Creston Mapes Hosts Q&A discussion

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message 1: by Creston (new)

Creston Mapes (httpwwwcrestonmapescom) | 23 comments Mod
You can inquire about my thrillers, my writing schedule, upcoming books, movies in the works, etc. We can also talk about your favorite books and genres, or about the craft of writing great fiction.

message 2: by Creston (new)

Creston Mapes (httpwwwcrestonmapescom) | 23 comments Mod
First time I've tried this...bumbling a bit with the set up.

message 3: by Rick (new)

Rick | 3 comments What are your feelings towards profanity in Christian Fiction?

message 4: by Creston (new)

Creston Mapes (httpwwwcrestonmapescom) | 23 comments Mod
Hey Rick,
Great question. At times while writing a manuscript, there have been perfect places to insert cuss words. However, I've learned that Christian fiction lovers don't want to be subject to profanity. They will complain and never read your books again.

I've also learned that if you, as the writer, take a few minutes to work the sentence, you can do so in such a way to generate the same feelings, without the profanity. What do you think?

message 5: by Rick (new)

Rick | 3 comments Thanks for the reply. I, too, agree with that theory. If I wanted to read words like that, there are plenty of that on the market. As a church librarian I want to make sure that anyone, young or old, can check out a book in my library and not worry about their being colorful language inside.

message 6: by Rick (new)

Rick | 3 comments So can we expect to see you in my hometown in Florida during your world-wind publicity tour for the new Crittendon Files novel?

message 7: by Creston (new)

Creston Mapes (httpwwwcrestonmapescom) | 23 comments Mod
Hey Rick,

I dialogue with many Christian authors who've told nightmare stories about how readers object to the mildest profanity. In fact, it can get rather ridiculous, to a point where they don't even want to see words like 'heck' or 'sheesh,' etc.

On the book tour question, I am mostly doing events in the southeast right now....but you never know! You can watch my website for those dates/events. (I used to be a reporter in Englewood, Fla., many years go.) Thanks bro. cm

message 8: by Betsy (new)

Betsy Hunter | 1 comments Hi Creston,
I loved Fear Has A Name, movie perhaps?

message 9: by Creston (new)

Creston Mapes (httpwwwcrestonmapescom) | 23 comments Mod
Hey Betsy,

Great to hear from you friend! It's been a long time since we did your book club with the rock star party theme!!!

It is early to hear of a movie deal on Fear Has a Name. However, I am THRILLED to say that NOBODY has been optioned as a motion picture. The screenplay is done and investors are being sought as we speak. I like the people spearheading the project and am hoping God moves in big ways. Based in Las lends itself to the big screen!

Hope to see you soon! cm

message 10: by Chris (new)

Chris Well | 1 comments Hi, Cres - for this new series, did you have the whole series mapped out ahead of time, or did you just start with the first book and take a leap of faith that the other books would follow?

message 11: by Creston (new)

Creston Mapes (httpwwwcrestonmapescom) | 23 comments Mod
Hey Chris Well...another great question.

In this new series, my publisher, David C Cook, got the entire manuscript for the first book (Fear Has a Name) and they decided they would like to make it a series about the reporter featured in the first book, Jack Crittendon (Hence the series title, The Crittendon Files).

I only had to give 1-2 paragraphs about what might happen in books 2 and 3 to kind of 'sell' the publisher on the series. They said those paragraphs could be very loose and we all agreed the ideas/stories might change as I got into the writing.

Interestingly, books 2 and 3 have turned out to be spot on what we suggested they might be about. What are you working on these days?

message 12: by Adam (new)

Adam Blumer (adamblumer) | 8 comments I would also be interested in knowing how you pitched the new series. Did you send your publisher a proposal for all three books upfront? Just the first one with a sketch of where future books could go? Thanks.

message 13: by Creston (new)

Creston Mapes (httpwwwcrestonmapescom) | 23 comments Mod
Hi Adam. Because I work full-time as a freelance writer (marketing), I needed plenty of time to write the first book. So my agent suggested we simply wait until it was finished, then she pitched it to publishers.

That is why there was such a big break between my third and fourth novels (6 years!). Then they also made the launch of book one a long way out so that I could write books 2 and 3 and we could release all 3 within 1.5 years. Get me?

message 14: by Adam (new)

Adam Blumer (adamblumer) | 8 comments Yes, I get it. Thanks. I'm in a similar boat. I edit books for my bread and butter and to try to figure out how to find the time to get the next book written (preferably without taking forever). I also write early in the morning when I can. We probably share similar challenges. Thanks.

message 15: by Creston (new)

Creston Mapes (httpwwwcrestonmapescom) | 23 comments Mod
And they certainly are 'challenges' Adam. I write from about 8 am to noon (fiction), then spend 1 to 6 or so on marketing copy. Good luck with it. I recall reading something you did and enjoyed it!

message 16: by Adam (new)

Adam Blumer (adamblumer) | 8 comments You are too kind. If only I could write four hours a day. Not sure how I could ever do that. At least not right now.

