In Dancing in My Dreams (Eerdmans, Nov.), Craig, a lecturer of religion at Dartmouth, traces Tina Turner’s spiritual path, from her Baptist roots to her embrace of Buddhism.

What drew you to the spiritual dimension of Tina Turner’s life?

I’ve always been a big fan, even as a small child. When I began to think about what she said had been most important to her in interviews and her writings, it’s her spirituality. But what the media focuses on most often is her looks, her shows, her career and business, her relationship with Ike Turner. Her own focus was on her spirituality. I wanted to provide a genealogy of the strands of her religion.

What are some of those strands?

Turner seems to have taken her Black Baptist and Pentecostal upbringing and incorporated it into what’s not quite a multicultural religious belonging, but instead a combinatory religious repertoire that she drew on throughout her life—much like a large swath of both the country and global citizenry. She practiced Soka Gakkai Nichiren Buddhism starting in 1973.

How did Turner view her own life?

She believed that everyone has to go through something. It might seem like a lot in her case—the violent marriage, racism, sexism, fraught relationships with her mother and children, illness in later life—but Tina never looked back. She wanted to appeal to all races, all classes, people with different religious backgrounds. She wanted them to encounter her and find a bit of themselves.

Do you have a favorite Tina story?

My favorite part of the book is when Tina leaves Ike, because that’s when her story begins. She was Anna Mae in Nutbush, Tenn., Little Ann when she meets Ike, then Tina Turner in the 1960s and ’70s. Tina’s story starts that night in Dallas in 1976 when she left him, and the determination that brought her to that point fueled her solo career.

As a Buddhist yourself, what has Tina’s life meant to you?

I learned from Tina to always have a dream and a goal and to hold that vision inside of yourself no matter what. I learned that spirituality—that religion—is an action in the world. It’s not just about beliefs and ideas in a private sense, but about how you take the stage no matter what that stage is for you. We are fortunate that Tina’s legacy remains pervasive in the world through her art, music, and movies.

Where do you think Tina is now?

I feel her as one of the ancestors. In the Buddhist tradition, it can take as little as 49 days for someone to be reborn. It might be that Tina Turner has already been reborn, so if we encounter a child who has a vibrant personality and tenacity, we might be seeing a young Tina back to do more work.