James Armstrong grew up in Pensacola, Florida, becoming one of the founding members of the Northwest Florida Young Playwrights Society, which produced several of his early plays, including Muddin' in Chumuckla, now published by Eldridge Plays and Musicals, and To a Steed, published in the literary journal Arts & Letters

James studied English and theatre at Drew University and holds an M.F.A. in Dramatic Writing from Carnegie Mellon University. 

His plays have received productions and staged readings across the country by professional (Actors Equity) theaters such as the Abingdon Theatre Company, Anacostia Playhouse, Bristol Riverside Theatre, CAP21, Detroit Repertory Theatre, Epiphany Theater Company, New Jersey Repertory Company, Nittany Theatre at the Barn, Pasadena Playhouse, Passage Theatre Company, Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey, Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre, Urban Stages, Vivid Stage, and Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater.

The author has received numerous awards, and his one-act play Birdgirl on Walkabout was voted by audiences as "Best Play" at Boston Playwrights' Platform's 28th Annual Summer Festival of New Plays. It is now published by Norman Maine Publishing.

New York has seen several of his other plays, including The New Mrs. Jones (now published by Brooklyn Publishers) at the Theatre-Studio Inc., The Sign in the Scarlet Prison (published in Southern Indiana Reviewat Theater for the New City, and The Mysteries of the Castle of the Monk of Falconara at the Spotlight On Halloween Festival. The Mysteries of the Castle... is anthologized in The Best American Short Plays: 2005-2006, published by Applause.

In 2006, his play Foggy Bottom, which The New York Times called "one of the most international farces around," premiered at the Abingdon Theatre where it played to packed houses. A number of James's plays have been produced on Staten Island, as well, including Dickens Condensed (now published by Playscripts, Inc.) and The Pirate Princess (published by Eldridge).

The Epiphany Theater Company produced his adaptation of A Christmas Carol in Saratoga Springs, New York. More recently, his adaptation of Moby-Dick premiered at Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater on Cape Cod.

In 2009, Playwrights' Forum in Memphis, Tennessee premiered his play The Metric System. That summer, his monologue play The True Author... Revealed was performed at The Tank in New York City. The Metric System is now published by Original Works Publishing and The True Author... Revealed is included in The Best American Short Plays: 2008-2009.

His short play The Rainbow premiered as a part of the 18th Annual NYC 15-Minute Play Festival at the American Globe Theatre. The play was also a finalist for the Actors Theatre of Louisville's 2012 Heideman Award and was included in the collection The Best American Short Plays: 2012-2013.

In 2014, his play THE STATE OF COLORADO v. TENNESSEE WILLIAMS premiered as part of the Bad Theater Fest at the Treehouse Theater in New York City. The play is included in the Fall 2015 issue of Canyon Voices literary magazine.

Detroit Repertory Theatre premiered his new play Capital in 2017. The Detroit Free Press called it an "inspired new comedy" that is "at once old-fashioned and modern, cerebral and slapstick."The cast (pictured below) included Ben Will, Harry Wetzel, Sara Catheryn Wolf, and Lulu Dahl.

James's play Dark Night of the Soul won the 2017 National Free Speech Contest, receiving a reading at Nittany Theatre at the Barn with additional readings in Florida. More recently, his play Bones of the Sea about the paleontologist Mary Anning received a staged reading at Pasadena Playhouse as a part of the Mach 33 Festival.

James is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America, Inc. He currently resides in New York City.