Interview with Creston Mapes, Author of “Nobody”, an Amazon Best Seller – Comment for a FREE BOOK!!


I recently had the honor of interviewing Creston Mapes, an Amazon Best Selling author. Creston is an author who is on fire for the Lord, wanting to shine like a beacon to the world.

Focus on Fiction says: “Riveting…an author to keep your eye on.”

Best-Selling Author Bill Myers says: “…One serious roller coaster ride. Hang on.”

I hope you enjoy the interview. Please make sure to leave a comment below with your email address for a chance to win this best seller!

Creston, tell us a little about yourself.

I was always a curious kid and very observant, two things that ultimately make for a good writer. I wasn’t much of a student, but found I could write quite well. I always loved movies and books and, therefore, loved being creative. I knew from an early age that I didn’t want to do anything like business or sales or insurance… and kind of dreamed of writing for Sports Illustrated or Rolling Stone. I consider myself: fun, outgoing, friendly, emotional.

Ahh, another writer who was bit by the bug from an early age…Tell us three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.

I love to paint (watercolors). I’ve worked from my home as a marketing copywriter for 20 years. I have four kids ranging from 11 to 22.

Were you an avid reader as a child? What did you read?

I did love books and TV as a boy. My mom would read to me when I was little—books such as Caps for Sale and The Little Engine That Could. I read The Hardy Boys mysteries and Agatha Christie, and later all of the Joseph Wambaugh books, Sidney Sheldon, and Irwin Shaw (especially Rich Man, Poor Man).

What is your favorite genre to read?

I love to read Thrillers and Suspense. I also love literary fiction and classics. As long as there is tension and no boring parts…

I like to read what I like to write…books with tension on almost every page. Cut out all the boring parts. Flabbergast the reader. Discombobulate the reader. Make them “have to” turn the next page. Make your chapter openings and endings real grabbers. Make everything written count toward moving the plot and premise forward. You, the author, cannot be heard. Your voice/opinions cannot be heard. Only write from one character’s point of view at a time. While in that POV, you can only feel or see what that character feels and sees. Then you shift to another character to write from his or her POV. That is what serious writers do.

Thank you for sharing those writing tips with our readers. Now share something about your day-to-day life that might help a reader to feel as though they know you a little better.

Up at 5:30 a.m. to exercise and get the family off. Quiet time w/God. COFFEE. Write fiction from 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. each day. Then I write “paying” work in the afternoons, which, for me, is marketing copywriting. I hope soon that the novels will make enough income to do that full time. When in the middle of writing a novel, it’s tough to be 100% focused on the family when you have a story running through your head and you are trying to figure out what’s going to happen next when you sit down at the keyboard the next morning! Also, my family thinks it’s funny that almost everywhere we go, I am saying, “There’s a book idea…there’s a character for a book…that’s going in the book.” They are often amused.

I totally agree it is a struggle to balance family and writing and a job. When did you first begin writing, and why do you write still?

I started writing at Bowling Green State University…for the college magazine (Black Swamp) and bits and pieces for the campus newspaper. I had a great Journalism professor, Barb Austin, who freelanced for National Geographic and convinced a lot of us we could make a living writing.

How many books do you have published?

Three novels published by Multnomah (div. of Random House):

Dark Star: Confessions of a Rock Idol

Full Tilt (sequel)

Nobody (stand alone)

Tell us about your latest book.

Fear Has a Name with David C Cook will come out in 2013, followed by two others in that series. Book one (Fear) is about a kid who was unwanted by his religious zealot parents and bullied by classmates. As an adult he goes back to find the only girl who ever cared for him, but finds her happily married with two young daughters.

Meanwhile, her reporter husband is working on a missing persons case—a pastor who has disappeared with a bunch of medication and plan to take his own life. The stories collide in what I think is my best book yet.

Tell us about the journey to getting this book published.

