Dear Readers, I love Terri Blackstock books, so when my book arrived, it was the next one I read. As usual her characters grabbed my heart and pulled it straight into the story. I journeyed with them on a rough road to redemption. You won’t want to miss this suspense thriller.
Bio: Terri Blackstock is a New York Times best-seller, with over six million copies sold worldwide. She is the winner of three Carol Awards, a Christian Retailers Choice Award, and a Romantic Times Book Reviews Career Achievement Award, among others. She has had over twenty-five years of success as a novelist. Terri spent the first twelve years of her life traveling in an Air Force family. She lived in nine states and attended the first four years of school in The Netherlands. Because she was a perpetual “new kid,” her imagination became her closest friend. That, she believes, was the biggest factor in her becoming a novelist.
I’m excited to have you back on my blog, Terri. God has really been moving in your writing life. What do you see on the horizon?
I’m hoping that readers will be moved by my new book, Twisted Innocence. I think anyone who has ever messed up (ahem … all of us?) will connect to this story. This is the last book in my Moonlighters Series. I’ve already started my next series, and it’s a little different. I’m very excited about that new set of characters and the dilemma my protagonist finds herself in.
Tell us a little about your family.
I’ve been married to my husband Ken for twenty-two years. We’re a second marriage, and we’ve raised three children together. We now have four grandchildren under the age of three, so we’re very blessed. We love those kids to pieces.
All my grandchildren are grown, but we have two great grands, almost 8 and 17 months, and a new one is due next month. What blessings and joys!! Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?
Yes. I read very analytically now. If something works, I pause to see why it works, and if it doesn’t work, I try to figure out what I would have done better. Being a writer can take the joy out of reading, but if a book is excellent, I forget all that and just enjoy the experience.
What are you working on right now?
I’m working on my first book of a brand new series (I don’t have the title just yet). I love this character, because she’s on the run from the law, but her past and the circumstances of her situation make her a character readers will fall in love with. (I already have.) She’s not a believer, but others in the story are, and as she runs from her past, she’s going to see God’s work in her life. I hope readers will trust me with this story, because I don’t intend to let them down.
You have never let us down yet. You are a favorite author of both my husband and me. What outside interests do you have?
I love doing craftsy things and home decorating. If I have extra time, I’m usually doing that. Or spending time with my grandkids.
How do you choose your settings for each book?
Sometimes the story requires a certain location. My
Refuge series revolved around the Savannah, Georgia,
area, and I was inspired by the culture on .
I wanted the book to be set on an island of its own, so I created a new island
just like Tybee, and placed it next to Tybee Island .
In other books, like the Restoration Series, I needed for a major interstate to
run through the town, and I needed for it to be a certain distance from some
other places, so I set it in Tybee Island .
I tend to stick to cities in the south since I’m a southerner. Usually they’re
places that will be easy for me to research. Birmingham
If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why?
I know this is a “churchy” answer, but I would love to spend even five minutes face to face with Jesus. I have some things I would love to run by him, to get clarification in some areas of my life. I can go to him in prayer any time, but it would be great to get some clear marching orders and assurances about some of my prayers.
I’ve often wished he’d write the answer in clouds I could see … or even neon. What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started writing novels?
That’s hard to answer, because I wouldn’t have wanted to know anything that discouraged me from writing. If I’d known how many years it would take me to learn my craft, it might have discouraged me. If I’d known how hard it would be to get each book ready for publication, I might have felt I wasn’t up for the task. If I’d known what kind of spiritual warfare would come against me as a Christian writer, I might have been fearful.
I do wish I’d been more solid in my faith when I began writing, however. I was a Christian, but not a mature one, when I started my career writing romance novels for Harlequin and Silhouette. I made a lot of compromises in order to sell more books, and eventually I was writing books as graphic as any out there. I wish I’d understood deep in my soul that God had given me a gift for a specific purpose, and that was to glorify Him. Not to waste my time writing books that were stumbling blocks for readers. But God has used even that. Once I switched gears and started writing suspense novels for the Christian market, God found ways to use my background to enrich my new focus.
What new lessons is the Lord teaching you right now?
That I can’t do it without a strong connection to the Vine. Last year I felt very discouraged about some things in my life, and I drifted away from my focus on God and my daily Bible study. He’s taught me that my gift is only at its best when I’m deeply connected to the Holy Spirit and spending time with Him every day.
What are the three best things you can tell other authors to do to be successful?
