Blackstock’s Evidence of Mercy was my introduction
to Christian fiction some twenty years ago, and her writing today is
more powerful than ever! Known primarily for her suspense novels, Terri
writes of trials and tribulations common to many, and she uses these
extenuating circumstances to point others to the Savior. Her latest
novel, Intervention, deals with a very timely issue
in today’s society and reflects Terri’s very personal encounter with
the enemy called addiction. God is still using Terri’s gift of words to
reach lives through unforgettable and suspenseful tales, and she humbly
credits her career to His direction in her life.
You are active in
church ministry, assist your husband as he teaches Sunday school, teach
aspiring writers, minister to families facing a battle with
addiction—such a full life! Does fact feed fiction? If so, in what
Fact definitely feeds fiction. I
don’t think I could be reclusive and lock myself in the house and write
the books I write. Real life feeds my stories. I’m naturally very
curious about people’s lives and problems. So often, something someone
tells me will spark my imagination, and before I know it, I’ve got a
new story idea forming in my mind. I don’t betray people’s confidences
by writing about them, but just listening to them gets the wheels
turning in my mind.
My church friends are also a
great resource. Since I’m part of a large church body, I can always
find someone with expertise in the area I’m writing about. And ministry
definitely feeds it. I did prison ministry for a few years, and still
go to the jail with the ministry occasionally. Doing that has given me
several ideas for novels, but it also ignites a passion in me to write
books with messages that will reach people who are suffering.
I read an interview in
which you state, “Don’t get it right, get it written.” How difficult is
it to adhere to a disciplined writing schedule with so many demands on
I started writing novels back in
1982, after my first child was born. I disciplined myself to write
while she was napping. I had a goal of writing ten handwritten pages a
day, and before long, I had a novel. As my family grew, I wrote during
school hours. It was more challenging during the summer, but I managed
to get it done.
Now that my children are grown,
my time is more flexible. But after twenty-six years of writing
professionally, I know my rhythm and how long it takes for me to write
a book. Deadlines are great discipline. I know I can’t just goof off
and wait until the last minute. I have to write every day and
continually move forward, or I won’t meet that deadline. So I guard my
writing time very carefully and don’t schedule things that will
interrupt my work.
The “Don’t get it right, get it
written” advice is really for that first draft, which is so hard for
me. Before I was published, I used to rewrite the first three chapters
over and over, and I’d get burned out and lose interest in the book.
Once I took this advice, I was able to finish everything I started by
plowing through that first draft without looking back, without fixing
anything, without doing anything that would interrupt my momentum. In
the second draft I can slow down and get creative. Then I go through
about a dozen more drafts, until I have something that people will want
to read. It’s tempting sometimes just to turn in an early draft, but I
force myself to go deeper with each rewrite. Then, of course, my editor
will have ideas on how to make the book stronger, and I’ll dig back in
again. It’s very hard work and takes a lot of discipline, but it’s all
worth it when the book is on the shelves.
By the way, I get credit for
that “Don’t get it right, get it written” advice a lot, but I
originally heard it in a Michael Hauge workshop. He attributes it to a
screenwriter named Art Arthur, but it may not have been original to
him, either. Whoever said it first, it’s been one of those
break-through lines that have helped many writers grow.
has made its way to the New York Times Bestseller
list. It is also one of your most personal novels to date. Can you tell
us how you feel about this? Is this an answered prayer? A way to reach
others struggling with this same problem? What is your view of this
My novel Intervention
was inspired by my struggles with my daughter’s drug addictions. We had
an intervention very much like the one in the opening scenes of the
book. I hired an interventionist to come and convince her to go to
treatment, then I put her on a plane with this total stranger. As we
said our good-byes, I was overcome with fear at all the things that
could go wrong. That’s when I got the idea for Intervention.