Being a novelist is a TOUGH game. You’ve got to have thick skin in order to take a lot of rejection. It took me five years and well over 150 rejections before I found an agent, then a publisher. I’d written two full-length novels and many more partial novels when there was no promise of getting a contract. When I did get a contract, it was for three novels in three years. Even then, they didn’t sell all that well, so I had to go back to freelance writing to make a living. Now I’ve signed another 3-book contract for thrillers that will come out in 2013 and 2014. So I have been writing Fear Has a Name on and off for a few years. Once it got picked up by Cook, we decided it would make a great series. I’m still building a reader base and not sure my books will ever sell enough to write fiction full-time. So the entire venture has been kind of a ‘gamble,’ if you will.

What inspired you to write this particular book?

I have compassion for hurting souls, people who are shy, outcasts, overweight, bullied…I hope we feel compassion for the antagonist in this story.

Your love for people is evident. What are you working on right now?

Book two in the new series for David C Cook.

Where do you get ideas for your books?

Everyday life. I like realistic stories. Not crazy about fantasy. So, I look at everyday life situations and imagine, “What if….” I also draw from past experiences, traveling, people I’ve met. I was a reporter, so love writing about reporters.

How do you choose names for your characters?

Names are so important. I plug in names as I’m writing and substitute different ones till they feel right. I make up names and do Internet searches. When I hear neat names, I try to remember them and plug them in where I see fit. Also, I’ve posted a need for a character name now and then on Facebook and gotten a ton of great suggestions.

In three words describe your style of writing.

Concise. Emotional. Gritty.

How do you get to know your characters?

I don’t plot so I start out with a few characters and some ideas, and find out what they are like each day as the story unfolds. This way, I don’t have planned out what they are going to do. As I get to know them, they show me what they are going to do. So they surprise me at times. I am a “pantster” all the way.

I’m a plotter in the beginning and then I fly by the seat of my pants and let my characters lead me through the story. What are you favorite themes to write about?

Redemption. Man’s frailty and faultiness. People who resemble scribes and Pharisees—and how they are not the “true” religious. Hope in Christ. Transformation. God’s power in peoples’ lives.

Does your faith affect your writing?

Absolutely. I’ve made a pretty good living as a freelance marketing copywriter. The only reason I wanted to try fiction was because I felt God leading me to do so. Wherever God has me spiritually when I’m writing a book, that comes out on the pages. Each book I look back on, I am amazed how God has used my personal, spiritual condition at the time to tell each story.

Why do you keep writing, Creston?

I want to make a full-time living at writing fiction. That’s one. Two: I have heard from so many readers that my books have impacted…from drug/alcohol addicts to convicts to cancer victims. They’ve said my books have helped them come closer to Christ. That is why I keep at it.

When it’s a calling, you can’t help but do it. Do you put yourself into your main character, or do you find yourself borrowing from family or friends as your characters develop?

Yes I put a lot of myself into the main character, but as I said, I try to keep each character unique to his/her personality. I think that takes time and hopefully I improve at that with each book.

Is there any scene in your book that came from real-life?

All of them, yes. The new one opens with a guy breaking into a house with the lady at home with small children. That happened to us years ago in Atlanta. (They got out safely.) So, yep, many of my book ideas have come from real life situations/people/places.

If you could interview any character in one of your books what might that character say? Why?

Everett Lester from Dark Star…a millionaire rocker on trial for murder. He gets letters from a teenage fan in Kansas and the girls’ letters really touch his dark heart. There is a Rolling Stone interview with Everett in Dark Star…so I guess I kind of did this already.

What would you be doing if you weren’t writing?

Can’t answer that one and hope I never have to.

That is exactly how I feel! Have you won any awards with your writing?

Dark Star won third place for Suspense at ACFW.

I won the ACFW Book of the Month (NOBODY)

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Write. Don’t talk about it, plan about it. Just shut the door and start typing. Read a lot about the craft of writing fiction or whatever you write. Read a lot of great fiction. Study the craft. Read Noah Lukeman and Donald Maass.

Creston, thank you so much for taking the time out of your crazy schedule to allow me to interview you. It looks like your writing career is one wild ride!

You can find out more about Creston at his website:

www.CrestonMapes.com

Watch these videos too!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CzvH_GIh-QQ

Leave a comment about the interview with your email address for a chance to win a free book!
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58 thoughts on “Interview with Creston Mapes, Author of “Nobody”, an Amazon Best Seller – Comment for a FREE BOOK!!