Learn your craft. That doesn’t mean knocking off a book in a few weeks, then publishing it to Kindle. That means attending workshops, studying writing books, reading a ton of novels in your genre, joining a group like American Christian Fiction Writers (acfw.com) where there are resources and online classes, and getting into a critique group with trusted writers who can be honest with you and help you grow.
Be patient. In years past, writers had to learn patience above all, because it took so long to get published. Even if a publisher bought our first submission, we still had to go through a lengthy editorial process and wait over a year to get the book in stores. These days, there are a lot of shortcuts, and that can be a good thing. But be careful not to skip steps in growing as a writer. Just finishing a book does not mean it’s ready for publication. Your mother’s opinion doesn’t count. Find writers you trust and admire, and ask them to be brutal in critiquing your book. Take the time to do the hard work of revision and editing before publishing it. One of my pet peeves is when I’ve critiqued a new writer’s book, thinking it will take months for them to make all those changes (because that’s what it would take me to do them working at it full-time), and the next time I see them, they tell me they took an afternoon and made all those changes. Seriously? An afternoon? If you can’t invest a lot of time in improving your book, then you’re probably never going to be successful as a writer.
Leave your ego out of the process. I can tell right away if a writer has a chance at a career in writing. The ones who embrace criticism and dig in to their work to revise are the ones who have a shot. Those who get defensive and argumentative … they’ll never make it. If you can’t take criticism, then good luck. You will blow every opportunity to grow.
So true. Tell us about the featured book.
Twisted Innocence is the final book in my Moonlighters Series. I wanted to tell Holly’s story, because she’s my favorite character in the series. Of the three sisters, Holly has been the most troubled.
She has had many consequences throughout her life—job losses, financial collapse, relationship problems—but none has ever shaken her like her pregnancy. She cleans up her life as she carries her child, but she never tells the father. When he learns about Lily’s birth, he comes back into her life, but he brings a world of trouble with him. He’s a suspect in a murder case, and when Holly uses her private investigating skills to help with the investigation, the tables turn and he takes her and the baby hostage. But nothing is as it seems. Is he really a killer or a victim? His link to her family’s arch-nemesis creates an even more tangled web.
This story shows the domino effect of our decisions on others’ lives. But it also shows that those decisions can be redeemed. God can use even our worst mistakes.
Please give us the first page of the book for my readers.
Holly Cramer pulled to the curb of the condemned apartment building, her yellow taxi grinding gears and threatening to die. Though the sun hung bright overhead, the street was colorless, oppressive, with moldy, rotting houses and garbage festering in yards. Men loitered on the road up ahead in front of another boarded house. She shouldn’t have accepted this fare, but the customer had called her cell phone personally instead of going through the agency. She must be a repeat customer.
Holly tapped her horn and looked out her passenger window. The house showed no sign of life, but it wasn’t the wrong place. The girl had clearly said it was the green house on the corner of Burke and Darby. Holly checked her phone for the caller’s number and called her back.
It went straight to voice mail.
Holly sighed. Maybe this was a prank, some kid trying to yank her chain just to see if she’d come. She had done that enough herself as a kid. Back when she was still
party girl, she’d done things under the influence that had been even more
childish, like calling a guy fourteen times when she knew he was with his
girlfriend, just to create trouble in paradise. She and her friends would
giggle hysterically at the fight they imagined ensued, but the next day, as she
nursed the punishment of a hangover, she would hate herself for it. Panama City
Not ready to give up on this fare just yet, Holly honked the horn again. The men up the street turned to look at her. Getting nervous, she reached into the pocket of her door, but of course her pistol wasn’t there. It was against the law for a cabbie to carry a firearm inside the car while they were on duty. It was locked safely in her trunk.
She thought of bucking the law and getting it out, but that would call more attention to her. This was stupid. She was a mother now, and the last place she should be was in the slums, waiting for someone to blow her head off just for target practice.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
My web site is http://www.terriblackstock.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/tblackstockSubscribe to my Newsletter: http://www.terriblackstock.com/contact
Thank you, Terri, for sharing some of your life and this new book with me and my readers.
Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Twisted Innocence - Christianbook.com
Twisted Innocence (Moonlighters Series) - Amazon
Twisted Innocence (Moonlighters Series Book 3) - Kindle
The Moonlighters Collection: Truth Stained Lies, Distortion, Twisted Innocence (Moonlighters Series) - All three books in the series in one collection
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