One of my favorite authors—and favorite people—is best selling author, Terri Blackstock. Terri’s books have sold 2 million and she has over thirty Christian titles, many of which have been number one best-sellers. I’m so excited that she agreed to let me interview her for iBegat.com. My personal favorite of Terri’s books is Double Minds (A MUST read! Of course, all of her books are).
I hope you enjoy!
-Kayla R. Woodhouse
1. When did God call you to be an author? (I love your story, so if you have time, I’d love to have your testimony.)
I’ve known since I was about twelve that I wanted to be a writer, but didn’t see it as a calling from God until much later. My first piece was published in my local newspaper when I was twelve, and I loved that feeling. I subscribed to Writer’s Digest and The Writer magazines, working hard to learn how to be a better writer. I majored in English in college and after I graduated, found a writers group and joined it. That’s when I began to learn the business of writing.
My first thirty-two books were published by secular publishers and I regret the things I wrote during that time. I was a Christian when I started writing romance novels and I intended to write only clean love stories. But in the interest of fame and fortune, I began making small compromises to sell more books. Those small compromises turned into big compromises, and eventually I was writing books I’m now ashamed of. All that time I was going to church and taking my kids to church, but I had this one part of my life that wasn’t lining up with my Christianity.
Eventually it took its toll on my life, and I finally came to the place where I got down on my knees and repented, because I desperately wanted to get back in fellowship with Christ, and I wanted to use my gift the way God intended. That’s when I started writing Christian novels. I loved reading suspense, so I decided to try writing Christian suspense. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to sell to Christian publishers because I felt tainted by my previous books. But thankfully we have a God who loves giving second chances (and third, and fourth, and fiftieth chances). During that time, the Christian publishers were just getting interested in finding suspense writers, so God’s timing was perfect. Since then, I’ve been able to write books that actually help people while they entertain and point people to Christ—the real answer to all their problems.
2. What is your favorite genre to read?
Suspense is definitely my favorite genre, which is why I write it. But I also like great books from other genres.
3. What is your favorite part/piece of a manuscript to write?
The end; but other than that, I like writing dialogue. That comes very easy to me. I love listening to people talk—the rhythm of their conversations, their inflections, their word choices. So it’s pretty simple for me to reproduce.
4. What is your favorite food?
Potatoes. I think I must have a lot of Irish in me. I like them cooked almost any way. I could have them with every meal.
5. Double Minds is my favorite book of yours. 🙂 What inspired you to write it?
It was inspired from my own experiences when writing for the secular and Christian markets and was feeling that pull early in my career to write for fame and fortune. It wasn’t until I was walking more closely with Christ that I realized that glorifying God was the reason he’d given me my gift. I made Parker a singer/songwriter rather than a novelist and was able to show the same type of struggle using the Christian music industry.
6. Where does your inspiration come from for your stories? For example; chocolate, watching a movie, reading a newspaper article, etc.
Usually it’s inspired from some lesson God has taught me that I want to pass on to my readers. Or, I’ve gone through a trial that I think my readers can relate to. For instance, my Intervention Series was inspired by real-life struggles with my daughter who dealt with drug addictions. My Restoration Series came from my struggles with American materialism and the belief that God was going to have to do something to get America’s attention.
But there are times when I’ll read an article in a magazine or see a documentary on TV that gives me an idea for a book. I guess, to a fertile imagination, anything can be a seed. Anything that comes to my attention is fodder for a book.
7. How much time do you take writing each manuscript?
Nine months for each book; so it’s kind of like having a baby. For the next couple of years I’ll have two books a year out, but one of those is a rewrite of a book that I originally published as a secular novel (my favorite of all my secular books), and the other is a collaboration with another writer, Dave Lambert.
8. Is there anything special you’d like to share with the readers/teens of iBegat.com?
I hope they’ll check out my Intervention series about drug abuse. I’m sure it’s not news that even Christian teens can fall prey to drugs. My daughter was raised in a Christian home and she was in church three or four times a week with her best friends in youth group. But when she went away to college and was going through a period of depression, she experimented with drugs. Before she knew it, she was in total bondage to them, and that bondage lasted several years. Intervention was inspired by that experience and features Emily whose mother sets up an intervention for her. On her way to drug rehab, her interventionist is murdered and Emily disappears. Her mother has to go looking for her, not sure whether she’s hiding or was kidnapped. Vicious Cycle, Book Two in that series (releasing February 22nd), continues the story of Emily’s family, but this time focuses on another girl who’s a crystal meth addict. Lance, Emily’s fifteen year old brother, tries to help this pregnant addict, and winds up getting into more trouble than he ever dreamed.
iBeGat.com readers may also like my book Predator, which has to do with an online predator who targets his teenaged victims through their social networking site. I want everyone who uses Facebook, Twitter, or any other social network to read this. They need to understand how predators find their victims and how easy we make it for them.
9. And last but not least, if you could say one thing – just one – to the world, what would you say?
I would tell them that there’s nothing they’ve ever done that’s too bad to be forgiven. Jesus loves them so much that he was willing to take on their punishment and because of that, they can be washed as clean as snow. All they have to do is confess their sins and turn away from them, and trust that what Christ did on the cross was enough to wash them clean. It’s the greatest, most important story ever told, and it’s absolutely true.
Thanks again, Kayla!
Thirteen-year-old Kayla Woodhouse’s zest for writing comes not only from her natural ability, but also from her love of the written word as witnessed by her voracious reading appetite. One of only a few dozen cases in the world, Kayla was born with HSAN, Hereditary Sensory Autonomic Neuropathy, an extremely rare nerve disorder. Unable to sweat, or feel pain, she’s also been through brain surgery. But even through a life of extreme hardships, her ever-present smile encourages others to pursue their dreams, no matter the obstacles. In addition to being homeschooled and writing with her mom, she’s an amazing swimmer, and spends up to thirty hours a week in training. She has appeared on ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, The Montel Williams Show, Mystery ER, and numerous other national programs. No Safe Haven, her first release from B&H Publishers in 2011, written with mother, Kimberley, makes her the youngest author to have a full-length novel published by a royalty paying publisher. You can find Kayla at http://kimberleyandkaylawoodhouse.com and http://kaylawoodhouse.com (read more…)