Thursday, March 30, 2006
Full Tilt--Part I
Black night. Familiar backstreets. Windows down. Cold air. Cruisin' free.
Top of the world.
This was what it was about, baby. Lit on meth and movin' at what seemed like the speed of light.
Lords of the night.
Over to Fender's Body Shop on auto pilot. Hands drumming on the dash and seats to the beat of the night and the pulse of the blood pounding through their veins.
Down the slope.
Past the dimly lit customer entrance and around back of the shop they swing and jerk to a stop, exit the Yukon, and glide through the gate that's cracked open. One, two, three of them.
So begins Full Tilt, Creston Mapes’ second novel and sequel to Dark Star. A brand new release.
I just got my copy and eagerly await to read it (after meeting my own BIG DEADLINE tomorrow). I was glad to see Dark Star published last year. I liked the fact that it covered a topic and kind of character we hadn’t seen much in Christian fiction. I liked the past/present telling of the story. And I really liked the protagonist’s spiritual arc. It felt authentic. His conversion was . . . messy. As they often are in real life.
Today and tomorrow, I’ve asked Creston to tell you about himself. Once you know more about the man behind the story, I’m sure you will appreciate his books even more. Take it away, Creston.
Great to be here with you on Brandilyn’s blog! In case you don’t already know, Brandilyn is incredibly supportive of new authors like me and has personally reached out, taken an interest in my books, and given me some invaluable guidance, for which I’m indebted. When my second novel, Full Tilt, arrived on her doorstep recently, she emailed me to ask if I’d like a little time to talk about it on her blog. I can only hope to be as generous and unselfish with my time and success in the future!
While some people grow up in the church and develop a relationship with Christ at an early age, never having experienced much of a dark side to their lives, I was different. I came to Jesus Christ because I had nowhere else to turn. I needed someone to carry me. I couldn’t go on by myself.
Up to 1986, my life had been one that could be summed up in the words that appeared on a T-shirt I owned a teenager. There was a skull and crossbones on that shirt. It read: “Sworn To Fun, Loyal To None.” Although I attended church while growing up, my family did not acknowledge the Lord during the week. We did not read the Bible. We did not pray. I began drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes at the age of 13 or 14. Shortly later, I began experimenting with marijuana, hash, and speed. Growing up, I loved the rock group KISS and plastered my room with their pictures. Songs like Hotter Than Hell and Cold Gin were my anthems. By the time I got to college, I lived for the weekends, which began Wednesday and didn’t end until Monday morning. I became involved in a fraternity that closely resembled National Lampoon’s Animal House.
The invisible hand of God kept me, somehow, up until 1986. He blessed me with a lovely wife, Patty, who is still my wife today and the mother of our four children. There came a point in 1986 when I had a new job in Atlanta, which was also a new city for us. I felt the weight of the world of my shoulders. Even though I was an adult, the drinking and drug usage had not stopped. Weekends were a combination of alcohol, drugs, and rock n roll. What bothered me more than the massive hangovers was the deep, empty void I felt inside. During a high-pressure business trip to Ft. Lauderdale, I had what I call an “out of body experience.” I didn’t feel like myself. I didn’t feel in control. I guess it may have been a minor breakdown. Somehow, God got me home to Atlanta. The daze continued over the weekend. I felt like I was in another body looking down on myself.
Monday morning, Patty made me go to the doctor. I had a complete physical, EKG, the works. The doctor summed up the condition as “stress.” He said he had a prescription that would help. I said, “No thank you. I’d rather not try the medication just yet. I think I know what I need; I need God in my life.” That Sunday my wife and I attended a church here in Atlanta and I began to experience the love and power of God. Soon, my wife and I were baptized. By His grace, we’ve been walking with Him ever since.
I dream and pray that my novels will show, through riveting story, the life-changing power of God and the radical, unconditional love He has for each one of us. My first book, Dark Star: Confessions of A Rock Idol (Multnomah, June 2005), takes a first-person, memoir-style look at the life of drug-addicted, millionaire rocker, Everett Lester. Here was a man who had it all—money, fame, women, and material wealth—but he couldn’t find peace or joy. So he put a personal psychic, Madam Endora Crystal, on his payroll to travel with the band; she became his solace. However, when Endora turned up murdered in Everett’s Miami high-rise, he was charged with first-degree murder. All the while, he received letters from a teenage girl in Kansas who was praying for Everett’s salvation, and that he would lead his millions of followers to Jesus Christ.
Book two in the series, Full Tilt (Multnomah, March 2006) is Everett’s continuing story in The Rock Star Chronicles. Here, we see a man who’s chosen to share God’s love with the world through his music. The only problem is, Satan isn’t ready to let go of his grip on Everett, and he is inflamed that Everett is beginning to reach thousands of his heavy metal fans with Gospel. To stop him, Everett is lured by his own brother and nephew into a dark world of psychotic methamphetamine freaks and modern day NY mobsters. It’s a suspense novel and psychological thriller rolled into one.
Although these first two novels are the beginning The Rock Star Chronicles series, they are written to stand alone.
Part II of Creston Mapes and Full Tilt tomorrow.