In the book, Barbara, the mother, sends her daughter off with the
interventionist, but when they arrive at their destination, the
interventionist is murdered and the daughter vanishes. The police think
Emily committed the murder, but Barbara thinks she was kidnapped. She
and her fourteen-year-old son go searching for Emily, desperate to
rescue her before it’s too late. But the more they learn about her, the
more doubts creep in, and they wonder if she could have changed so much
that she’d actually commit murder.
never had a kidnapping or
murder, of course, but I did pour my real-life emotions into that
character. It was therapeutic
me, but I hope it also gave voice to
all those parents out there
who are struggling with prodigal children.
My daughter is doing much better now, and she’s closer to God than
she’s ever been. I’ve been changed, too, because I learned to pray as
before. The blessing of it all is that God is using our struggles
to help and comfort others who may think that they’re the only ones
dealing with this problem. It’s particularly difficult for Christian
parents, because we feel like we’re somehow letting God down if people
know that our lives aren’t perfect. But God doesn’t need us to be PR
agents for Him. He wants us to be honest about our struggles so we can
get help and prayer, and so we can be there to comfort others going
through the same things.
book’s success tells me that a lot of people are out there who needed
this story. I can’t tell you the number of people who came to my book
signings and told me that they were experiencing the same thing. But
really, it’s about God’s provision through great suffering of any kind,
and about the power of a mother’s love. And through Emily’s story, I
hope that young people will see the realities and fallout of drug
abuse, and never want to follow that path.
I do have mixed feelings about
promoting the book. At first I didn’t want to talk about our personal
struggles, but then my daughter encouraged me to, hoping I’d reach
hurting families. I have to admit that I still get a hitch in my gut
every time I read an article that talks about what we’ve been through.
But if people don’t know about it, they won’t read the book. And if
they don’t read it, then I opened that vein for nothing. If God can use
this awful era of our lives for good (and He always does), then it will
all be worth it.
I’ve read several
sources in which you state that you view conflict and difficult
circumstances as a way to show God’s ability to work in people’s lives
and how He uses trials to strengthen faith and change lives. You have
done this effectively in both suspense and contemporary stories. Why do
you feel this is important?
I think this is important
because so many people are struggling with major trials. Jesus said,
“In this life, you will have trouble.” I want people to know that
sometimes the crisis can be the blessing. It’s an opportunity to grow
and change and get closer to Christ. Until I suffered, I didn’t really
know how to pray, and I thought I had God all figured out. I’m a
different person because of the trials God has allowed in my life. So I
show that in the lives of my characters, and my goal is to show my
readers that there’s hope and purpose, even in the worst of life’s
came out, I took the opportunity to post a page on my Web site called
“Hope for Families of Addicts,” and it gives tips for choosing rehabs,
for coping with a loved one who has addictions, and for stopping your
enabling behavior so the addict can finally progress in recovery. I
also offer a list of other books that were helpful to me through this.
I felt like the book gave me a forum to help others, and I didn’t want
to waste the things I’ve learned. So if readers want to look at that,
they can go to www.terriblackstock.com and click on “Hope For Families
of Addicts” under the column that promotes Intervention.
What exciting things is
God doing in your life right now?
I’m currently proofreading
galleys for my next book, Predator, which will be
out in May. It’s a book about online predators, and I hope it will wake
readers up to the dangers of sharing too many details of their lives in
online communities. As I did the research for this book, I scared
myself to death. It’s frightening to see how much people post for
anyone to see, and how many murders and disappearances are related to
Having that book almost ready
for print is pretty exciting. It’s such a huge relief when I get to
that point. Meanwhile, I’m working on my second book in my Intervention
series, and slogging through a first draft.
Closing words of
encouragement you’d like to share with your readers?
I truly believe that God
tailor-makes unique trials and tribulations for us in order to prepare
us for some specific work. So, in that way, even our worst, most
sorrowful trials can ultimately be blessings. That’s how Romans 8:28
works when it seems like it can’t. And 2 Corinthians 1:3–4 says,
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of
mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction
so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with
the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (NASB).
So if it feels like you’re
suffering more than others, or that God is being particularly hard on
you, just be patient. It may be that he has some important work ahead
for you, and this is exactly what you need to endure in preparation for
that. Someday, when we’re in heaven, it’ll all be clear to us.
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