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Novelist Uses New Book to Highlight PTSD

Terri Blackstock discusses her 30-year career and her latest Christian thriller, If I'm Found, which showcases how Post Traumatic Stress Disorder affects her main characters for different reasons. Read Transcript

When Terri Blackstock was just 11-years-old,

she wrote a poem that was published in the local


From that point on, she knew she wanted to be a writer.

Well, since then, Terri's unique brand of up all night fiction

has kept millions of readers in suspense

and given them hope along the way.

NARRATOR: Terri Blackstock's career took off

after her first romance novel.

When writing for the secular market

took a toll on her spiritual life,

she began writing suspense novels

for a Christian audience.

Today, she's a "New York Times" best selling author

with over seven million copies sold worldwide.

In her latest thriller, "If I'm Found,"

Terri keeps readers on the edge of their seats

as female fugitive, Casey Cox, is on the run,

fleeing prosecution from a murder she didn't commit.

Terri Blackstock is here with us now.

Welcome back, it's good to have you with us.

Thank you, Terry, it's great to be here.

It was mentioned in that piece that you started out

doing romance novels, and then took

a turn to suspense, which is a very different kind of writing.

What was that journey for you?

Well, I was a Christian when I went into that market.

And I had gotten involved with a group of writers

who were breaking into romance, and it

seemed like a great place to break into the market.

And so I did 32 of those.

I did that for 13 years.

But, I-- you know, I compromised,

and began adding things that I never intended

to do in the first place.

And eventually it took its toll on my spiritual life.

So talk a little bit about this particular book.

The latest is "If I'm Found."

And you had me hooked last night.

I was up till the wee hours reading.

Tell us about this story.

Well, this is from the "If I Run" series.

The first book is "If I Run," and it's

about a female fugitive named Casey, who is--

she's accused of murdering her best friend.

And instead of calling the police when she found his body,

she ran.

Did all the wrong things.

And she's an unbeliever.

And I'm trying to show Christianity

from the eyes of an unbeliever.

And there is a Christian in the book, who is--

he's the one hunting her.

He's the Tommy Lee Jones character.

And-- but he's a Christian.

A wounded Christian.

This is the second in a trilogy.

There's one coming out soon, "If I Live," right?

So when you have a three part series like that,

is it all in your head before you begin number one?

Or do you know it's going to be a trilogy?

I pretty much--

well, I did know this was going to be a trilogy.

And I pretty much know how the arc, the story arc

is going to go for the whole series.

But I have to figure each book out.

And I do want each book to stand on its own.

So someone could come in and read this book

without haivng done book number one.


And they would still get all the information they need.

And of course it's not a cliffhanger,

it's a satisfying ending that takes you to the next book.

It's more holding you in suspense

as the answers are unraveled.

You say that Casey Cox is one of your favorite characters

that you've created.


Well, she's very whimsical and she loves people,

but she's in this predicament where she has to hide.

So she goes to a new community in each book,

and she's hiding out.

And she's just drawn to people.

And I like to put her with Christians, because then she

sees new facets of Christianity that she

hadn't considered before.

She and the man chasing her-- chasing to find her

in the book, not in a bad way, but really seeking to help

unravel this mystery in her life,

both have something in common.


What is that?

PTSD, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

He was an-- he was an army veteran, and he has come back

and he's now working as a private investigator

to find her.

But he suffers from a serious form of it,

and he just can't overcome it.

And he begins to realize that she has it, too,

because she had some incidents in her past

that were very traumatic.

And so that's how they begin to relate to each other,

and then he begins to understand her a little better.

So in writing something like this,

where two of your characters now have PTSD,

you must have had to do some research into that.

I did.

And I was--

I was shocked to find that 22 US veterans a day commit suicide.


A day.

And one in three coming home from the war, especially

the combat veterans, have PTSD.

And it's just shocking to know that that's happening.

But there are people in the population who have it as well,

because they've had trauma.

So I got very interested in that, and I-- you know,

I just want to raise awareness about it.

Well, when someone struggles with that,

if they have a family, if they're married at all,

then the whole family struggles as a result of it.

Yes, because they have trouble coping with life.

And one person said they could-- they go to--

from zero to rage in, you know, 60 seconds.

They just can't seem to control their emotions,

and they need help.

And there are a lot of therapies available.

One of the things that you say about all of the books

that you write that you want them--

you want them to give hope to people in the end.

So how do you plant that in what you're doing

so that it's the end result?

Well, I just try to show them that in this world,

you have trouble, but I have overcome the world,

you know, Jesus said.

And Dylan learns-- he kind of comes back to his faith

through watching Casey come to her faith.

And I'm kind of giving away some of book three,

but that is the story arc, that they kind of bring

each other back.

And that's where true healing is found, in Christ.

And even though they have struggles,

they may need to work through together,

they have a purpose now.

Which is something that didn't have before,

and that always helps.

I read "If I'm Found" last night,

this is the second in a three part trilogy.

When is "If I Live" out?

Well, I just finished it.

So-- yeah, it's got to go through the editorial process.

And we'll get it out as soon as we can.

Is that a couple of months, or what does that look like?

Oh, it's a little bit longer.

Yeah, I wish it were faster, but, you know,

I took a long time writing it.

Well, when you complete something like this,

are you already off and running to the next project?


You are.


I'm already-- I just turned that book in Wednesday of last week,

and now I'm thinking about the next book, which I'll be--

it'll be a Christmas book, actually.

It's going to be a romance, a Christmas romance.

Did you ever have any idea--

I mean, here you were wanting to be

a writer, with the experience you had as a child.

Did it ever occur to you you'd have this kind of popularity?

Never, oh no.

And when I came into the Christian market,

I thought I was really reducing my market, you know.

But that was what I wanted to do.

I wanted to glorify God.

And He has just multiplied it.

It's just-- it's shocking to me.

How wonderfully shocking.

Well, it's wonderful to read a book where

you know the author's done her homework,

and this is just one of those.

"If I'm Found" is a part of a trilogy.

It's available in stores nationwide.

Keep watching for "If I Live," because that's the third one

to come out.

If you haven't had a chance to read

the first book of the series, so you can get that,

and that one is?


"If I Run."

So "If I Run," "If I'm Found," "If I Live."

All well worth your read.

Terri, it's great to see you again, God bless you.

Thank you.


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