Terri Blackstock Interview

Q: Let me start with asking you to tell us a little bit about who Terri Blackstock is.

A. I was raised in the Air Force, and lived in nine states and a foreign country before I was twelve. The longest place I ever lived until that point was The Netherlands, where I attended first through part of the fourth grades. Because I was the perpetual “new kid,” my imagination became my closest friend. Yes, they do hospitalize people for that, unless they become writers. Then their neurosis becomes a career, and people applaud them.

Q: You have sold over two million Christian books, but haven’t always written Christian fiction. Could you share with us your decision to glorify God in your writing?

For the first thirteen years of my career (thirty-two books), I wrote under two other names in the secular romance market, for publishers such as Harper-Collins, Harlequin, and Silhouette. I went into that market as a Christian, planning to only write clean love stories. But in the interest of fame and fortune, I began to compromise. Eventually my books were filled with profanity and graphic sex. I often felt God calling me out of that, but I kept writing it until I was absolutely miserable. Finally one day I realized that I was useless as a Christian, because my witness was tainted. I began to want to please God more than I wanted to get rich and famous. One day I got down on my knees and repented, and told God I wouldn’t write anything else that didn’t glorify Him. I decided then that I wanted to make a clean break from writing romance, and write what I loved to read-suspense. But I feared that the Christian publishers would reject me because of my past. That wasn’t what happened. Instead, I quickly sold four books to Zondervan, and my Christian writing career was underway.

Q: Would you tell us about your current book release, Double Minds?

A. Double Minds is about a singer/songwriter named Parker James, who’s struggling to fulfill her dreams in the Christian music industry. She works as a receptionist at a recording studio. When a girl who’s filling in for her is murdered, Parker realizes she may have been the intended target. As her brother, the cop, tries to solve the murder, Parker gets her big break. She’s given the opportunity to go on tour with her famous friend, Serene Stevens. But as her dreams come within reach, everything comes against her. Industry corruption threatens to end her career, and a killer threatens to end her life.

Q: Double Minds is a terrific book with strong spiritual messages. If your readers could take away only one message from Double Minds, what would that be?

A. I think it would be that we need to guard ourselves against hero-worship, because we don’t know what goes on behind the scenes. If we put people on pedestals and they fall, our faith can be shaken. Celebrity Christians who fall from grace have done a lot of harm to Christianity. If we don’t idolize people, then we can more easily accept that they’re humans with a sin nature. I think the book also emphasizes the idea that we should be true to our calling, whether it’s in a Christian or secular arena. Pleasing the world rather than men will always leave us empty. I know that firsthand.

Q: Double Minds is about Parker James, a songwriter in Nashville, living in a culture that does not always live up to high moral standards. Even though Parker is in a Christian music industry, which should be immune from many of these pitfalls, you show us that not all Christian publishing is done for the right reason. Why did you choose to go that route?

A.Probably because, being in a high-profile Christian industry myself, I often see people going into Christian music or Christian publishing as a stepping-stone to something they consider much bigger. They’re not here because they’re passionate about Christ, but because they can climb to fame easier, being a big fish in a smaller pond. At some point they try to make the jump into what they consider the big leagues, and spend the rest of their career trying to shake off the Christian image. I’m not saying that Christians have no place in secular arenas. Not at all. God calls many Christian artists into those markets, and uses them mightily. But I wish all Christian celebrities were really passionate about Christ.

Q: You write a songwriter so realistically. Do you have any experience in the field or did you base it on research?

A. I’ve spent a lot of time in Nashville, since one of my children attended college at Belmont University in their Music Business program, and worked in the music industry for a while. I talked to a lot of people and immersed myself in research about every facet of the recording industry. I also operated under the assumption that a songwriter has the same drive to write that I have in writing my novels. Parker James is driven to write songs that move people into a closer walk with God, just as I am.

Q: Parker James is a sweet young woman, who rarely puts herself first. She gives to others and some would say lets others especially her best friend Serene take advantage of her. How did you decide to portray Parker this way?

