Creston has generously offered to give away two copies of Fear Has a Name! So make sure to leave a comment for him below with your email address. We have to have at least ten comments (Continental U.S. only, please.)
So let’s jump right on in.
Creston, thanks for being here today! Tell us a little about yourself.
I grew up in Bath Township in northeast Ohio where my dad, Bernie, owned an early American furniture store. We actually lived upstairs in the century old home/shop. We had a very happy family, comprised of my mom and dad, and an older brother and sister.
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.
I’ve been writing for 30 years now, first in newspapers, then corporate copywriting and now non-fiction books and novels. I freelance from my home office in Atlanta.
Other than earning a living, what stirs you to continue writing?
Earning a living is indeed first when it comes to my marketing copywriting, but I really write fiction because there are books I think should be on the shelves of stores that haven’t been written yet! I love novels that have deep characters, are filled with tension, and move along at a good clip; so those are the kind of stories I try to write. Edgy, contemporary, crisp, thrillers.
I love that kind of inspiration! Do you have a favorite scripture that applies to writing?
Yes, Matthew 10:27: What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops.
Do you have a life verse that doesn’t necessarily relate to writing? If so, what is it and why is it your favorite?
Galatians 2:20—I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Jesus Christ now lives in me. The life I live in the flesh I live with faith in the son of God, who loved me and delivered himself up for me.
One of my favorite non-fiction authors is Watchman Nee. He tells the story of the drowning swimmer and the lifeguard who waits on the side of the water before going in to save him. The lifeguard waits and waits and waits. Others are yelling, “Dive in and save him!” But the lifeguard says, “It is only when the drowning man surrenders that I will be able to save him and swim him to shore. If I go in too early, he will fight and attempt to drown me.” And it is the same with us Christians. We must surrender all to God. It is then that He can sweep in and save us, carry us, live through us.
Oh wow! What a great analogy. Tell us something funny about your life.
I am a part-time usher at the Arena at Gwinnett Center which seats 13,000 people here in Metro Atlanta (Duluth, Ga.). I got the job to be able to see my hockey team, the Gwinnett Gladiators, play. But over the years I have seen a ton of great concerts and met a lot of great people. It is just a hobby job that gets me out of the house and around people.
I would have never pictured you as an usher but that’s so cool the doors it has opened for you. What are some things on your bucket list?
Perhaps go to the Holy Land.
Make sure my kids (4) get good educations, nice weddings, and bright futures.
See my books made into first-rate movies. NOBODY, my third novel, has been optioned as a motion picture and I am excited to see what happens with that.
Such great dreams! My parents went to the Holy Land when I was a teenager. Dad was baptized in the Jordan River. It changed their lives. I would love to see my books made into movies one day, too. First, I’d like to see them on bookstore shelves. 🙂
Fear Has a Name
Can One Man End His Family’s Terror?
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.— When his family’s home is broken into, journalist Jack Crittendon believes it is a one-time invasion. But through a series of haunting circumstances, he begins to fear there is a stalker endangering his wife and two young daughters. His home life in upheaval, Jack threatens to buy a gun and throws himself into his work, investigating the story of a depressed pastor who disappeared with intentions of taking his own life. With his family’s safety on the line, Jack begins to discover that there are secrets—with painful, deadly implications—even behind “Christian” walls.
As he begins to unravel the mystery, his courage and faith are shaken. What if he can’t protect his family? What if he doesn’t make it through alive? Jack must find the faith to trust a God who allows inconceivable trials, and the courage to guard his family with danger exploding at every turn.
In Fear Has a Name, Creston Mapes creates a faith-building thriller that brings rich, fascinating characters vividly to life. The sharp, character-driven writing for which Mapes is known takes fans and new readers on an edge-of-your-seat journey that explores the harsh, far-reaching consequences of bullying as well as the Christian response to earth-quaking fear. With clever plot twists and remarkable pacing, Mapes strikes at readers’ hearts by brewing the perfect storm of good and evil, fear and triumph. His ability to pen bold, gritty, fascinating stories is on full, harrowing display in Fear Has a Name.
