I recently had the opportunity to ask author Steven Rage questions...
ellen - Hi Steven - Can you tell us about your book, Pilate: A Brutal Bible Tale?
Steven - Jesus has risen again. But this time She faces far more than ever before. In a city populated by vampires, monsters, and demons, She has to cope with drugs, brutality, violence and sex.
Pilate is a drug lord vampire in this re-telling of Christ's final days set in modern times in a Midwest American ghetto. When given another chance to save the Earth's new female Christ, will the re-incarnated Pilate choose to protect Her, or wash his hands in this life as in his first. Be warned: The Harbor is wicked. The violence is graphic and brutal. The terror is palpable. Pilate is not your parents' bible story...
It is a starkly horrifying world of vengeance and redemption played out on the darkly wicked crime and drug-fueled, post-industrialized streets of The Harbor. These re-tellings of familiar bible stories are definitely not for the faint of heart. Pilate is the first installment of the ground-breaking Harborside series and is available in paperback, ebook, and Kindle editions.
ellen - Your writing style is unique and purposeful - the premise is, of course, timeless- but how did you decide on how to write it?
Steven - I always wanted to write a bible-inspired story, based in modern times that had no intention to pander to anyone. That treats both Dark and Light with the respect all the holy ones, prophets and deities deserve. Growing up in religious schools, Pontius Pilate was always my favorite 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.
ellen - What kind of research did you do to write Pilate?
Steven - Being raised as a Christian, I was keenly aware of the last days of Christ, so research involved re-visiting the Gospels and the academic tomes from bible colleges. As far as researching The Harbor as a setting, involved going there, incognito, for a heart-pounding week of ducking and dodging, moving constantly, taking voracious notes and trying not to think about how dangerous it was. It was perfect for getting the palpable danger PILATE has as its background. People were killed in The Harbor during the time I was there.
ellen - This is a controversial book - graphic actions and language - but it works. What reactions have you had from your readers? I compared my reaction to the book to Kazantzakis' The Last Temptation of Christ - which isn't a bad book to be compared to.
Steven - Here is what some of the readers have to say: 'This brilliant alteration of biblical accounts into a moderized tale of drugs, death and deception is not for the easily offended or faint of heart. With graphic scenes of violence, sex and torture, Steven Rage has given us a view of Christ's final days had he lived in out modern world. His unique cadence and elaborate descriptions vividly animates every aspect of his writing. Whether offended or captivated, whoever reads the book will not soon forget it...' www.AllTheseBooks.com Then here's what Dana Ducomb wrote, 'This story illuminates in our modern world one of the most powerful stories ever told. Rage is a natural storyteller and with his compelling and clear voice, he spins imagery so detailed and brutal that it grips the heart, mind, soul, and body at once. Then, in the moment of pain and discomfort the light and courage of Christ shines on the darkest part of humanity. If you liked The Passion of the Christ or any other painful tales of horror, you will love Steven Rage.'
ellen - Are you religious?
Steven - I am a spiritual seeker. I am open to any possibilities and, therefore, refuse to pander to or disrespect any religion, philosophy, or aspect of spirituality.
ellen - Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Steven - I have wanted to write ever since my first cell split in two, give or take.
ellen - Can you tell us about independent publishing vs. traditional publishing - you have a great creative control in indie publishing, don't you?
Steven - This is one of those classic 'half-full/half-empty' deals. I tried to go the traditional route: got an agent who adored my work, still got years' worth of rejection from just about every publishing house in the U.S. Going Print On Demand (POD) blessed me with complete artistic control...which means all the writing, editing, and marketing is up to me. I am just obsessive-compulsive enough to dig it, but it is not for everyone. You have to believe in your work and put out a finished product that is a polished gem.
ellen - What advice do you have people who read this and have a story to tell - who may be hesitating to write a book?
Stephen - Do you really, really want to write a book? Are you sure? You had better be, because it is one of the most gut-wrenchingly difficult things you will ever do. You must be willing to take classes and read to learn all the rules of story structure and form. So you can break them on purpose at will. You must be willing to invest in writing 500,000 words, 2,000 pages of text, just to burn. Because the truth of the matter is you need to write that much, all those words that no one will ever see, before you can write the first one that is worthy of being read by someone that does not love you. Still with me? Good. Because it is one of the most rewarding things you will ever do. And if you do it well, it will far outlast your time on this planet. Now, what is more cool than that?
ellen - Very few things more powerful for an author to make a difference. What responsibilities do you think an author has to the public, to the story they write?
Steven - Only to present your story, whatever it may be, as a polished diamond. Respect your readers, they are of value beyond measure.
ellen - Ever thought about Pilate becoming a movie?
Steven - Are you kidding me? Of course! I've seen PILATE and all the Brutal Bible Tales as movies. Animation, I'm thinking, would make great films. I wrote PILATE, originally, simply because I couldn't get it down right as a screenplay, so much detail! I truly hope to see them all as films someday. That would be the tits.
ellen - What other projects are in the works for you - more Bible tales? Other books/works apart from the Bible series?
Steven - JONAH JOB is the next Brutal Bible Tale I am working on. Set in The Harbor, it takes over where PILATE leaves off, following the rough outlines of the original Old Testament bible stores, but with many Rage's twists and turns. You will dig it, for real. Also I am working on both a short story and novella versions of "Working Graves" a story of horror suspense. This tale is set in a creepy hospital on night shift and can be seen in the upcoming 'Shameless Shorts' anthology, that I think you, ellen, are also going to be writing a story for (that same anthology). Finally, I am in the planning stages of the third Brutal Bible Tale about a very bad Apostle Paul called: "The Dark Minister".
ellen - Hey thanks for the Shameless Shorts plug Steven! I am indeed writing a story for that project! Where can people contact you?
Steven - You can RAGE further at - AuthorsDen.com/stevenrage; Outskirtspress.com/pilate; Amazon.com/gp/pdp/profile/A3J16S5EGN4KF; Myspace.com/stevenrage (this one is super-cool); Allthesebooks.com/stevenrage; and Mymojolive.com/stevenrage
ellen - In parting, Steven, is there anything we haven't touched on you'd like the readers to know about - whether personally or professionally?
Steven - I am a Dark Christian horror writer of Brutal Bible Tales. My tales are unflinching, Hardcore Horror. I can write what the Big Guys can't because I have the luxury of answering to no one save my readers. Pleasing them with sharp filled gut-wrenching prose and uber-violent surroundings, tied up tight with a bible inspired bow is what gives me great satisfaction.
ellen - Steven, your brilliant book will make readers think, and that in itself is something every author should be proud of - many thanks for taking the time to answer my questions and look forward to reading your future works...
Steven - My pleasure.
Steven Rage Interview, author of Pilate: A Brutal Bible Tale, questions by ellen george