Blackstock shares a difficult part of her spiritual and personal
journey through story. Vicious Cycle is the second
novel in her award-winning Intervention series, and explores some of
the darkest parts of human depravity. Yet Terri offers a message of
hope and redemption that rings with the powerful truth of God’s mercy
and human trafficking make for an intense story line! Where was this
inspiration for Vicious Cycle born? What research
was required to write this story?
The idea for the Intervention
series came from my experiences with my daughter’s drug addictions. I
never wanted to go on this journey in my own family, but in doing so, I
learned much and was exposed to all different types of people. Some of
them were crystal meth addicts who were in treatment with my daughter,
they were children of my friends, or they were people I met through
prison ministry. I learned how cheap and easy crystal meth is to
manufacture, and how many middle-class kids are turning to it.
My daughter was never on meth,
thankfully, but as I learned more about it, I wanted to raise awareness
about its horrible effects. It seems like a scheme by Satan to derail
the lives of people God loves. Who in their right mind would ingest or
inhale or shoot up the toxic ingredients used in rat poison and blood
thinners, and think that it makes their lives better? Who could look in
the mirror and see their teeth rotting or sores on their faces from the
ingested poison, yet still spend all their time, money, and energy
trying to get the next high? The idea that their bodies need it or that
it’s worth the harm it’s doing is a lie straight out of hell. Can you
tell I’m passionate about this?
I wrote about Jordan, a
fifteen-year-old girl who’s caught up in meth addiction because her
mother and brother are also meth addicts. When she gets pregnant, her
mother sees the baby as currency. She agrees to sell the baby to
traffickers in exchange for drug money. (Because they can’t think
clearly, mothers on drugs often abandon, neglect, or harm their
children. Meth is a powerful drug to override the intense bond between
a mother and her baby.) But Jordan has been trying to get sober, so
attempting to rescue her baby from her mother, she puts her baby in
Lance’s car, hoping that he will get her out of the chaos. Lance tries,
but gets arrested for kidnapping. (I think readers who liked Lance in
the first book will enjoy seeing what he goes through in this one.)
I hope that the picture I’ve
painted of the horrors of crystal meth abuse will keep anyone from
trying it. If I can divert one kid from experimenting with it, all the
work on that book will be worth it.
back surgery in 2010. In fact, you wrote a lot of Vicious Cycle lying
on your back! What challenges did that present? Did that change your
style at all?
It didn’t change my style at
all. I often write in that position because my back problems make
sitting for long periods of time difficult. I love my job, so I do
whatever I have to do to keep writing.
the winner of the 2010 Carol Awards. How has this impacted your life?
I don’t write for awards, but
it’s nice when a book is honored. It tells me that others appreciate
and notice my hard work. It was especially moving to win it for that
book, because it was the most personal book I’ve written. I’ve been
nominated for many awards, and I usually don’t win. My husband and I
joke that I’m the Susan Lucci of Christian fiction. So when they called
my name, I was pretty surprised.
I don’t think it’s changed my
writing at all, because there isn’t any formula for producing an
award-winning book. Who knows if the next book will appeal to judges?
My main goal is to write what impacts the lives of my readers. God
gives me affirmation in all sorts of ways, and it’s always exactly what
What is the
most meaningful thing God has done in your life since you began the
When I began doing book signings
for the first book, Intervention, they were like
counseling sessions. Almost everyone who came had an addict in their
lives, and they opened up to me and shared their experiences. And I
loved it when people who had drug problems came and told me how they
felt the book represented their challenges and struggles. They’re
heroes, these people who choose to do the hard, hard work of overcoming
their addictions. Few of us understand just how hard that is.
I got a letter recently from a
mother who told me that her daughter, who was an addict, had picked up Intervention.
It had led her to Christ, and she’d ultimately gotten sober. A few days
later, the daughter wrote me (I don’t think she realized that her
mother had written). Stories like that remind me that God allowed my
family to experience drug addiction for a reason, and that many people
are being helped because of it.
teamed up with a long-time editor David Lambert for a joint project.
Tell us a little about that, and how it differs from anything you have
done thus far.
Dave has been my editor on most
of my books since I came into the Christian market, and I think he’s by
far one of the best editors in the business. Dave is also a writer, so
when he proposed writing a book with me, it seemed like a really good
fit. We took a day to brainstorm together, and came up with a plot that
we’re very excited about. Zondervan bought the book; it’s going to come
out sometime in 2012.
you have successfully cowritten other books (the Seasons series with
Beverly LaHaye), what challenges are unique to this kind of writing? As
a writer with many novels in print, how are you able to keep this
My collaboration with Beverly
LaHaye was different because Beverly wasn’t a fiction writer. We
plotted the books together, and we used some experiences from her life,
but I did the writing. The collaboration with Dave is different, since
we’re both writing.
The main challenges
have to do
with our schedules, since we have other projects we’re working on. And
it’s kind of challenging when I have a vision in my head of what the
character looks like or how a scene will play out, and he has a totally
different one. But so far we’ve meshed our styles and visions well. I
think the readers are going to love what we’re doing.
In addition to
this joint project, you have recently signed a contract with more books
for Zondervan. Of these projects, which are you most excited about?
I’m really excited about Shadow
in Serenity, coming out next fall (2012). I originally wrote
this story about fifteen years ago for the secular market
(HarperCollins), and it was my favorite of all my secular novels. I had
to get the rights back to it so I could give it a second life. It’s
about a charming con artist who comes to the little fictitious town of
Serenity, Texas, to fleece the townspeople into investing in an
amusement park, which he has no intentions of building. But he
encounters Carny Sullivan, a transplant in the town who was raised in
carnivals. Her parents were con artists, so she knows one when she sees
one. She’s determined to protect the town from him. But protecting her
heart is another matter. It’s kind of a modern-day Music Man,
with a villain that you can’t help liking. I hope my readers will have
as much fun reading it as I had writing it.
At the moment I’m working on
Book 3 of the Intervention series, which should release in February
2012. It will continue the story of Barbara, Emily and Lance Covington,
and will introduce some new characters. It spins off Hitchcock’s movie Strangers
on a Train. Two men in a drug rehab make a pact to kill each
other’s wives after viewing that movie. I can’t tell you much else
without giving away the plot.
encouragement would you like to share with your fans? Folks pursuing
progress in their own writing efforts?
To my readers, I want to say
thank you for continuing to read my books and passing them on to
others. Sometimes through fiction we can reach people who would never
darken the doors of a church. All of my books have a strong message of
Christ’s redemption and provision, and I’m constantly amazed how the
Holy Spirit uses them in the lives of my readers.
To writers, I would encourage
you to keep striving to better your craft. Today there are lots of
shortcuts to publication. People can pay to have their books published,
so they often skip the steps that would help them hone their craft. If
just having their names on a published book is all they want, I guess
it’s fine to skip those steps. But if they want longevity in this
business and make a living doing it, they need strong editorial input
and criticism from people who can help them become excellent writers.
Visit Terri's website at: http://www.terriblackstock.com/
Ford has been a resident of
Alabama for more than ten years. Originally from Georgia, she holds a
Bachelor’s degree in English from Brenau Women’s College. She has spent
the past 9 years in sales and marketing and has been an avid reader of
Christian Fiction for more than 20 years.
A mother of two teen sons and married to a technical writer and Army
veteran, Kim’s life is full and blessed. She and her husband also
volunteer as teachers for a resident rehab program for women with
life-controlling issues. She uses her fiction to encourage the ladies
she teaches. She blogs at: Window
To My World