Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Interview with Creston Mapes!

Creston Mapes' rock-n-roll series "The Rock Star Chronicles" is simply amazing. He has created an incredible plot, thrown in a ton of page turning suspense, and topped it all off with deep, rich characters. "The Rock Star Chronicles" is definitely one of my new favorite series! Check out Creston's books on his website at www.crestonmapes.com TODAY!

Betsy: Creston, did you always know you wanted to be a writer?

Creston: No. Not until college. However, looking back on my youth, I now realize that becoming a writer was in my blood. I was not a great student in school, but I could always score well on essays and writing projects. Even if I didn't know the subject very well, somehow, I could always make my answers sound "right."

Betsy: What prompted the idea for Dark Star & Full Tilt?

Creston: Growing up, I loved rock 'n' roll. I was in the KISS Army and a big fan of Foreigner, Queen, Bowie, and the like. So, as a professional writer, when I felt God prompting me to try fiction writing, I began to ask "What if..." in a lot of different scenarios. One of those scenarios was: "What if a mega-popular, millionaire rock star got in serious trouble with the law? What if that person was totally discontent? What if he was getting letters from a girl in Kansas who said she was praying for his salvation and for his millions of fans to become Christ-followers. What if he had a personal psychic who traveled with the band? What if, in the midst of all this, he got charged with first-degree murder?" So, the novels were just a series of "what ifs" from my past interests....things of which I was very familiar.

Betsy: The main character in the series, Everett Lester, is such a
realistic character. His struggle with drugs and alcohol, as well as the pressure from being famous, really strikes a chord with readers. Did you have to do a lot of research to get that inside view of the rock star world?

Creston: You're right, Betsy. People are hugely intrigued by movie/tv stars and recording artists. That's one of the reasons I'm so excited about these novels. Because, honestly, I think they are appealing to anyone...the Christian and the non-Christian. The stories are intriguing enough to carry anyone away into a suspense-filled dream-world, I hope. As far as research goes, I read books about all kinds of rock stars, from Bob Dylan to Ozzie Osbourne. But I'd had plenty of first-hand experience as well, going to an array of concerts in Cleveland, Ohio(today's rock 'n' roll hall of fame), as a boy, playing loosely in some makeshift garage bands, being backstage at bar concerts, and reading every word in the most popular rock magazines, like Cream and Circus.

Betsy: Wow! Well, I really enjoyed the strong spiritual theme behind Dark Star & Full Tilt. There is an intense, yet not overwhelming, salvation message that is not found in a lot of Christian Fiction today. What made you decide to go that route?

Creston: Thanks for your kind words. What's happened to me, Betsy, is my life has been transformed, literally. I used to drink extremely heavily and
get involved with a lot of the debauchery that comes with it. When God saved me and allowed me to become born-again at the age of 28, I wanted to share with the world what Christ has the power to do, and that is to literally change lives. Turn them upside down. Make people new. Resurrect the dead. I'll tell you, for me, at least, this fiction writing gig is extremely difficult. There is no way I would want to do this work if I wasn't doing it for the glory of God and to help other people find Him. That's why I do it. And it has been a sacrifice.

Betsy: That's amazing. Have you heard back from any readers that were influenced positively by reading your books? What do they say?

Creston: They say some heart-warming things. Here are some recent emails I've received:

Let me start by saying I am a Christian who has been praying for a
crack addict I had met through a friend at church. He was doing well
(had become a follower of Jesus), but fell "off the wagon" and is now
sitting in jail awaiting trial for assault, robbery and cocaine
possession charges. He's recommitted his life to the Lord and I have
been visiting him 2x a week for the past 4 1/2 months, taking him all
the Christian books I can find. I just finished Dark Star and can't
wait to take it to him tomorrow! I may even head to the bookstore
today for the sequel!! Thanks so much for sharing this gift God has
given you.

My husband has always been an avid reader, I just became one. We
couldn't put the books down. I read both books in less than 2 days.
They really drew us in within the first few pages. We really enjoyed
reading them and hope that you do a third book that revolves around the
Lester family. My husband and I were both heavy metal lovers until God
really spoke to our hearts about our music. These books really hit
home for us. Thank you for writing them. We look forward to reading
more of your work. It hit me that these two books could be an
inspiration to my husband and I to maybe try our hand at writing a
book.God Bless you always

I ran across both of these books in Ft Worth. I saw "Full Tilt" and,
being a fan of music, this cover caught my eye immediately! I just
wanted to let you know that I have not enjoyed reading anything as much
as I have these two books. I grew up in a house with rock 'n' roll
everywhere. I still enjoy the music, but I have become much more
discerning about what I listen to. The realism of these books is
amazing! I read both books in about 3 days. Will there be anymore of
the "Rock Star Chronicles" in the future? I hope so! I became a fan of
Christian fiction about 10 years ago when a co-worker let me read "This
Present Darkness" by Frank Peretti.I can honestly say these 2 books
rank among my favorite books I have read in many years. I believe God
will reach many people with these books. To a fan, this will connect
like no other books on the market will.

