Since Wednesday, our guest has been novelist Creston Mapes, author of the acclaimed suspense thriller Dark Star (Multnomah Publishers) and the brand-new Full Tilt. Creston has been writing professionally for more than 20 years, freelancing for major corporations, colleges, and magazines nationwide. His clients include Coca-Cola, TNT Sports, The Weather Channel and Focus on the Family, and such magazines as In Touch, The Hockey News, and Physician.
In this final installment, Creston shares advice to aspiring writers, his literary influences, and explains the aspect of God he wants readers to get out of his novels ...
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What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Read a lot. Be creative. Write from the heart that God's given you. Don't be afraid to write in a style no one else has. You set the trend.
After that, prepare yourself for rejection. Develop a tough skin. Rejection hurts, but it's going to happen. Remember, though, just because one person and one publishing house rejects you, all that means is that your story was not right for that one person, perhaps that one publisher (however, then again, maybe just that one person!).
I had professional editors tell me Dark Star would never make it into CBA. They said it was too edgy, that people would never root for a drug-addicted rock star. It is SUCH a subjective business.
But all it takes is one person to love your work, and you may be on your way. It took me six years of diligent pursuit to hook up with my publisher. But, if God has put it on your heart to write fiction, nothing can quench the fire. And nothing can hold back God from doing what He's going to do in you and through your writing.
What aspect of God do you most hope readers take away after reading your books?
When the people were beating Jesus, spitting on Him and cursing Him, He said, "Forgive them, for they know not what they do." That is radical love. It is unconditional. It is a free gift. We're all sinners. All in the same boat. All in need of that unfathomable love and forgiveness. That's the message in Dark Star. And there will be other aspects of God conveyed in future books.
What one thing about writing do you wish non-writers understood?
Writing books is a difficult, challenging, lonely job. It takes SO MUCH hard work, organization, discipline, and concentration. It is utterly draining. It fries my brain. I admire anyone who's finished writing a book.
For the writer with a new book, what do you consider the BEST thing he or she can do to promote it?
On one hand I would say, hook up with a publisher you really like, one who's going to promote your book, and you, well.
On the other hand I would say, just continue to concentrate on writing great books. Because, if you do that, the work is going to get noticed. Bottom line: if you don't have a fantastic story, it doesn't matter how you promote it, you're going to be forcing sales, and that can only last so long. However, if you have a great book, word of mouth will sell it, it will get legs, and that baby will sell for years to come. Have faith in what God is doing in you and through your writing.
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Many thanks to our guest, Creston Mapes. Full Tilt is available from ChristianBook.com, Amazon.com and many other fine retailers. Visit Creston online at www.crestonmapes.com and at his publisher's site at fiction.mpbooks.com.
CRESTON MAPES, PT 1
CRESTON MAPES, PT 2