James Russell's novel The Mason Jar, and the sequel, 
Alabama Irish, are on sale in book stores worldwide!

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childhood and undergraduate years

James Russell Lingerfelt was raised on a cattle ranch in a northeast Alabama town of 750 people. He graduated Advanced Diploma with an emphasis in Literature, and his favorite writers were Emerson, Thoreau, and Longfellow. He started at point guard on the varsity basketball team, served as president of the student government, and was the first at his school to receive the Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership award. 

He attended Northeast State in DeKalb County, through a full tuition theatre scholarship, acting in the Broadway musicals Annie and Big RiverHe was first introduced to film by working as a production assistant and background extra on Dawson's Creek (starring Joshua Jackson, Katie Holmes, James Van Der Beek) and Tim Burton's Big Fish (Ewan McGregor, Steve Buscemi, Danny DeVito). He paid his way through college as a bookkeeper at his hometown bank and on the college maintenance crew, scrubbing toilets and mopping floors. Having a close relationship with his parents and brother, he later transferred in-state to Auburn University where he and his brother were roommates.
At Auburn, Lingerfelt completed a BA in Marriage & Family Counseling with independent studies in Classical Philosophy and 19th Century British Literature. He served in the student government as Vice President of The College of Human Sciences, joined the university lacrosse team, and they won two consecutive conference championships. He volunteered with international humanitarian organizations during his summers, which included relief work in Jamaica, an English teaching internship in Romania, medical teams in Mexico, and a homeless men's soup kitchen in Scotland. 

graduate life

Lingerfelt completed a MA in Ancient Judaic Studies at Pepperdine University with a focus on Hebrew Wisdom Literature. While at Pepperdine, he volunteered as a mentor at Camp David Gonzales; a juvenile delinquent rehab center in Los Angeles County. He studied abroad in Morocco, assisting Berbers build village homes while pursuing Arabic History and Cultural Studies to better understand post 9/11 cross-cultural dialogue. 

After graduation in 2006, he counseled genocide refugees in Uganda and taught English at Made-in-the-Streets; a street children's rehab farm in Kenya. While there, Lingerfelt created a low budget documentary titled Made in the Streets of Africa. He was awarded the Lily Endowment for his work, and the documentary is now used in human rights and social activist courses at universities across the states, including Fuller and Princeton. For the documentary, Lingerfelt used a Walmart videotape camera, natural lighting, and taught himself FinalCutPro.

Lingerfelt continued his humanitarian efforts (Egypt '07, Mongolia '08, Syria, Israel, Palestine '10, Liberia '11). In 2010, he served as an American representative at the Institute of Middle Eastern Studies Conference in Beirut, Lebanon. The focus of the conference was cross-cultural dialogue among Christian and Muslim youth peace movements. In 2011, he wrote, produced, and directed a documentary on microlending in Liberia for Atlanta's Peachtree Presbyerian Church. The church now uses the documentary People Who Make a Difference at their annual humanitarian missions gala.

Following Liberia, Lingerfelt served as the keynote speaker at the Kiwanis Conference in Birmingham, 2012. His topic was microlending and ethical methods in humanitarian efforts (you can watch that speech here).


Lingerfelt served on the board of directors for LifeBread, an organization that trained students in Uganda to build solar power food ovens. Once the organization became self-sufficient by local Ugandans in 2012, Lingerfelt stepped down from the board, and the non–profit closed. Lingerfelt taught two years as a visiting professor in Ancient Judaic Studies at Lipscomb University ('07-'09). After returning from overseas in 2010, Lingerfelt resigned from teaching and the Ph.D program in Cross-Cultural Studies at Fuller to pursue a career in writing and film production. He spent five years writing his first novel, The Mason Jar, an inspirational epic, romance. He self-published and released it in December 2011 after being rejected by eight literary agents. The novel sold over 5,000 copies within two years, and went on to become a national best-seller in 2014.

HarperCollins and Amazon offered contracts to purchase The Mason Jar and a sequel novel, but Lingerfelt refused since he couldn't keep the film rights. Best-selling romance novelist Diana Bold said she was "blown away" by The Mason Jar. Award-winning children's book author Nicole Weaver stated in a review, "Lingerfelt's novel reads like one, long, beautiful poem." And author Lee Wilson called Lingerfelt the intersection of Nicholas Sparks and C.S. Lewis.

In 2012, Lingerfelt finished an internship in film production at the Emmy-award winning company Revolution PicturesLingerfelt went on to work on production teams for The SongYellow Day, and Sweet Home Alabama. During this time, he wrote the screenplay for The Mason Jar, after reading over a dozen screenwriting books recommended by Hollywood executives. In December 2013, Lingerfelt was flown to Beverly Hills for table talks concerning The Mason Jar feature film, which is scheduled for pre-production in 2016. The film will echo the same dramatic and romantic tones as The Notebook (Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams) and Pride & Prejudice (Keira Knightley, Matthew Mcfadyen).

Lingerfelt won the 2015 Nasser Entertainment screenwriting competition in Studio City, California, and he wrote and directed his first short film titled, Summer Leaves: A Love Story In DeKalb County, in December 2015. The film was made on a $0 budget with volunteer cast and crew, and was accepted into three international film festivals. Carl Lauten, director of The Cosby Show and Spin City wrote a letter to Lingerfelt, calling the short film, "exceptional."

Lingerfelt's second novel Alabama Irish, was released in book stores world wide on March 31, 2016. Alabama Irish is trending with higher sales and ratings than The Mason Jar during it's initial release.


The Huffington Post runs a number of Lingerfelt's articles each month while he divides his time between Birmingham, Nashville, and Los Angeles. His writings have been featured in A New ModeThe Elephant JournalElite Daily, Good Guy Swag, and The Good Men Project. Lingerfelt keeps readers briefed at his blog, Love Story from the Male Perspective, which garnered 5.2 million views in 2013. 

Lingerfelt received the DeKalb County's Top 40 Leaders Award by The Time's Journal in April 2016, and he's helping raise funds for The Mason Jar movie. Lingerfelt is also helping spearhead The Alabama Film Education Initiative, which is developing the state's first standard high school film curriculum. Once launched, the program is predicted to help bring an estimated $4.6 to $6 billion into Alabama within the next nine years.  

If you would like to write James Russell Lingerfelt or book him for a speaking engagement, see Contact above. He is represented by The MacGregor Literary Agency.