A. Parker has been walking around in my head for years. I wanted her to be a bit quirky and not so successful, but she’s very devoted to her craft and is willing to do hard things to make her dreams come true. She has to work as a receptionist in a recording studio so she can get free studio time, and she longs to be known for her singing, though her real talent is in writing. When her big break comes, it’s not the way she imagined it. She has to go on tour without a record contract, and pay for everything herself. And that’s how my own career has been. Just when I reach one of my goals, God usually hands it to me with a dose of humility. I’ll never forget the year I had a thirty-foot banner with my name on it up at the entrance of the International Christian Retail Show, and it was spelled wrong. Another time a magazine did their cover article on my family and me, but that month they decided not to put people on the cover. I always have to smile, knowing that God loves me and doesn’t want me to get all puffed up with pride. That’s kind of how life is for Parker, too.

Q: Parker struggles between wanting fame as a singer and embracing writing words that are meant solely to glorify God. As we talked about earlier, you changed from writing for the secular world to glorifying God in your writing. Did this change in your own life impact how you portrayed Parker?

A. Absolutely. I was drawing from my own life as I wrote about Parker. Some of the conversations she had about this came directly from conversations I’d had. All of the struggles she had over that issue were struggles I had, as well, as I tried to figure out what God really wanted me to do with the gift He’d given me.

Q: You have published so many books, what inspires you to write another one?

A. I just never seem to run out of ideas. That’s the biggest part of the gift God’s given me. I get ideas in everything. I can be experiencing some of the greatest crises in life, and one part of my brain is recording what I’m feeling, and asking What If questions. Those questions almost always lead me to plots I’m burning to write.

Q: Over the years, how have you seen Christian suspense changing?

A: When I came into the market, there really wasn’t much suspense, if any. Most Christian novels were historicals or prairie romances, with a few contemporaries. I wanted to write suspense, but people warned me there really wasn’t a market for it. But I knew that if they published it, people would read it. It just so happened that I came into the market at a time when Christian publishers were trying to expand their fiction programs, so they gave me a shot. Since that time, the market for Christian suspense has exploded, and there are dozens and dozens of wonderful writers. The whole Christian fiction market has broadened, as well, and now almost every genre represented in the secular market is available in the Christian stores, including sci-fi and fantasy.

Q: Would you share with us what you are working on now?

A. I’m working on a book called INTERVENTION, which will be out in September. It’s about a mother on the hunt for her missing, drug-addicted daughter, who’s being accused of murder. That’s all I want to say about it right now, but I’ll be giving more information closer to the book’s release.

Q. As a published author, what do you see as the greatest obstacle to becoming published today?

A. Good writing. New writers often think they can learn the “rules” and quickly knock out a proposal, but they haven’t read much, and they haven’t written enough to learn the craft. Writers who write for the love of it, and who don’t mind laboring for years to sharpen their skills, will usually find a market.

Q: What is the best book you read in 2008 and why?

A. In 2008, I read a lot of Dean Koontz. I think Odd Thomas was probably my favorite. I love how ordinary and quirky his characters are, and how heroic they turn out to be when confronted with evil.

Q: What is something your readers might be surprised to learn about you?

A. That I’m a terrible housekeeper. I’m too distracted by the imaginary worlds I’m creating to worry about domestic chores. And I don’t cook … at all. Fortunately, my husband keeps us fed.

Q: Anything else you’d like to tell or share with us?

A. I’d like to invite them to go to my web site at www.terriblackstock.com, or my FaceBook site at http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=655045822&ref=profile to see my book trailer for Double Minds. It’ll give them a preview of what they’re in for.

Terri Blackstock interview with Susan Sleeman
Terri Blackstock Q: Let me start with asking you to tell us a little bit about who Terri Blackstock is.

A. I was raised in the Air Force, and lived in nine states and a foreign country before I was twelve. The longest place I ever lived until that point was The Netherlands, where I attended first through part of the fourth grades. Because I was the perpetual “new kid,” my imagination became my closest friend. Yes, they do hospitalize people for that, unless they become writers. Then their neurosis becomes a career, and people applaud them.

Q: You have sold over two million Christian books, but haven’t always written Christian fiction. Could you share with us your decision to glorify God in your writing?

For the first thirteen years of my career (thirty-two books), I wrote under two other names in the secular romance market, for publishers such as Harper-Collins, Harlequin, and Silhouette. I went into that market as a Christian, planning to only write clean love stories. But in the interest of fame and fortune, I began to compromise. Eventually my books were filled with profanity and graphic sex. I often felt God calling me out of that, but I kept writing it until I was absolutely miserable. Finally one day I realized that I was useless as a Christian, because my witness was tainted. I began to want to please God more than I wanted to get rich and famous. One day I got down on my knees and repented, and told God I wouldn’t write anything else that didn’t glorify Him. I decided then that I wanted to make a clean break from writing romance, and write what I loved to read-suspense. But I feared that the Christian publishers would reject me because of my past. That wasn’t what happened. Instead, I quickly sold four books to Zondervan, and my Christian writing career was underway.

