Stewart LewisStewart Lewis has many talents: he writes novels and makes music. He is what the world would label a creative type. As you’ll learn below, his bank account has grown with each artistic success, but that doesn’t mean he ever intends to balance his checkbook. I asked Stewart to get personal about fame, fortune and the pursuit of happiness. Here are his money thoughts.

1. Your novel, Rockstarlet is described as a funny, wise and telling cautionary tale of fame and its ultimate cost. How does your lead character, Jackson Poole pay for fame?
Well, he has hiden his true self, which is a high cost to pay. But eventually it comes down to whether it’s worth it or not–and he has to decide which is more important. Fame or being true to himself.

2. What is your most significant memory about money?
My father had this friend called “Sweet Pea” who would always hand me crisp $20 bills on the sly. I LOVED it, not only because he represented someone powerful, but to me it meant endless candy bars!

3. What is your worst habit around finances?
I don’t really balance my checkbook!

4. In addition to writing, you’re also a singer: two pursuits that typically require people to live like a starving artist at some point during their career. Was this your experience and how did you cope?
Oh yes. I use to snack on the bulk aisle at supermarkets, and I’ve worked in about 50 restaurants. You have to simply accept the fact that it will change, that this is “paying your dues” time.

5. If you could buy one thing right now what would it be?
A cream colored vintage Porsche convertible.

6. Which place is easier to survive and thrive on a budget: Los Angeles or New York City?
Definitely LA. The simple fact that the sun is always shining makes it easier. In New York, it costs $50 to breathe. In LA, you can find an amazing taco for $2. They are both hard, but New York is way more unforgiving.

7. Do you have a partner and if so, do you see eye-to-eye on money?
All of my partners (and my current one) make more money than I do. There is always a dynamic there, as in straight relationships. In the past, I’ve had plenty of “Sugar Daddies” but now that I am becoming more successful, I’m able to stand more of my ground financially which feels great.

8. I noticed that you self-financed three CD releases. Was the risk worth the reward? What advice would you give to others trying to break into the music business?
The risk was definitely worth it. It takes courage to put your art out into the world, but the more you do it, the more developed you become as an artist, and the more chance you have of being recognized by people that can take your career to another place. Always carry a CD with you! I’ve given recordings to random people on planes that end up securing a song in a movie or TV show–you never know.

9. Which is more important: how much money you make or how you spend it?
They both hold the same importance for me. It’s a balance. You have to keep it all in perspective and act accordingly.

10. Does money buy happiness?
No. But it certainly helps!

More about Stewart Lewis
Stewart Lewis is a songwriter and novelist who lives in New York City. His dishy first novel, Rockstarlet, about a closeted rock star, is out now from Alyson books. His soulful blend of pop and folk music has been featured on several TV shows and enjoyed by audiences worldwide. He is currently developing his diary into a memoir as well as finishing his second novel, Relative Strangers, the story of a mismatched friendship between an older British gay man and a brash American teenage girl, and the discovery that they share an almost impossible secret. For more information, visit

Read other Queercents interviews in the Ten Money Questions archive.