Getting personal with Craig Stewart
Craig Stewart is a Canadian author and filmmaker who learned how to count from the rhyme, “One, two, Freddy’s coming for you.”
He’s a creator and connoisseur of everything horror; never afraid to delve into the dark, and then a little further. His written works include short stories, film scripts, articles, and most recently, a novel.
He has also written and directed several short horror films that have enjoyed screenings across North America.
Please help me welcome Craig Stewart to Roadie Notes………
1. How old were you when you first wrote your first story?
I can’t remember the exact age, but I do remember one story I wrote as a child that ended up destroying the very first friendship I ever had. Strange, because you’d think my first encounter with writing (as the dreaded destroyer of friendships) would have dissuaded me from pursuing it any further. But, apparently, I hate having friends, or something. Anyway, the story was about a brood of small, invisible creatures that lived in the foliage. This old woman was trimming her bushes when she accidentally cut one of them with her hedge clippers, so they all rushed in like a swarm of piranha and tore her old, sagging flesh apart. What I didn’t know was that my friend’s parents were deeply religious, and deeply conservative, and when he shared my story with them, they told him he wasn’t allowed to play with me anymore. And that’s how my first friendship was ruined by writing. Pretty good review if you ask me.
2. How many books have you written?
Worship Me 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.
3. Anything you won’t write about?
Nope. As long as I have something to say about it, and as long as it looks like it hasn’t already been said, then I’m up for jumping into any depth of darkness.
4. Tell me about you. Age (if you don’t mind answering), married, kids, do you have another job etc…
I have achieved 30 years of life. I’m gay and living gaily with my fiancé. In addition to writing, I also work in film, direct and act occasionally, and work in post-production as well. My short films have screened across North America and you can find a few of them on my website linked below.
5. What’s your favorite book you have written?
It’ll have to be Worship Me, and not just by default. The book is meant to be a grim, claustrophobic nightmare for the reader. Bloody. Brutal. Dark. Whether or not it succeeds at that is up to you, but regardless, for me, the book means much more, which conveniently leads me into the following question…
6. Who or what inspired you to write it?
Many people have commented on how dark Worship Me is. There’s a reason for that. The story was conceived during a very dark time in my life – the shadows of which have saturated its 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. 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!
7. What do you like to do for fun?
What a delicious contrast to where the last question took me! I’m never having more fun than when I’m creating something, whether a book or a film. I also sing.
8. Any traditions you do when you finish a book?
Music plays a big part in my writing. I always make a playlist. Usually it’s very eclectic and can include anything from The Eurythmics to Philip Glass depending on the story. When writing, I listen to nothing but this playlist. So, when I’m finished a book, I listen to this specific collection one last time. It’s a way of saying goodbye, really.
9. Where do you write? Quiet or music?
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”
10. Anything you would change about your writing?
I think I can get caught up with details, particularly psychological ones, and sometimes you really just don’t need to justify why a character is opening a door. They just are. It’s not about how they were picked on as a kid, or their repressed sexuality; it’s a door. They open it.
11. What is your dream? Famous writer?
As a gay kid growing up in a small town, I had my ways of escaping (though not escapism). I gravitated towards horror. It seemed to satiate the angst of “the other” that is indivisible from realizing you’re a minority, or, at least in my experience of being one. And these tales of mayhem and murder helped me by showing me I wasn’t alone; there were other storytellers and artists as ill-fitting as I was, and they were frustrated and angry at the world too. It’s my dream to be able to make a work that reaches someone who needs to be reached, just like I needed to.
12. Where do you live?
We named a centipede that scurried past once. Does that count? It was Jeff or something. I don’t know. I think we ended up crushing him.
14. What’s your favorite thing about writing?
15. What is coming next for you?
After finishing Worship Me, I made a short film called From: Santa, about a mall Santa who’s determined to make a little girl’s Christmas wish come true, even if it kills him, which it probably will. Now I’m writing another novel that’s a semi-sequel to Worship Me. It expands on the world the first book introduced and delves deeper into the mythology of The Beast. Also, it’s a love story, or, anti-love story, to be more accurate.
16. Where do you get your ideas?
The graveyard. I love the thoughts that pass through while strolling by tombstones. It puts everything in perspective, and helps to unearth (wink) the stories you really want to tell while you’re here. And makes you ask the ever important: why? If I can answer that, then I go with it!
You can connect with Craig Stewart here:
Please check out my website here:
Worship Me available now: