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.
Hey everyone,

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.


Gina Holmes said...

Well this is cool timing. Thanks for featuring Creston, BC. Great guy and thanks for telling us more about yourself Creston.

Today Novel Journey is holding a contest to win one of two autographed copies of Creston's Full Tilt. Just read the review and put your name in the comments section to be entered.

How's that for team work?

Cara Putman said...

Thanks for the introduction to Creston. I've seen at least the first book in our local Christian stores, but hadn't really picked them up. Now I'm intrigued. I love your heart, Creston. As one who's had the blessing of growing up and becoming a Christian early, I am so glad to know that your books exist. You can present a side of Christianity I haven't experienced. Thanks for the inside look.

Creston said...

Brandilyn asked me to check in now and then today. Hey everyone! Gina, thanks for your review of Full Tilt at Novel Journeys. Cara, I know that the cover of Dark Star looks a little "dark," and it is indeed designed that way, but I think you'll find its story, and that of Full Tilt, powerful reading -- and great for handing out to friends, neighbors, and relatives...because what we're really dealing with is Christ's radical love for sinners, and how he longs to use changed lives (like mine) to draw others to His side. Thanks for writing in! Creston

C.J. Darlington said...

Creston--thanks for sharing that in your post..."what we're dealing with is Christ's radical love for sinners." That's sometimes forgotten by Christian writers. We're to tell a great story, yes, but ultimately, if there's nothing in a Christian novel to separate it from "just another story", then what's the point? I totally agree with you and strive to share Christ's love within a compelling story. Keep up the great work!

Sally Bradley said...

Creston, I enjoyed Dark Star tremendously. I think I read it in a day and a half. Now that Full Tilt is out, I'll definitely be picking it up. How many books are planned for the series so far?

Creston said...

Thanks CJ and Sally. Great hearing from you! There will be at least three books in The Rock Star Chronicles. However, I'm doing something different for my third novel, which will be a contemporary suspense piece based in Las Vegas. Multnomah sent me there several months ago for a research visit. But we'll get to book three in this series soon thereafter! Thanks so much for your support. Warm regards, Creston

Cara Putman said...

I love the idea of books that I can give to my unsaved friends. In Christian fiction, we sometimes are too quick to make Christianity look simple or easy. And that's not fair to Christ or to our friends. So showing gritty real life is awesome. I will be checking out the book now. I've got at least one person on my list that the book could be great for. She liked the Ashley Stockingdale series, and maybe this one could plant seeds from another direction.

Becky said...

Creston, thanks for posting your personal introduction to Christ. I am just so astounded that you told the doctor you knew you needed God. What led you to that conclusion, do you know? (I mean, what means did the Holy Spirit use).


Creston said...

Thanks Cara and Becky! I had grown up in church on Sundays, so I knew about Jesus. And I knew there was supposed to be a deeper walk with Him. So, when my back was to the wall, and I had tried everything else, I looked to Him. All by His grace. Cara, it is my desire for readers to share these books, and they can do so proudly, because the stories are right out of today's pop cult headlines! You guys take care. Blessings from Atlanta. Creston

Pammer said...

This is great. Thanks for sharing. As for your novels, I just heard about them. I think you have finally written a book of fiction that my youngest son might WANT to read! Staggering. :0)

Brandilyn is wonderful.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Great interview Creston...and cudos to you Branilyn for having him.

I'm so excited that your getting additional exposure Creston. We blogged your first book on our Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, and I was just blown away by the quality of your book.

It is certainly "edgy" by Christian standards, but that is what is needed, like Brandilyn's "seat belt" suspense, to show the world that Christians are real people too, not just cookie cutter replicas of each other.

I pray that this second book is a smashing success and propels you into the ranks of "highly favored" Brandilyn!

Creston said...

Pammer, we're hearing from kids who never read much...they're liking Rock Star Chronicles. Bonnie, always great to hear from are such an encourager. Thanks you guys! Rock on, Creston