Oprah says she knows from firsthand experience that difficult times can be the best growing experiences. Does James feel that way as well?

"I think I'm a better person. I think I'm a better writer. I think I'm happier. I think I'm more at peace," he says. "In a way, as bad as it was, it was one of the best things that happened to me. Sometimes you need to go through bad things to arrive at a good place."

Something the memoir controversy allowed James to do, he says, is to write freely and without pressure. "When I wrote A Million Little Pieces, I was alone in a room. Nobody cared. There were no expectations for me, there were no rules, there was nobody waiting for it and there was no pressure," he says. "When I started writing [my next book] Bright Shiny Morning, it was the same again. Nobody cared. There was no publisher. There was no agent. There was nobody waiting to see what I was doing. Nobody expected me to ever do anything again."


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