Q: Would you tell us about your current book release, Double Minds?

A. Double Minds is about a singer/songwriter named Parker James, who’s struggling to fulfill her dreams in the Christian music industry. She works as a receptionist at a recording studio. When a girl who’s filling in for her is murdered, Parker realizes she may have been the intended target. As her brother, the cop, tries to solve the murder, Parker gets her big break. She’s given the opportunity to go on tour with her famous friend, Serene Stevens. But as her dreams come within reach, everything comes against her. Industry corruption threatens to end her career, and a killer threatens to end her life.

Q: Double Minds is a terrific book with strong spiritual messages. If your readers could take away only one message from Double Minds, what would that be?

A. I think it would be that we need to guard ourselves against hero-worship, because we don’t know what goes on behind the scenes. If we put people on pedestals and they fall, our faith can be shaken. Celebrity Christians who fall from grace have done a lot of harm to Christianity. If we don’t idolize people, then we can more easily accept that they’re humans with a sin nature. I think the book also emphasizes the idea that we should be true to our calling, whether it’s in a Christian or secular arena. Pleasing the world rather than men will always leave us empty. I know that firsthand.

Q: Double Minds is about Parker James, a songwriter in Nashville, living in a culture that does not always live up to high moral standards. Even though Parker is in a Christian music industry, which should be immune from many of these pitfalls, you show us that not all Christian publishing is done for the right reason. Why did you choose to go that route?

A.Probably because, being in a high-profile Christian industry myself, I often see people going into Christian music or Christian publishing as a stepping-stone to something they consider much bigger. They’re not here because they’re passionate about Christ, but because they can climb to fame easier, being a big fish in a smaller pond. At some point they try to make the jump into what they consider the big leagues, and spend the rest of their career trying to shake off the Christian image. I’m not saying that Christians have no place in secular arenas. Not at all. God calls many Christian artists into those markets, and uses them mightily. But I wish all Christian celebrities were really passionate about Christ.

Q: You write a songwriter so realistically. Do you have any experience in the field or did you base it on research?

A. I’ve spent a lot of time in Nashville, since one of my children attended college at Belmont University in their Music Business program, and worked in the music industry for a while. I talked to a lot of people and immersed myself in research about every facet of the recording industry. I also operated under the assumption that a songwriter has the same drive to write that I have in writing my novels. Parker James is driven to write songs that move people into a closer walk with God, just as I am.

Q: Parker James is a sweet young woman, who rarely puts herself first. She gives to others and some would say lets others especially her best friend Serene take advantage of her. How did you decide to portray Parker this way?

A. Parker has been walking around in my head for years. I wanted her to be a bit quirky and not so successful, but she’s very devoted to her craft and is willing to do hard things to make her dreams come true. She has to work as a receptionist in a recording studio so she can get free studio time, and she longs to be known for her singing, though her real talent is in writing. When her big break comes, it’s not the way she imagined it. She has to go on tour without a record contract, and pay for everything herself. And that’s how my own career has been. Just when I reach one of my goals, God usually hands it to me with a dose of humility. I’ll never forget the year I had a thirty-foot banner with my name on it up at the entrance of the International Christian Retail Show, and it was spelled wrong. Another time a magazine did their cover article on my family and me, but that month they decided not to put people on the cover. I always have to smile, knowing that God loves me and doesn’t want me to get all puffed up with pride. That’s kind of how life is for Parker, too.

Q: Parker struggles between wanting fame as a singer and embracing writing words that are meant solely to glorify God. As we talked about earlier, you changed from writing for the secular world to glorifying God in your writing. Did this change in your own life impact how you portrayed Parker?

A. Absolutely. I was drawing from my own life as I wrote about Parker. Some of the conversations she had about this came directly from conversations I’d had. All of the struggles she had over that issue were struggles I had, as well, as I tried to figure out what God really wanted me to do with the gift He’d given me.

Q: You have published so many books, what inspires you to write another one?

