plots is the story of the two motor cycle stunt riders: Matt and Pete. In the first book, they allude to some kind of dark secret in their past. By the end of the story, that dark past catches up with them and gets (more or less) resolved. The young brothers (Simon and Timothy, not the motorbike stunt riders) - the young ones are 12 and 11 years old in the first book. In the sequel, they are now 14 and 13. The Sunburnt Circus goes to Broken Hill. While the circus is in that outback city in remote New South Wales, Matt and Pete's story becomes the focus. Their past is dragged up into their present and all hell breaks loose. They thought it was behind them, and suddenly their world comes crashing down around them.

If you enjoyed "The Sunburnt Circus" then you are sure to love "Broken Hill Broken Lives".
What are you working on next?
Having got out both Broken Hill Broken Lives, I am now working on the sequel to "The Gospel According to Splinter (the Clown)". That sequel is called "The Acts of the Apostles and Splinter", and takes the bungling clown (Splinter) further in his story, as he travels around with Peter and Paul. After that, I will be working on finalizing a commentary on the Gospel of Mark, a literary fiction on the life of the apostle Paul.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I have put up a few books in the last few months. The big news is that "The Sunburnt Circus" novel, is FREE.

Concerning "The Sunburnt Circus", I think its every child's dreams to run away and join a circus. I certainly had that unfulfilled dream. Even thought that never happened, I got to enjoy doing things that seemed 'close' to that dream: clowning and magic. I started magic when I was a child - making my own tricks to start with at the age of 10. Clowning came later. I began that when I was about 30. I have absolutely loved both ever since. And so the book, "The Sunburnt Circus", was birthed from my love of circuses, and my unfulfilled desire to run off and join one! It is mingled with some serious reflections on some of the big issues of our times: everything from adolescent relationships with parents; to the debate about keeping animals in circuses; to child abuse. But over-arching all that, is the story of a circus and its crew, and their lives together.

The recent additions are two children's books ("The Walking Tree", and "The Rebel Raindrops"). These were a long time in coming. When my adult children were small, I used to make up stories to tell them. Two of those stories are now ebooks. My children are bigger now of course, and three of them have their own children, so I expect them to tell these stories to them now! The illustrations were done years ago as well. When I was a school teacher, one of my very talented students did the drawings for "The Rebel Raindrops". And a local indigenous artist did the three beautiful paintings for "The Walking Tree" (she was married to the art teacher at the school I worked in. They were both terrific artists).

I have also put up "The Gospel According to Splinter (the clown)". This is a fictitious novel based on the Gospel of Luke, but retold as if by a clown disciple of Jesus. Sounds a little weird doesn't it? I guess it is a little weird. But I feel sure anyone who reads it will really love the story, and grow to admire the sincere, but bungling clown, "Splinter".

The other recent publication is a book about some of my experiences being a "Christian Magician". It is a story of ups and downs (mostly "ups" but there were some "downs" along the way). I found myself battling narrow minded fundamentalists who believed that doing "magic" was evil, and "of the devil", and against the "clear teaching of the Bible". So this lighthearted book, "Confessions of a Christian Magician", encourages people to find their own "thing", their own gift or calling or talent or unique part of who they are.... and to pursue it with passion! I feel sure readers will enjoy that story. There is even one chapter where I was feeling particularly generous, and have shared 5 of my favorite card tricks (with the secrets I would add), in it.

And then, there are still a few more books to come before they put me in a box and usher me to the next place.... :-)... Fiction and non-fiction both.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
There are a couple of things that come to mind. I love to watch my characters develop, and help them reflect on life: the big and small things that make up everyday. And I am absolutely wrapped, when someone says to me, "hey, I read your book and really loved it."
Who are your favorite authors?
JK Rowling.
CS Lewis.
Tolkien has to be on the list too, of course.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I like to catch up with my adult children, and their children, (I became a granddad quite young, and my kids have lots of kids between them). I also like to play ten-pin bowling, watch a good movie, learn a new card trick, read a good book, go for walks, visit friends...
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I did write a novel when I was about 12. A war story. All my mates from school were the main characters as we fought the Nazis, and saved the world from the evil enemy. I remember how much fun I had 'killing off' the bullies at school.

I wish I had kept that hand written novel. I remember a few years after finishing it, finding it in a pile of things, and I felt so embarrassed by how weak and lame it was, that I threw it out.
What is your writing process?
I try to get as much of the main story line down, without tidying it up too much. I dont want to get lost in the details while aiming to get the bulk of the story on paper. Then, I go back and start fleshing out the sub-plots and weaving them into and throughout the main story. Finally, I read it slowly a couple more times looking for gaps and contradictions or illogical jumps... and I seek to smooth it all out.

