Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
Worship Me, about a small country church held hostage by an ancient entity that believes itself to be their god, is my first and only novel to date, though it certainly won’t be the last! I’m currently bouncing back and forth like a Ping-Pong ball between three new novels… which I guess is really nothing like Ping-Pong, since that’s only two sides.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
Worship Me was conceived during a very dark time in my life; the shadows of which have saturated the book’s pages. My sister, to whom the book is dedicated, died of a brain tumor. I’ve decided not to mince words about it. She suffered. She suffered more than I could describe in twenty books. So, instead of attempting to depict her pain, I explored my own. Because of her brain tumor, she suffered many deaths. It ate her away slowly, and each new layer brought its own horrors. This unbearable process lasted long enough to sap every ounce of spirituality out of me, spirituality that had been implanted through years of attending church services in my youth. But this pain, the pain of spiritual death, is the darkness that awaits the reader in Worship Me. For me, it’s about the impossibility of reconciling ugly, physical, bloody, bodily life with the optimistic promise of spirituality that our energy will one day join the cosmos, or faith that we’ll get to float up and take a seat on some clouds. What if we are just the meat we’re printed on? This is the journey Worship Me takes, and one I felt obliged to welcome other travelers to explore with me. So, dark? It better be!
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I almost always write with music playing. Actually, I often write my own music. I’ve scored all of my films, so I thought I might as well make a soundtrack for my books as well. It helps to return to certain themes and characters, especially when you’ve stepped away from it for a bit.
Please, check out some of the tracks I wrote for Worship Me here on my website:
Worship Me – Inspirational Cue 1 “Keeping the Faith”
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Above all, Clive Barker. Honestly, I wasn’t really into reading until I read him. I also read George Orwell when I was very young, and the idea of building stories that aren’t just for numbing, but have something to say about the world we’re stuck in, of hiding hideous truths inside a work of fiction, intrigued me.
What are you working on now?
I’m currently working on a sequel to Worship Me, as well as another novel that’s a love letter to 80s slasher films.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Oh boy, best to get this advice from someone else. I can say that, even if your book doesn’t fit into a strict genre, for the purposes of promotion, pretend it does. Do some research and go after the websites and bloggers who would connect with your work. There’s nothing worse than trying to get someone to listen, only to have them hate it. Not… that… that’s ever happened to me.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Before you start writing, make sure it’s a story you really believe in. And make sure it’s a story that the world doesn’t already have. That’s the only thing that’s going to keep you going on those lonely nights when you’re faced with only rejection and dismissal. It’s a hard road. Make sure to pad your feet.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
It’s not really advice, but something that’s helped me throughout my life came from the ending of Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street. In the end, Nancy Thompson defeats Freddy by “knowing him too well”, which takes away his power over her, reducing him to a harmless speck of nothing. This lesson about fear and how to overcome it has been invaluable. No matter if the fear is of failure, or of that thing making noises inside your closet, if you get to know it well enough, you can take its power away. Really, I suppose, it’s what this writing thing is all about.
What are you reading now?
I’m currently reading Little Heaven by Nick Cutter. I’m on a bit of a religious-themed horror kick. If anybody has any suggestions, I’m more than open to them! Let The Good Book go bad!
What’s next for you as a writer?
The next thing I have to do is come up with 3 books I’d take to a desert island. Stay tuned for the answer!
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
Drum roll please!
Clive Barker’s Coldheart Canyon, Stephen King’s IT (because I could use its considerable girth to bludgeon crabs, my only source of food, and also, it’s a masterpiece), and finally, Iain Banks’ The Wasp Factory. There are passages in that book that literally made me dizzy.
Author Websites and Profiles
Craig Stewart Website