Creston, I wanted to let you both know I just finished Full Tilt over
the weekend. I loved it. I find myself driving to errands and I’m
thinking back to Everett and Wesley …reviewing what all happened to
them in my head as if they are real people! Now that’s the sign of an
awesome book. Thanks for the life messages that were in both books. I
am hoping to pass them on to one of my co-workers who is in her early
20s and not a Christian. Thanks for the great books!!!

Hey Creston, My name is Audrey. I'm a 21 years old and living it up in
Kansas.Number one in my life is Christ and music is right afterwards.
So, it goes without saying Dark Star appealed to me. I finished Dark
Star about five minutes ago and had to jump on my computer to e-mail
you! Thank you for such an edifying christian novel. I read A
LOT! But I usually vere away form fiction because I feel like if I'm
going to spend my time reading I want it to really deposit something in
me. I don't really wanna feel my time and mind with fictional stories
when I could be putting the Word or good edifying christian living
material in my head. This fiction book delievered!!!!!!!!!!!! Im so
pleased I pick this book up! You've re-instilled faith in me that
fiction can still deposit a seed of faith in ones heart. Your story has
encouraged me to be more bold in my faith and I desire to step out in
faith like Karen did. I'm also thankful I read Dark Star after the
sequel was written, now i don't have to wait:-) Now i just gotta find
it....Always keep your writting Christ centered. Maybe someday, i'll
have written a book that is being sold right alongside yours. God Bless
brother! Keep using your talents for Him!

Betsy: That's really something. What is the story behind your own faith? Can you share a bit of your testimony with us?

Creston: I grew up going to church every Sunday in Ohio, but at home, during the week, our family didn't open our Bibles. I started drinking and smoking at a very early age, about 14 or so. My friends and I dug a hole in the
ground in the woods, where we buried a box, which we tarred, and stored our beer in. I loved concerts and the whole rock 'n' roll scene and played quite a mean air guitar. Then, off to college I went, partying all the way. And it was the same after college; I lived for the weekends. At one point in my career, I was changing writing jobs, and I took on a very high-pressure position in Atlanta. It was during a client visit to Fort Lauderdale that I had what I call kind of an "out of body" experience, simply from all the pressure of my work, and the pressure I used to put on myself: worry, anxiety, etc. When I got back from the trip, I went to see a doctor. He said I was stressed out and suggested I take some medication for it. That's when I remembered all I had learned during all those Sundays in church. I needed God. So, we started going to church. I was baptized several months later. And, by His grace, He's been drawing us closer and making us more like Him all along the journey.

Betsy: What a testimony! Thank you for sharing. Can you tell us a little about your upcoming novel, Nobody?

Creston: My publisher sent me to Las Vegas over the winter and I spent three days there doing research for my third novel, Nobody, which will be out in 2007. It is a psychological thriller about a remarkable homeless man, a selfish reporter, a mysterious bank account, a dirty Las Vegas cop, a murder, and a young lady who is trying to make sense of it all. The message in the book is what I'm most excited about. There is a poem by a man named Samuel Shoemaker, called I Stand at the Door. It's about a man who becomes too involved in the church and forgets about the people outside the church...the unsaved. Those searching for The Door. (Jesus Christ) That's the whole theme of the book. It's about a man who loses his wife in a plane crash, turns to the church, gets WAY too enamored with the church and pleasing man, and finds himself in the infamous "church bubble."

Betsy: Sounds so intriguing! So, is there any writing advice or tips you'd like to share with aspiring authors?

Creston: Yes! Read books about the craft of writing and do what they say by practicing and writing a lot. Also, develop a TOUGH skin. There is a
ton of rejection in this business. In addition, pray a lot before going down this road. Is it what God wants for you? Or, do you just want to become famous and have your name on a book? Reflecting back and looking deep inside myself, I think that was part of my motive in writing fiction. I hate to admit it. But pride is an ugly, deceptive thing. I hope I'm over that now. I still battle the pride thing at times. But I've had time to think this thing through and leave it all in God's hands. Now, He's driving and I'm just along for the ride.

Betsy: What can readers look forward to, other than the upcoming release of Nobody? Any more interesting works on your desk right now?

Creston: I've started book three in "The Rock Star Chronicles" and, if there's enough interest, we'll do that book. There's another one that's been
burning in my soul for many years about a very hot and controversial topic. I hope to get to that soon.

Betsy: Sounds great! Thank you so much for visiting with us today, Creston! It's been an honor.

Dark Star placed third in the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year Contest in the suspense category! Check it out today!


Dineen A. Miller said...

Hey Creston!
Great to see you on Betsy's blog. She such a sweetheart. And congrats on your win in the ACFW Book of the Year. Wish you could have been there.

Great meeting you in person, Betsy!

GeorgianaD said...

Sounds like a great series! I'll have to keep my eyes peeled:)

Jim Sanders said...

Great interview. I'm a big fan of both Creston Mapes' books!

creston said...

Hey Guys and Gals,

Thanks for checking in. Betsy has some spunk. Great interview questions. I wish you all, all the best. Creston