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childhood and undergraduate years
James Russell Lingerfelt writes inspirational, romantic realism. Raised on a cattle ranch in a north Alabama town of 750 people, he was an average student in high school but excelled in literature, gravitating toward the writings of Emerson and Thoreau. He also played basketball and served in the student government.
He attended college through a theatre scholarship, acting in the Broadway musicals Annie and Big River. He worked as an extra in 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 working 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 19th century British Literature, and he participated in the university student government. He also joined the university lacrosse team and they won two consecutive conference championships. Lingerfelt volunteered with international humanitarian organizations during his summers, which included relief work in Jamaica and Romania, medical teams in Mexico, and a homeless men's soup kitchen in Scotland.
Lingerfelt completed a Masters in Ancient Judaic Studies at Pepperdine University with aspirations to serve as a professor. While in school, he volunteered as a mentor at Camp David Gonzales; a juvenile delinquent rehabilitation center in Los Angeles County. He spent his first summer of graduate school 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 rehabilitation farm in Kenya.
Upon his return, Lingerfelt completed 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 Princeton and Fuller seminaries.
Lingerfelt continued his humanitarian efforts (Egypt '07, Mongolia '08, Syria, Israel and Palestine '10, Liberia '11). In 2010, he served as an American representative at the Institute of Middle Eastern Studies Conference in Beirut, Lebanon which focused on cross-cultural dialogue among youth peace movements. In 2011, he volunteered to write, produce and direct a documentary on microlending in Liberia for the Peachtree Presbyerian Church in Atlanta. The church now uses the documentary People Who Make a Difference at their annual humanitarian missions gala.
He served as the keynote speaker at the 2012 Kiwanis Conference in Birmingham. His topic was microlending and ethical methods in humanitarian efforts.
Lingerfelt serves on the board of directors for LifeBread and taught two years as a visiting professor in Ancient Judaic Studies at Lipscomb University ('07-'09). In May 2010, after returning from overseas, Lingerfelt resigned from teaching and his PhD program at Fuller Seminary to pursue a career in writing and film production. He spent five years writing his first novel, The Mason Jar, an inspirational romance, epic, tragedy. He self-published and released it in December 2011 after being rejected by eight literary agents. Through world of mouth, The Mason Jar sold over 10,000 copies during its first two years.
HarperCollins offered Lingerfelt $40,000 plus 20% royalties for The Mason Jar and a sequel novel, but Lingerfelt refused since he couldn't keep the film rights. Best-selling romance author 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 book reads like one, long, beautiful poem." And author Lee Wilson called Lingerfelt the intersection of Nicholas Sparks and CS Lewis.
In 2012, Lingerfelt finished an internship in Producing at the Emmy award winning production company Revolution Pictures in Nashville. Lingerfelt then wrote the screenplay for The Mason Jar, after reading screenwriting books recommended by Hollywood executives.
currentThe Mason Jar feature film is scheduled for pre-production in 2015. Lingerfelt will serve as Writer/Producer. The film is written and will be directed in the same dramatic and romantic tones as The Notebook (Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams) and Pride & Predjudice (Keira Knightley, Matthew Mcfadyen).
Lingerfelt's second romance novel, Alabama Irish, is set to be released in book stores world wide in Spring 2015. He keeps readers briefed at his blog, Love Story from the Male Perspective, which garnered 5.2 million views in 2013 alone.
The Huffington Post runs a number of his articles each month while Lingerfelt divides his time between Southern California and his family's ranch in Alabama. He is currently represented by The MacGregor Literary Agency.
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