A. I just never seem to run out of ideas. That’s the biggest part of the gift God’s given me. I get ideas in everything. I can be experiencing some of the greatest crises in life, and one part of my brain is recording what I’m feeling, and asking What If questions. Those questions almost always lead me to plots I’m burning to write.

Q: Over the years, how have you seen Christian suspense changing?

A: When I came into the market, there really wasn’t much suspense, if any. Most Christian novels were historicals or prairie romances, with a few contemporaries. I wanted to write suspense, but people warned me there really wasn’t a market for it. But I knew that if they published it, people would read it. It just so happened that I came into the market at a time when Christian publishers were trying to expand their fiction programs, so they gave me a shot. Since that time, the market for Christian suspense has exploded, and there are dozens and dozens of wonderful writers. The whole Christian fiction market has broadened, as well, and now almost every genre represented in the secular market is available in the Christian stores, including sci-fi and fantasy.

Q: Would you share with us what you are working on now?

A. I’m working on a book called INTERVENTION, which will be out in September. It’s about a mother on the hunt for her missing, drug-addicted daughter, who’s being accused of murder. That’s all I want to say about it right now, but I’ll be giving more information closer to the book’s release.

Q. As a published author, what do you see as the greatest obstacle to becoming published today?

A. Good writing. New writers often think they can learn the “rules” and quickly knock out a proposal, but they haven’t read much, and they haven’t written enough to learn the craft. Writers who write for the love of it, and who don’t mind laboring for years to sharpen their skills, will usually find a market.

Q: What is the best book you read in 2008 and why?

A. In 2008, I read a lot of Dean Koontz. I think Odd Thomas was probably my favorite. I love how ordinary and quirky his characters are, and how heroic they turn out to be when confronted with evil.

Q: What is something your readers might be surprised to learn about you?

A. That I’m a terrible housekeeper. I’m too distracted by the imaginary worlds I’m creating to worry about domestic chores. And I don’t cook … at all. Fortunately, my husband keeps us fed.

Q: Anything else you’d like to tell or share with us?

A. I’d like to invite them to go to my web site at www.terriblackstock.com, or my FaceBook site at http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=655045822&ref=profile to see my book trailer for Double Minds. It’ll give them a preview of what they’re in for.

January 23, 2009
Interviewer Info

Susan Sleeman


Susan Sleeman

SUSAN SLEEMAN is a best-selling author of inspirational and clean read romantic suspense books. Her first book, High-Stakes Inheritance was an ECPA bestseller. Award nominations include The Christmas Witness for the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence and Thread of Suspicion for the 2013 Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Best Book Award.

In addition to writing, Susan also hosts the popular website TheSuspenseZone.com. She currently lives in Oregon, but has lived in nine states. Her husband is a realtor and they have two daughters, a son-in-law, and an adorable grandson.


To learn more about Susan visit her at her at her– Website

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About Terri Blackstock

Terri Blackstock About Terri Blackstock*

*Bestselling Author of Double Mind*

Terri Blackstock’s books have sold *six million copies* worldwide. Her
suspense novels often debut at number one on Christian fiction
best-seller lists, and her most recent book, True Light, was number
one of all Christian books?fiction and non-fiction. Known for her “Up
All Night Fiction,” Blackstock has had twenty-five years of success as a
novelist.

In 1994, Blackstock was writing for publishers such as HarperCollins,
Harlequin, and Silhouette, when a spiritual awakening drew her into the
Christian market. Since that time, she’s written over thirty Christian
titles. Her most recent books are the four in her acclaimed Restoration
series, which includes Last Light, Night Light, True Light and
Dawn’s Light (releasing in May). She is also known for her popular
Newpointe 911 and Cape Refuge series.

In addition to her suspense novels, she has written a number of novels
in the women’s fiction genre, including Covenant Child, which was
chosen as one of the first Women of Faith novels, and her “Seasons”
books written with Beverly LaHaye, wife of Tim LaHaye.

Blackstock has appeared on national television programs such as The 700
Club, Home Life, and At Home Live with Chuck and Jenny. She has
been a guest on numerous radio programs across the country and the
subject of countless articles. The story of her personal journey appears
in books such as Touched by the Savior by Mike Yorkey, True Stories
of Answered Prayer by Mike Nappa, Faces of Faith by John Hanna, and
I Saw Him in Your Eyes by Ace Collins.