What inspired you to write this book?
I wanted to write about someone who was bullied and unwanted. I have a sympathetic side for less fortunate, less popular people. I wanted to get inside the head of someone who was unpopular and perhaps mentally abused.
I also love writing novels about journalists. So this new series is all about newspaper reporter Jack Crittendon, who writes for a mid-sized daily newspaper in Trenton City, Ohio.
Is there any scene in the book that came from a real-life happening?
Yes. When our oldest daughter was just a baby, my wife was home with her and we experienced a home invasion. Fortunately, my wife had the wits to grab the baby and run out the front door. So the new book starts with a similar experience, but there is more behind it than meets the eye.
Having read that scene, it gives me chills to know it really happened to your wife. If you could interview any character in Fear Has a Name, who would it be and what might he/she say?
It would be Granger Meade, the bullied character that returns to find the only person who ever cared for him, Pamela Crittendon, who is happily married to reporter Jack.
Granger would be an interesting, odd, sympathetic character to interview. He might be mean and rude, but he might also be tender and somewhat emotional.
Not to judge others until you know where they’ve been and what they’ve been through. Granger was completely unwanted by his religious zealot parents. He was hated by classmates. Yes, what he does is wrong, but we might just begin to feel for him …. especially when we get to book two in the series!
I can’t wait! For the writers joining us today, you stated in our previous interview that you were a seat-of-the-pants writer. Does that still apply today?
Absolutely. I write day to day. At the end of each writing day, when I’m in a flow, I jot down a few sentences about how the story might continue the next day. That way I’m not coming to a completely blank page. But I love not plotting. It feels very organic and it allows my characters to show me what is going to happen, instead of me deciding everything early on, without their input our unique personalities helping dictate where the story goes.
I have become less of a plotter after finishing my most recent book. In our previous interview, you described your writing as concise, emotional, and gritty. I’m only 1/3 of the way through Fear Has a Name and I can say you hit the nail on the head. Are there any other words you would use to describe your writing?
The description is clear, simple and true. It is no more or less than it needs to be, hopefully. I really work hard at getting in the mind of the reader and what the reader wants…what will make for the best, most enjoyable experience? If I write a paragraph or two that I realize is just fluff and has nothing to do with moving the story forward or contributing to the premise, I delete it.
That is one thing I’ve noticed while reading this book and it’s helped me see my scenes in a different way. If they don’t move the story along, change them or delete them. What are you working on right now?
Sky Zone, which is book 3 in the new series. Book two, Poison Town, is complete and we already have endorsements from Francine Rivers and Third Day, among others. I am coming to the close of Sky Zone and enjoying it very much. Once this series is written, I will take a little break, because I’ve been writing fiction solid for awhile now and look forward to at least a few weeks away from it.
What advice would you give to writers who are seeking traditional publication?
Study the craft. Study it a lot. Read books about it. Keep writing. Write until showing and not telling becomes a habit, and until you have a good grasp on POV. Be patient…it only takes one person and one publisher to like what you’re doing and want to offer you a contract.
Thank you so much for that advice! Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
If you haven’t already, give my books just a few pages and I think you’ll like what you read! Thank you for having me again, Sherri.
Thank you for joining us!
You can find out more about Creston here:
“Captivating from breathless start to throat-clenching finish, Fear has a Name possesses everything a great thriller should, and more. A must read for fans of Terri Blackstock and Brandilyn Collins.” Tamera Alexander, USA Today Bestselling author of To Whisper Her Name and A Lasting Impression
“It takes a lot for a suspense novel to impress me, but this one definitely did. Anyone who likes my books will love Fear Has a Name. The plot is skillfully woven, and the story has a spiritual depth that will resonate with readers. Creston Mapes is an author to watch in the suspense genre.” Terri Blackstock, Author of Intervention, Vicious Cycle, and Predator