I keep handwritten notes to the side, with all my characters and a bit about each one. I do that so I don't forget who is who and what their personality is like and what their interests are.
Describe your desk
Cluttered. Two computers open and on most of the time. One for typing and one for research. Pens in a container. Tea cups that need to go back to the kitchen.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
My earliest years were in Sydney. I don't remember much about the first 6 years (living in the suburb of Harbord). My family moved to the other side of Australia, to Perth in Western Australia. I was there till I was 10. They then moved back to New South Wales again. It was my teen years - in Sydney - that probably shaped me the most. I joined a 'youth group' and did all the things they do, and it did help shape my thinking and beliefs. Over time, I moved to Melbourne in Victoria, and have lived here ever since. A couple of years did interrupt that and my family and I lived in the Philippines. (That had a big impact on all of us too). Everything you do and everyone you meet, contributes to making you the person you are. You are the sum total of all your experiences and contacts.
What are your goals for the next 5 years?
To e-publish all my unpublished manuscripts. To write more still. And to spend quality time with family and friends. I could keep doing that till they put me in a box and lay me in the ground I reckon!
Your writings are in a range of fields.... you seem hard to pigeon hole. Just who is Jim Reiher?
Good question! I sometimes wonder that myself.

As more of my completed manuscripts become e-books, you will some some patterns and dominant trends. My novels are about children growing up in a circus and the issues and problems of real life coming through the stories. My love for clowning, magic, motor bikes and circuses all come out in those novels. The partly fiction partly history books that will soon be uploaded combine my interest in clowning and creative ministry, with my interest in religion and faith. Then there are my non-fiction. They reflect a lot on religious issues: on politics and faith; on creative ministry (clowning and magic in particular) and how it is sometimes seen in faith communities; women being treated equally to men in the church; prosperity teaching in some churches and why it is wrong; and commentaries on some of the Bible Books (Mark, Acts, and James).