  1. I loved the book “Nobody”. I downloaded it when it was on the Kindle for free. It had many great lessons in it such as: don’t judge people by their appearances, and the fact that how we treat people speaks volumes for the person that we are and the things we believe in. It was an awesome Christian book!!! I loved it!!

  2. Nobody was a wonderful book. Once I started I couldn’t put it down, plus it was filled with many thought provoking messages for both believers and non-believers. I look forward to reading more of Creston Mapes’ books.

  3. One of my favorite authors. My family has been passing around my dark star and full tilt books. These are my third copies now because the others were so well read I needed new ones. Now we pass around my kindle with Nobody on it. We love Creston Mapes

  4. This was an amazing article. I had the honor of meeting Creston a few years back while he was doing a book signing at our local neighbor library. I first discovered his novel, Darkstar while my wife and I were walking through a local bookstore. I picked up the book due to the interesting cover. Before I realized it, 45 minutes had passed and I was hooked into what became a love of great story writing. I had to own this book and the sequel which followed, Full Tilt. I downloaded Nobody from Amazon and LOVE IT!! It is rare in these days to find a great moving story that everyone can relate to. I tell everyone nearest to me about this great piece of literature and of Creston and his skills. KEEP IT UP!!!!

  5. The interview is informative and helpful as an aspiring author. You did make me aware of an egregious error from my past (I didn’t know “Nobody” could be downloaded on Kindle for free; miss a day or two and you may kick yourself later). Loved stopping by and getting a great education. God bless–Tom (ttarver@mwt.net)

  6. Great interview from a fellow Atlantan. I’ve got Nobody on my Kindle but haven’t started it yet. Working on galleys at the moment, but I look forward to reading it. 🙂

  7. Hi Creston 🙂 It’s nice to be able to learn more about you. I like social media and all, but these interviews really help bring authors out as being real people.

    Your books sound very good. I once had a man try to break into my apartment, and to this day I praise God my very humongous brother was there! Cheers to you, and thank you Sherri for bringing Mr. Mapes here today.

    amanda38401 at gmail dot com

  8. I really enjoyed this interview Sherri!

    Creston, thanks for sharing details of your life as a writer – very informative and interesting. I read a variety of genres but my favorite by far are suspense, thiller, mystery type books.

    As the saying goes…True life is stranger than fiction…you probably have a whirlwind of material at your fingertips everyday!

    lisatortsbook@ameritech.net

  9. Man, you’d be fun as a dad! Creative, imaginative, fun, seeing new ideas for a book when out and about. I love the whole aspect of what you put in a novel and what you want the reader to get from it. I would love a copy of Nobody. Please enter me.

    desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

  10. I haven’t read any of Creston’s books, but if he loves Joseph Wambaugh… I’m sure I’ll enjoy his books! Thanks for the chance to win.
    twinwillowsfarm at gmail dot com

  11. I have not had the opportunity to read any of your writings, but would be interested. Here’s hoping I win a book an just that great opportunity to read… 🙂 Wonder if it would be a good book to place in a Christian school library for the high school kids to read?

    godleyv at yahoo [dot] com

    1. Yes, Vera, all 3 books are great for school libraries. I’ve spoken at a number of schools and kids take an interest, because the books deal with topics from millionaire rock stars to meth addicts, etc. Thanks for checking in. Creston

  12. I neglected to say in my previous comment that I found Crestor’s comments interesting and encouraging. I, too, read to my 5 children just as his mother did to him. No authors yet in the family, though. 😦 Here’s to much success.

  13. I am excited to learn about you, Creston Mapes! I love Christian fiction and was really wanting a new author to read over my Spring Break. Found it! 😉 I like that you share your own experiences in your writing. I am particularly interested in your new book Fear Has a Name and would love to know more about how you came up with your story line for this book. Thank you for sharing so much about your writing process. I look forward to diving into your books! -Amber
    amberannandalebrown@gmail.com

  14. I devoured all 3 books quickly..couldn’t put them done and cannot wait for the others!! During a time our family was struggling with our sons’ drug addiction..I believe God led me to your work. Divine appointment? I believe so. Thank you and keep on writing

  15. My book club is reading “Nobody” for October, so logged on here to read more about the author. Thanks for all the info!

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