message 17: by Creston (new)

Creston Mapes (httpwwwcrestonmapescom) | 23 comments Mod
Adam, when it's supposed to be, it will be....

message 18: by Adam (new)

Adam Blumer (adamblumer) | 8 comments How do you plot your books? Seat of the pants?

message 19: by Creston (new)

Creston Mapes (httpwwwcrestonmapescom) | 23 comments Mod
Yes, Adam, seat of pants. Start with a main idea for novel, then take it day to day. As I learn what each character is like, that shows me what they are going to do and how they are going to react to the situations I throw them into. At end of day I try to throw out some ideas that can happen the next day, so I have some place to start in the morning, and not be staring at a blank screen!

message 20: by Sheri (new)

Sheri | 1 comments Hey Creston-When is Poison Town being released?

message 21: by Creston (new)

Creston Mapes (httpwwwcrestonmapescom) | 23 comments Mod
Hey Sheri,
Feb 1, 2014!! Can't wait. I love the outcome. We have endorsements from Francine Rivers and Third Day, among others. Thanks for asking! c

message 22: by Adam (new)

Adam Blumer (adamblumer) | 8 comments So when you get to the end of your seat-of-the-pants thing, how do you choose the right ending? Does it just come to you organically? Do you have something in mind—and it changes in stride? Do you flip a coin? Pray?

message 23: by Creston (new)

Creston Mapes (httpwwwcrestonmapescom) | 23 comments Mod
Adam, as I continue to write the mss., the ending builds and builds. But only in the back of my mind. I let it simmer for the weeks and months leading to writing the end.

Also, I jot down notes at the end of the mss. with ideas about what 'could' happen at the end. By the time I get there, I have a ton of great ideas for the end and have subconsciously written in that direction leading up to that point.

So far I've finished 6 books this way and I've been pleased with each ending.

Thanks for asking.


message 24: by Adam (last edited Aug 22, 2013 05:35PM) (new)

Adam Blumer (adamblumer) | 8 comments I read your article at Novel Rocket about the writer's life. So how's that stand-up desk working out for you? Does that help save your neck and back? I have neck issues I've struggled with for years, and sitting at a computer for hundreds of hours, working on the next novel, can't help. I'd love to know whether that has helped much.

message 25: by Creston (new)

Creston Mapes (httpwwwcrestonmapescom) | 23 comments Mod
Adam, I do like it very much. But I only use it probably every third day, and then for a few hours a day. I sit TOO much, so I try to exercise early each morning....otherwise I would get no exercise!!!

To answer again though I do really like it....perfect size, height, etc.

message 26: by Adam (new)

Adam Blumer (adamblumer) | 8 comments So how's working from home? I do the same (and I'm still editing between questions). Love having lunch with my wife and two daughters. What are the pros and the cons, in your view, of being a published novelist who works from home?

message 27: by Creston (new)

Creston Mapes (httpwwwcrestonmapescom) | 23 comments Mod
Man I am getting a complete interview here.
I love working from home and have done so for 22 years. Our family (4 kids: 23, 28, 26, 13) is very closeknit. They've known since they were little that daddy is working in his office, and not to disturb (too much).

Summers get a bit hectic and hard to concentrate, but I do love it. Only real con for me would be not being able to concentrate...but I have several doors that separate me from the rest of the house!

message 28: by Adam (new)

Adam Blumer (adamblumer) | 8 comments Thanks, Creston. Sorry for the full interview. I gotta run. You have a good evening. Would love to chat again sometime. May God grant His peace.

message 29: by Creston (new)

Creston Mapes (httpwwwcrestonmapescom) | 23 comments Mod
Blessings Adam

message 30: by Dwayne (new)

Dwayne Pugh (dwaynepugh) | 1 comments Rick wrote: "Thanks for the reply. I, too, agree with that theory. If I wanted to read words like that, there are plenty of that on the market. As a church librarian I want to make sure that anyone, young or..."

Rick and Creston,
A hundred years ago when I was attending a small Christian college, I had a confrontation (verbal trending physical) with a guy in the parking lot. When I used a word that he didn't approve of, he told me if I wanted to cuss I (could or should, don't remember which) go to a state school. LOL!

message 31: by Creston (new)

Creston Mapes (httpwwwcrestonmapescom) | 23 comments Mod that's a good story. How self-righteous we can be at times. Sometimes Christians are the worst in that category....hate to say it. Thanks Dwayne.

message 32: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Johnson | 1 comments I loved the past novel of yours that was published and can't wait for the next one! I so appreciate the hard work authors put into their writing, taking time to chat with people!
Where do you get the inspiration for your novels?

message 33: by Creston (new)

Creston Mapes (httpwwwcrestonmapescom) | 23 comments Mod
Hey Lisa,
I am procrastinating today so this is a good break for me. Thanks a lot for the goes straight to my head!

The inspiration for my books really comes from my past life. I didn't become a Christian until age 28, so I lived a long time in a very 'wordly' way....but I think God is using that in my books, because I can paint a very realistic picture on topics such as drug and alcohol use, the rock scene, the newspaper business, and the grittier side of life.

