Dear Readers, I am a long-time fan of Terri Blackstock suspense novels.
Welcome back, Terri. What are some of the spiritual themes you like to write about?
I like to write about suffering, because I believe that a lot of Christians are dealing with extreme trials. I want them to understand that there’s purpose in all of it, and that, while God doesn’t insulate us from suffering or solve every problem as we want Him to, He doesn’t abandon us as we endure it. Instead, He’s right there with us through it all, and what the enemy means for evil, God uses for good. He may not cause our suffering—sometimes that’s the work of others or of our own mistakes—but He uses all of it to grow us. Sometimes when we look back on our biggest crises, we can see that God turned them into blessings.
What other books of yours are coming out soon?
Right now I’m working on If I’m Found, the book that follows If I Run. In it, Casey, my fugitive, changes her identity again and runs to another town, where she encounters another adventure as she tries to stay hidden from those who are hunting her. Dylan, the investigator who’s closing in on her, realizes that someone wants to kill her, so he’s searching harder for her to keep her alive. He goes from being her nemesis to being her protector.
Sounds wonderful. If you could spend an evening with one contemporary person (not a family member of yours), who would it be and why?
Kay Arthur, because I’ve been a student of her Precept courses on different books of the Bible for many years. I would love to ask her some questions about passages in the Bible, then sit at her feet and listen as she unpacks them. I admire her wisdom and her love for God’s Word so much.
What historical person would you like to meet (besides Jesus) and why?
According to a genealogy study I did, it appears that I have three ancestors who came over on the Mayflower—Edward Fuller and his wife, and their twelve year old son Samuel Fuller (named after his uncle, Samuel Fuller, who was also on the Mayflower). I haven’t had it verified, so the connection to my family could be a mistake, but whether we were related or not, I’d love to have the chance to talk to Samuel about what his experiences were as a kid, having both of his parents die during the first winter they were on American soil, and how he went on to help build this new world. His father signed the Mayflower Compact that was the beginning of our democratic government, and I just think he’d have a world of wisdom to pass on to me.
How can you encourage authors who have been receiving only rejections from publishers?
I would tell them to listen carefully to the criticism they’re getting—view it as a gift that someone has given them—and make the changes they’re suggesting. Keep learning your craft. Join writers’ groups, read everything you can in your genre, go to conferences. Learning your craft the right way takes a long time and a lot of practice, so write, write, write. If you don’t love it, quit. The only reason to be a writer is because you love it.
Tell us about the featured book.
I wanted to feature a character who is an unbeliever, who has nowhere to turn when life crashes down around her. Casey Cox is one of my favorite characters in any of the books I’ve written because she’s complex and simple at the same time. When she’s accused of committing a heinous murder and knows her DNA is all over the crime scene, she decides to run. She leaves everyone she loves behind, because she believes deeply that if she’s caught, she won’t just go to prison. She’ll be murdered as well.
The private investigator contracted to find her and bring her back is Dylan, who’s been working in the Criminal Investigations Division of the Army, but because he’s a survivor of some IED explosions that killed several of his buddies, he has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Due to his condition, he’s been discharged from the Army, and he’s had trouble getting another job. The family of the murder victim hires him to find Casey, the fugitive they think killed their son. As experienced as he is at solving crimes, his personal problems sometimes get in the way. He reacts intensely to loud noises, has nightmares that keep him from wanting to sleep at night, is depressed, has survivor’s guilt, and deals with a number of other things. But I really like him because he doesn’t see himself as a victim. He’s a Christian who’s trying to overcome his problems through his faith, but sometimes they’re just bigger than his faith.
As Dylan learns more about Casey so he can get inside her head, he realizes they have something in common. They probably both have PTSD. He begins to see that Casey doesn’t really fit the profile of a killer. Is she a psychopathic killer, or another suffering victim?
Please give us the first page of the book.
From If I Run (Zondervan, 2016):
There’s blood on the bottom of my shoes. I rinse the soles, knowing the police will trace the impression of the rubber pattern and determine that they’re Skechers. They’ll find the charge for the shoe store on my credit card, proving they’re mine.
Blood runs down the drain. My heart races as though it’s my own draining away, but it’s not mine. My throat constricts as tears fill my eyes, but I push them away. There’s no time to feel.
When the shoes seem clean enough, I blot them on a towel and slip them into my bag.
They’ll see the traces of blood on the sink, in the footsteps at the door where I took the shoes off, on the towel. They’ll shine that Luminol stuff all through my apartment and add it to the evidence list against me. There’s no point in wasting time cleaning it up. I just have to get out of here.
I’m eager to get started reading my copy of the book. How can readers find you on the Internet?
My web site: http://www.terriblackstock.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/tblackstockIf I Run. Unraveling her past and the evidence that condemns her will take more time than Dylan has, the war-weary veteran hired to find Casey. But as Dylan’s damaged soul intersects with hers, he is faced with two choices. The girl who occupies his every thought is a psychopathic killer . . . or a selfless hero. And the truth could be the most deadly weapon yet.
Join Terri in celebrating her new book with a Fitbit giveaway and a special $4.99 digital pre-order deal!
One grand prize winner will receive:
the Litfuse blog.
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Thank you, Terri, for sharing this new book with us.
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