So who is Jim Reiher: a mix of:
a clown,
a magician,
a writer,
a person who explores his own faith,
a New Testament scholar,
a story teller,
a dad
and a grand-dad,
and a very ordinary imperfect man who cares a lot about the world we humans have some kind of charge over.
Published 2017-06-06.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Acts of the Apostles and Splinter
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 69,990. Language: English. Published: April 22, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Classical Greece & Rome
Who could imagine the Book of Acts being re-told with skits, mimes, poetry, riddles and jokes, magic tricks and juggling throughout it? But that is what you get when the author is a clown, who travels around with the apostles Peter and Paul. "Splinter" the clown records all he sees and witnesses through his own unique lens, and the result is the wonderful historical fiction of the Book of Acts.
The Prisoner
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 59,410. Language: English. Published: March 27, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Classical Greece & Rome, Fiction » Religious
This is the story of the Life of the Apostle Paul, told in a most creative way. The main moments of Paul's life and work, are shared in a mosaic (non-chronological) style, through conversations with friends who visit him. It is set in Rome, in Paul's 'open imprisonment'. The reader not only grows to know Paul better, but also meets Simon-Peter, Mark, Luke, Prisca and Aquila, Timothy, and others.
Broken Hill, Broken Lives
You set the price! Words: 49,040. Language: English. Published: December 20, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Social Issues, Fiction » Cultural & ethnic themes » Cultural interest, general
The Sunburnt Circus is back, 2 years after the first story. It's a stand-alone book not dependent on having read the first. Here we see the children again, and their relationship with another family they meet in town. The story also focuses on the Walker siblings. The Walker's past cruelly catches up with them and all hell breaks loose. Indigenous art and themes emerge as Dan and Kenny visit home.
Confessions of a Christian Magician
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 45,060. Language: English. Published: September 7, 2016. Categories: Nonfiction » Entertainment » Entertainment industry, Nonfiction » Religion and Spirituality » Christianity / Literature & the Arts
Whatever you are good at, don't let critics and dream-stealers stop you from doing it! Jim has done magic since he was 10. For half a century he has entertained adults and children, and has performed at fetes, children's parties, Sunday Schools; churches; jails; and on the street. He has met joy-filled encourages, and joy-less critics. This book will inspire and liberate you to pursue your dream.
Acts: A Social Justice Devotional Commentary
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 86,150. Language: English. Published: May 13, 2016. Categories: Nonfiction » Religion and Spirituality » Biblical Studies / Jesus, the Gospels & Acts, Nonfiction » Religion and Spirituality » Christian Life / Devotional
The devotional commentary before you explores the New Testament Book of Acts, in 60 short studies. Throughout this series of devotions, there are significant lessons in simplicity, advocacy, justice, civil disobedience, equality, multiculturalism, identifying with the marginalized, spirituality, and discipleship. The Book of Acts comes alive in a fresh way as you journey through these studies.
The Message in the Tarot with Selections from the Sacred Writings
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 22,430. Language: English. Published: May 5, 2016. Categories: Nonfiction » Religion and Spirituality » Body, mind, & spirit, Nonfiction » Religion and Spirituality » Body, mind, & spirit
"The Message in the Tarot" is a creative and inspiring look the Major Arcana cards of the Tarot. A normal Tarot pack has 78 cards, 22 of which are the more spiritual "Major Arcana". Jim Reiher explores those 22 cards, devoting a short chapter to each. He counts downwards from 21 (The World) to 0 (The Fool) and addresses the big questions of life: How do we find peace, joy, and strength each day?
The Rebel Raindrops
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 1,520. Language: English. Published: April 20, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Social Issues / Friendship, Fiction » Children’s books » Social Issues / Values & Virtues
When some crafty raindrops trick a good natured wind into doing their bidding, they cause considerable havoc for different people. Watch these mischievous raindrops manipulate their kind friend into helping them ruin people's fun. And get ready to see what becomes of the rebel raindrops when the North Wind finally wakes up to what he is doing!
The Walking Tree
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 4,280. Language: English. Published: April 20, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Nature & the Natural World / Environment, Fiction » Children’s books » Lifestyles / Country Life
This children's conservation story tells the tale of a beautiful walking tree. It spans decades, and shows how the tree becomes friends with both other plants and shrubs, and humans as well. The human friends of the tree grow old and new people come into the story, as the tree gets older too. The tension between economic growth and conservation needs reaches a climax: how will it be resolved?
The Gospel According to Splinter
Price: Free! Words: 57,470. Language: English. Published: April 13, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General, Fiction » Inspirational
A 5th gospel has surfaced! One of the 70 disciples Jesus sent out two by two, was a clown by the name of "Splinter"! Splinter was with Jesus from the start of his ministry, and stayed with him to the very end. He retells the much loved stories and teachings of Jesus from the eyes and perspective of a bungling clown. (This is not just entertaining: it's a commentary on Luke, disguised as fiction!)
Another Election? How the Voting System Works in Australia
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 10,660. Language: English. Published: April 7, 2016. Categories: Nonfiction » Politics and Current Affairs » Democracy, Essay » Political
This up-to-date booklet on the Australian Voting System will give you clarity and understanding of how voting at elections works. Jim Reiher was inspired by his adult daughter who said that many of her friends want to understand how the Australian voting system works, but are a bit embarrassed to ask. This book fills that gap, with its easy to understand communication and diagrams.
James: A Social Justice Commentary on the Epistle of James
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 83,660. Language: English. Published: March 18, 2016. Categories: Nonfiction » Religion and Spirituality » Biblical Commentary / New Testament, Nonfiction » Religion and Spirituality » Biblical Criticism & Interpretation / New Testament
The letter of James is often studied without any reference to the historical circumstances that were in play at the time of writing. Jim Reiher corrects this lack and offers a persuasive lens to view James through. James is addressing injustice, poverty and exploitation and he gives Christians the tools for how to work in such a world. Be long-suffering, do good, and be peacemakers.
The Eye of the Needle: Discipleship and Wealth
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 62,460. Language: English. Published: February 19, 2016. Categories: Nonfiction » Religion and Spirituality » Christian Ministry / Discipleship, Nonfiction » Religion and Spirituality » Biblical Studies / Exegesis & Hermeneutics
An easy to read, deeply convicting study of the Bible's teaching on wealth and possessions. Jim Reiher dismantles 'Prosperity Teaching', and shows us instead, what the scriptures actually teach about discipleship and wealth. In a gracious, sometimes humorous, and convincing style, he takes us through the Gospels, the letters, and much of the Old Testament.
The Sunburnt Circus
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 59,480. Language: English. Published: January 22, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Adventure, Fiction » Adventure » General
Simon and Timothy: the youngest members of the Sunburnt Circus. Simon is having broken dreams about something that happened to him when he was very young. Over a few weeks, three serious accidents hit the circus. Each time they occur, a strange power intervenes. Is that power really coming out of the older boy? And what happened to him all those years ago? Is the power, and Simon's past, linked?