So I am inspired to tell contemporary, realistic stories that not only thrill readers and give them extraordinary entertainment, but also cause them to think about some thought-provoking issues. In the latest book those things would be fear, depression, use of guns, and bullying.

I really appreciate your comments and question! Stay in touch.

message 34: by Kelly (new)

Kelly | 1 comments Hi Creston!
First, I am absolutely thrilled that Nobody is being optioned for film. That novel had such a profound impact on me. I can honestly say it was truly powerful. I hope that it will touch more lives.

Second, what do you find is the most challenging part of writing? What is the most gratifying aspect of writing?

Third, I could totally relate to the language issue. Once I said "Oh my word!" when I was on the air. I thought the ceiling was going to fall on me from the reaction I received. As rough as those reactions can be on my tender heart, it definitely causes me to really consider what I say.

Blessings to you!

message 35: by Creston (new)

Creston Mapes (httpwwwcrestonmapescom) | 23 comments Mod
Hey Kelly,

We are excited about Nobody the movie!! All my family members want parts in it.

The biggest challenge for me in writing fiction is finding the time to do it, and to build up my readership enough where I can do it full time. I am hoping this new 3-book series gets me to that point, but time will tell.

Most gratifying are the reader notes I get that tell me my novels have drawn people closer to Christ. I relish those letters.

Thanks much for dropping by!


message 36: by Kendra (new)

Kendra Armstrong (kendraarmstrong) | 2 comments Hey Creston, That's awesome to hear that Nobody was optioned for a movie! Congrats!

I've got a couple questions. How long did you think about writing your first novel before you actually got started writing it, and how long did it take you to write it?

Your characters are great. Honestly, as a seat-of-your-pants novelist, do you do any character sketches on paper before you start writing?

I love the profound truths contained in your novels. I was especially blown away by Dark Star. It was amazing!

message 37: by Creston (new)

Creston Mapes (httpwwwcrestonmapescom) | 23 comments Mod
Hi Kendra,

Thanks for dropping by and for your comments.

When I decided to start trying fiction back in 1999, I immediately went to work and wrote an entire novel called HOOKED, which never got published. I got a lot of rejections for that one, but started right in to writing DARK STAR next.

Back then you could still shop proposals without an agent, which is what I tried for awhile.

Then an agent approached me, interested in representing me, and it took another 9 months to get my first 3-book contract with Multnomah. So, in all, it took me 5 years to get my first contract, from the time I started writing. Each book takes me 9 months to a year for the first draft.

On my characters, no, I do no character sketches before hand. As the book moves on each day, I learn and create more about each character. So it truly is totally seat of pants.

It amazes me how some people love Dark Star and Full Tilt most, others love Nobody, and still others are liking the new book/ I am happy with that! Everett Lester (Dark Star) will make an appearance in book 3 of the new series, by the way!!

Thanks again, Kendra. Blessings.

message 38: by Sheila (new)

Sheila | 1 comments Hi!

I think it is wonderful you offer this forum for your readers to interact with you! I really loved the Everett Lester books...I teach a Business of Music class so I am more interested in reading things about the music scene and in being a Christian I thought it was so awesome Everett became a Christian using his gifts for God's glory! :)

Did you or do you work at another job while you were writing? Also what authors have inspired you the most? Do you feel at all in writing that it is harder to enjoy reading other books as in like do you find yourself critiquing them?


message 39: by Creston (new)

Creston Mapes (httpwwwcrestonmapescom) | 23 comments Mod
Hi Sheila,
Thanks for writing and for your kind words about The Rock Star Chronicles.

I am actually a freelance marketing copywriter and have been for more than 20 years. So I write my fiction in the mornings and my marketing projects in the afternoons.

I am a picky reader and do like to read novels written by authors who really know/understand the craft of writing great fiction. Therefore, I read a lot of the classics and I enjoy literary fiction very much. My favorite authors can be found on my goodreads page -- books I've read and given 5 stars.

JD Salinger and Cormac McCarthy are two favorites that have inspired my work.

I'm really glad to hear from you Sheila. I hope you'll check out my newest book/series. Keep in touch.

message 40: by Kendra (new)

Kendra Armstrong (kendraarmstrong) | 2 comments Creston,

Thanks so much for the info. I'm truly impressed that you can develop your characters and storyline without an outline and as you go. You do it very well! I'm also impressed with your hard work and dedication. That's what it takes to succeed!

Glad to hear Mr. Lester will be appearing in Poison Town! You left us hanging at the end of Full Tilt. I wonder if we will get some resolution...?


message 41: by Creston (new)

Creston Mapes (httpwwwcrestonmapescom) | 23 comments Mod
Hi Kendra,

Great to hear from you.

It certainly does take time and dedication to build a following of fiction readers. I'm trusting this new series will really help us get the traction we need.

Actually, Everett and Karen will appear in book three in the new series, tentatively entitled Sky Zone. I hope you will tune in.

Best to you.

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