Books by Terri Blackstock
 
Distortion (Moonlighters Series)
Paperback
Release date: 03/11/2014


List Price: $15.99
Sale Price: $7.73


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Distortion (Moonlighters Series)
Kindle Edition
Release date: 03/11/2014


List Price:


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Night Light (A Restoration Novel)
Paperback
Release date: 09/03/2013


List Price: $14.99
Sale Price: $6.84


Buy from Amazon.com

 
Dawn’s Light (A Restoration Novel)
Paperback
Release date: 09/03/2013


List Price: $14.99
Sale Price: $6.81


Buy from Amazon.com

True Light (A Restoration Novel)
Paperback
Release date: 09/03/2013


List Price: $14.99
Sale Price: $6.89


Buy from Amazon.com

Last Light (A Restoration Novel)
Paperback
Release date: 09/03/2013


List Price: $14.99
Sale Price: $7.49


Buy from Amazon.com

 
Truth Stained Lies (Moonlighters Series)
Hardcover
Release date: 03/12/2013


List Price: $19.99
Sale Price: $10.57


Buy from Amazon.com

Truth Stained Lies (Moonlighters Series)
Kindle Edition
Release date: 03/12/2013


List Price:


Buy from Amazon.com

Truth Stained Lies (Moonlighters Series)
Paperback
Release date: 03/12/2013


List Price: $14.99
Sale Price: $3.00


Buy from Amazon.com

 
Downfall (An Intervention Novel)
Kindle Edition
Release date: 03/11/2012


List Price:


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Downfall (Intervention, Book 3)
Hardcover
Release date: 02/22/2012


List Price: $19.99
Sale Price: $9.93


Buy from Amazon.com

Downfall (An Intervention Novel)
Paperback
Release date: 02/22/2012


List Price: $14.99
Sale Price: $2.95


Buy from Amazon.com

 
Shadow in Serenity
Kindle Edition
Release date: 10/11/2011


List Price:


Buy from Amazon.com

Shadow in Serenity
Paperback
Release date: 09/25/2011


List Price: $14.99
Sale Price: $1.80


Buy from Amazon.com

Vicious Cycle: An Intervention Novel
Kindle Edition
Release date: 03/08/2011


List Price:


Buy from Amazon.com

 
Vicious Cycle (Intervention, Book 2)
Paperback
Release date: 02/15/2011


List Price: $14.99
Sale Price: $3.09


Buy from Amazon.com

Predator
Paperback
Release date: 05/24/2010


List Price: $14.99
Sale Price: $2.49


Buy from Amazon.com

Intervention (Intervention Series, Book 1)
Paperback
Release date: 09/20/2009


List Price: $14.99
Sale Price: $1.50


Buy from Amazon.com

 
Double Minds: A Novel
Paperback
Release date: 02/03/2009


List Price: $14.99
Sale Price: $0.67


Buy from Amazon.com

Dawn’s Light (Restoration Series #4)
Paperback
Release date: 04/22/2008


List Price: $14.99
Sale Price: $2.24


Buy from Amazon.com

True Light (Restoration Series #3)
Paperback
Release date: 07/03/2007


List Price: $14.99
Sale Price: $1.69


Buy from Amazon.com

 
Night Light (Restoration Series #2)
Paperback
Release date: 07/04/2006


List Price: $14.99
Sale Price: $1.92


Buy from Amazon.com

Last Light (Restoration Series #1)
Paperback
Release date: 09/20/2005


List Price: $14.99
Sale Price: $2.93


Buy from Amazon.com

Breaker’s Reef (Cape Refuge, No. 4)
Paperback
Release date: 03/01/2005


List Price: $12.99
Sale Price: $2.28


Buy from Amazon.com

 
River’s Edge (Cape Refuge, No. 3)
Paperback
Release date: 08/29/2004


List Price: $14.99
Sale Price: $3.48


Buy from Amazon.com

Line of Duty (Newpointe 911 Series #5)
Paperback
Release date: 10/08/2003


List Price: $12.99
Sale Price: $1.95


Buy from Amazon.com

Southern Storm (Cape Refuge, No. 2)
Paperback
Release date: 05/01/2003


List Price: $14.99
Sale Price: $1.50


Buy from Amazon.com

 
Cape Refuge (Cape Refuge, No. 1)
Paperback
Release date: 04/01/2002


List Price: $14.99
Sale Price: $2.99


Buy from Amazon.com

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