BookHuntersBlog.com: Did you study the craft of writing or dive right into it?
Steven Rage: Hit and miss, this class and that, writing, writing and still more writing since the mid-1980s.
BHB: What was your motivation behind writing these stories?
SR: Growing up in religious schools, Pontius Pilate was always my favorite bible character. I could never figure out why he allowed the torture and crucifixion of what he knew to be an innocent, in fact a holy man? Why? It plagued me for years, and then I remembered a line from the Rolling Stones song Sympathy for the Devil: “I was there when Jesus Christ had his moment of doubt and pain; I made damn sure Pilate washed his hands and sealed his fate…” Whose fate? Pontius Pilate’s or Jesus’? Then I began to think of vampirism as a punishment of eternal multiple lives, instead of a reward. And then I went to The Harbor and felt the wickedness. It all came together and six years later, TA-DAH!
BHB: Are you religious; and if yes, don’t you think you have committed blasphemy?
SR: I am a spiritual seeker. I do not engage in religiosity that has only one set of right answers and eternal punishments if you've guessed wrong. As far as blasphemy? If I would not have treated Immanuel of The Harbor, Jesus of Nazareth, with anything but the utmost respect and adoration, I would be blasphemous.
BHB: Why did you make Jesus female?
SR: Immanuel is a female because I think the desire and willingness to sacrifice your life and to subject yourself to torture and defilement for those you see as your children, is an inherent female trait. The fact that Her name Immanuel and Her title of respect, El Cristo is the male forms owes itself to The Harbor.
The men and women there are seen as either masculine or feminine. Much more so than straight gender.
BHB: Did you ever feel uncomfortable during the writing process?
SR: Two parts of Pilate made me feel… unwell. I will let you ponder on what those two were.
BHB: Would you say that organized religion has lost its true meaning long ago?
SR: Organized religion, by it’s very nature, is a small group controlling the thoughts and actions of a larger group. With detailed punishments for lack of compliance. Yeah, I’d say it has long lost its purity of purpose.
BHB: What do you think about the future of books with all the new technology coming out (like Kindle and foldable screens)?
SR: I’m not up on new technology. POD (publishing on demand) and marketing on the internet is still amazing to me!
BHB: How difficult was the publishing process for you?
SR: It was horrifying until I accepted that every aspect of the book, idea, research, countless re-writes, all the editing and marketing, are your responsibility. Then it meshed… being a little obsessive-compulsive certainly helped.
BHB: How much of your own promotion do you do?
SR: Every little bit.
BHB: Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?
SR: Don’t do it for money, do it for posterity. Someone, somewhere, 20 years after you are long gone is going to read what you wrote and be changed, in some way. Try and top that.
BHB: What are your future plans?
SR: There are three Brutal Bible Tales. PILATE was published in Jan, 2008. JONAH JOB is being written now, and the third installment, THE DARK MINISTER, centered on a wonderfully creepy Apostle Paul is in the planning stages.
BHB: How do you juggle writing with the rest of your life?
SR: Stolen moments, creative surges, dry spells, stimulants and long, unhealthy doses of sleep-deprivation.
BHB: Do you have any methods or rituals to your writing?
SR: I always write the first draft on lineless copy paper in pencil. The final draft of the fist paragraph is the last thing I write. The last page is almost always comes to me about 20-30% into the book. And I can never write when I am pissed off, or in a bad mood. All the gruesome bits come when I feel content and secure... My God, what a Psychology major could make of that!
BHB: How do you find inspiration?
SR: Spending an incognito week with the real-life inspiration for Immanuel, exploring The Harbor and its unique peoples was critical to the validity of the fictional setting.
BHB: Was there one certain event or happening that made you want to write a book?
SR: I always wanted to write a bible-inspired story based in modern times that had no intention of pandering to anyone; a story that treats both Dark and Light with the respect all the holy ones, prophets, and deities deserve.
BHB: What do you do against writer’s block?
SR: A full time job! That way, the book is done when it’s done.
BHB: Do you use an outline when writing? Do you stay linear or do you skip in time?
[b] SR: I usually write the outline (timeline) linear. But I like to jump around to build and maintain suspense. I try to make the book enjoyable to readers on several layers and in many different ways. Why not have a horror novel that is based on a bible story, set in modern times, with the grit and grime of drugs and organized crime with suspense sprinkled throughout?
BHB: How difficult was it to get an agent?
SR: I sent out a hundred queries to get an agent who loved my Brutal Bible Tales….and then waited three long years while I was still being rejected by every publishing house out there. What a waste of time.
BHB: How important is a good website and do you utilize blogging?
SR: Any success that I may yet acquire can be placed at that doorstep. I blog my PILATE and even some unpublished JONAH JOB excerpts through several web pages, including myspace.com/stevenrage and AllTheseBooks.com.
BHB: What do you prefer and why: Mass-market paperback or hard cover for your debut novel?
SR: Without a doubt, paperback. It’s cheaper, so more people will buy it, read it, and pass it on to a friend with a: “Man, you have got to read this!”
Nothing in this world would be better than that!
BHB: What are the most difficult and rewarding aspects of being a published writer?
SR: The most difficult is all the time marketing requires and the necessary, but sharp learning curve that goes with it. The best is hearing directly from readers the lines, or parts, or even just the characters that grabbed them by the throats and shook ‘em. It’s not always what you would have guessed…
Thank you very much for this opportunity, we wish you much success in your career!