Dee Stewart

A literary journalist and publicist since 2003, Dee Stewart's writings have appeared in Precious Times, Romantic Times, Spirit Led Woman Magazines and on The Master's Artist Blog. She is also the owner of DeeGospel PR (,) Christian entertainment PR boutique located in Atlanta, GA. Visit her Christian Fiction Blog, which turned 6 years old in July at Her debut novel "A Good Excuse to Be Bad (Kensington/Dafina) releases Summer 2011. Talk to her in real-time on Twitter at @deegospel.

God’s Sovereignty, Setting, and Screenwriting
Booker T. Mattison Speaks

Booker T. MattisonBooker T. Mattison is an author and filmmaker who wrote the screenplay for and directed the film adaptation of Zora Neale Hurston’s The Gilded Six-Bits, which aired on Showtime. His debut novel, Unsigned Hype, has been optioned, and he is currently writing the film adaptation of the book. Mattison has taught literary criticism at the College of New Rochelle, film production at Brooklyn College, and advanced directing and actor coaching at Regent University. Snitch is his second novel.

Snitch, which releases this month, has received praise from some of the most acclaimed movie producers of our time, such as Lisa Cortes (Precious) and Stephanie Allain Bray (Hustle & Flow) and has also received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly. What is even more fantastic about Mattison’s success is that he writes for Revell, a Christian publisher.

This month Christian Fiction Online Magazine speaks with Mattison about Snitch, a writer’s responsibility, and what defines Christian fiction. This is the end of our Thrilling the Romantic Soul Series.

Explain your statement: “It is the writer’s responsibility to present both sides and let the audience indentify and become the protagonist.”

The reporter who wrote the story misquoted me on this. What I said was that it is the writer’s responsibility to present both sides and let the audience determine what they think. I went on to say that despite the appearance of objectivity, the writer still influences the audience’s sentiments through the use of the mechanics of storytelling. I went on to explain that audiences emotionally identify with the protagonist, and at a certain point audience members become the protagonist and have the same wants and objectives as the protagonist. Suspense is the emotional space between the audience’s intense desire for the protagonists to achieve their goal and their pronounced fear that the protagonist will not achieve it.

What is Snitch about?

Snitch is the story of an overnight bus driver who witnesses a crime and the moral dilemma he faces as he decides whether or not he will keep silent about what he saw to protect his job and his past, or whether he will talk and risk his life and his family.

What is Snitch’s spiritual takeaway?

The spiritual take away for Snitch is that nothing can happen in the universe without God’s approval. Translation: God is absolutely sovereign in the kingdoms of men.

You stated the goal of Snitch was “to go into that world and communicate God’s point of view in that setting. What is God’s sovereignty in that environment? What novels have exemplified this statement for you?

God’s sovereignty shows up in many ways in Andre’s, the protagonist, world. At the end of the story it is apparent that all of the things that happened to him—the good, the bad, and the heinous—were providential and part of an intricately conceived plan that ultimately benefits everyone around him and restores an entire community.

What authors or stories helped you to create Snitch?

I set out to write a novel like Nathan McCall’s Them, which presented a realistic, diverse African American community that featured black people from all different walks of life. I lived in Harlem for many years, and what is striking about Harlem is that you can have a PhD living in the same neighborhood as a hustler who flouts the law. That creates the potential for rich character interaction, and it is something that I set out to create with Snitch. Another book that influenced the writing of Snitch was Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities. That novel did a superb job of showing what happens when characters from completely different worlds collide.

What authors inspire you?

Alex Haley was a singular inspiration through Roots and The Autobiography of Malcolm X. And although they are not authors, I am greatly inspired by the Cohen Brothers. They have a definitive style and voice in their films that is quirky, dark, and, at times, comedic. Also, I’m exceptionally competitive, so anything that is currently hot in popular culture fires my creativity. I view anything in the zeitgeist as what I’m competing against.

SnitchWhat’s the difference between writing, songwriting, and novel writing?

Beyond the tools of the medium and how they are used to express your creativity, I don’t see a distinctive difference. I wrote music when I played the trumpet, and I wrote rhymes and made beats when I was a rapper and hip hop producer. Now I write novels, screenplays, and spoken word poetry. When I have an idea and I sit down to write it or expand upon it through successive drafts, I never consciously tell myself “Okay, Booker, you are going to write thus and so, so you must think and approach it a certain way.” It all starts with the idea for me.

Why should we care about Andre’s story?

Andre’s story is important because what he faces in Snitch graphically illustrates the silent crisis we are facing in our country, but it is a crisis that is not getting enough attention. Eighty-five percent of metropolitan police departments consider witness intimidation a problem. We only have to look south of our border to Mexico to see what can happen when lawless elements overrun a system of government where the participation of witnesses is paramount. And when you add the Blue Wall of Silence, and what has happened to police officers who have snitched on other cops, we have a perfect storm of elements that has the power to fundamentally transform the civil order that most Americans take for granted.

What is the biggest obstacle you have faced as a published author?

The biggest obstacle that I have faced is getting my stories to my audience. I haven’t yet discovered the formula that causes my book to reach a critical mass.

What’s your definition of Christian fiction? How do you relate your books to that?

I would define Christian fiction as fiction written specifically for a Christian audience. Often, Christian fiction has, at its core, an evangelical message where the protagonist gets “saved” or uses their faith to overcome a significant obstacle. Using that definition, my writing would fall outside of those parameters. I am an apologist at heart, so my writing is geared toward answering the tough questions and thorny issues that a non-Christian would grapple with. More to the point, I would describe the two novels that I have written to date as “urban apologetics.”

How can readers purchase Snitch and invite you to speak at their event?

You can buy Snitch at   or Booker can be contacted through his Website for speaking engagements:

Thanks so much for interviewing me!