Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Terri Blackstock Confesses

Terri Blackstock written has over thirty Christian titles, many of which have been number one best-sellers and a total of 62 books with over 5.5 million books in print. Her book, True Light, reached number one on the Top 50 of all Christian books the first full month it was in stores. Night Light was the winner of the 2007 Retailer’s Choice Award for General Fiction. Both books are part of her popular Restoration Series which began with Last Light. Her latest book is Double Minds.


A few years ago, I had my office in a small building in my back yard. It was 12 x 12 and looked like a miniature version of my house, and it was quite comfortable. It worked because, at the time, I had three active children at home, and it was too distracting to work inside the house.

My husband had a small group of men who met once a week in my little office. It was a bit unnerving, because I was paranoid about anyone seeing early drafts of my work lying out on my desk—and with good reason. During that time, I was working on a book about a wife accused of poisoning her husband (Shadow of Doubt, from the Newpointe 911 Series). Imagine the teasing my husband endured when his friends saw those research books lying all over the room.

I was reminded of that this weekend when I decided to clean out my bookshelves, and I found those books still gathering dust. My office is no longer in that little building, so I’ve long since moved the books inside. But Poisons and Antidotes still occupies a space on my shelves. It was a difficult book to get. It was out of print when I tried to order it, and I finally bought a used copy. When it came to me, it had stains on it. I was always a little afraid to touch it without gloves. I don’t feel comfortable donating it to anyone, and I can’t stand to throw it away. Besides, I might need it again someday (for a book, of course—not my husband). Like any self-respecting suspense writer would, I’m keeping it.

My bookshelves are a paper trail of the subjects I’ve written about—things I may never need again. I have dozens of books on breast cancer, prodigal children, fire-fighting, decorating, Down’s Syndrome, spying and plane crashes. I have two copies of a book on architecture that I bought twice without realizing it, and I’ve yet to use either of them. There’s a whole shelf dedicated to Y2K. I bought those books used after the year 2000, which probably induced laughing fits in the sellers. But they were useful as I wrote my Restoration Series about a massive global power outage. For the four novels in that series, I also bought books on growing meat animals and putting food by. I can’t bear to part with these because someday our power grid might fail, and I’ll need them. Or I might have to live in a hovel in the woods, and need to review that information.

Okay, I did cull out some of my books, as well as some of the novels that have been sitting there for years without being read. I figure if I haven’t read them after five or ten years, I’m probably not going to get to them. I had to make room for the dozens of influencer copies of novels that come in the mail every day, teetering around my office in tall, dusty stacks. (And did I mention that I’m allergic to dust?)

I couldn’t part with any of my Bible commentaries, or the shelves of books about crime scene investigations, police procedures, forensics, homicide and paramedics.

And I chose not to give up the books on the music industry, which I used for writing Double Minds, about a singer/songwriter trying to make it in the music industry. Though that book is hitting the shelves right about now, I haven’t had enough distance from it to give up my research crutches just yet. Someone may question something I said, and I might have to look it up. Or I might want to write a song someday. Or I might know someone who does. You just never know.

And I’m still using the books about drug abuse and recovery, all research for my next book Intervention (out in September).

As I’m boxing up books to donate to my favorite ministry’s library, I’m already taking in new ones I’ve bought on subjects I might use in future books. So I’m not really clearing space, just swapping out dust catchers.

The thing is, I do most of my research now on the internet. And anything I need can be Googled in two minutes flat. I also have a Kindle, which allows me to download books directly to the device, so I can carry up to 200 books in my purse. But I still maintain a wall of bookshelves, full to overflowing. And I guess I always will.

I became a writer because I love books. I feel more secure knowing I’m surrounded by them. There’s something magical about the covers, the binding, the way the pages feel.

Even if those pages have poisonous stains on them.


The young girl with the Bohemian style was on the floor where she’d fallen, between Parker's computer case and her file cabinet. She wore a long, flowing skirt—lavender, the color of calm—and camel-colored Uggs. She lay on her back, her long, wavy blonde hair matted with blood.

For struggling singer/songwriter Parker James, the music business has just turned deadly. Her desk in the reception area of a busy recording studio has become a crime scene, and Parker finds herself drawn into a mystery where nothing is as it seems.

Unraveling the truth puts her own life at risk when she uncovers high-level industry corruption and is terrorized by a menacing stalker. As the danger escalates, Parker begins to question her dreams, her future, and even her faith.

Double Minds is a double treat—combining a compelling suspense novel with an inside look at the world of the Christian music industry in Nashville. Terri Blackstock grabs readers at page one and keeps them riveted until the final plot twist is untangled.


Nicole said...

Absolutely love the cover. (I'm a sucker for black.)

Sheila Deeth said...

I've been "tidying" my bookshelves recently - double layers, double height; pick the books whose spines will make another shelf; then find out which shoe-boxes will make extra shelves...
Love the cover. It's time I read some of your books.

Adamgv said...

Great Blog! Check out this new Christian band that just released their first album. From what I heard on the samples site, they sound really good.

Introducing the new Christian National Anthem: Guns & Jesus.

Debbie Gail Smith said...

Love all your books, Terri. You are an inspiration.
I know what you mean about needing to cull through your books. My husband and I have more books than bookshelf-space (and growing).