Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Terri Blackstock's PREDATOR

Terri Blackstock: Golden Rose Spotlight

I welcome Terri Blackstock, a NY Times bestselling author, and a remarkable lady. It is my honor and privilege to have interviewed her.

Short blurb for Predator: The murder of Krista Carmichael's fourteen-year-old sister by an online predator has shaken her faith and made her question God's justice and protection. Desperate to find the killer, she creates an online persona to bait the predator. But when the stalker turns his sights on her, will Krista be able to control the outcome?
Ryan Adkins started the social network GrapeVyne in his college dorm and has grown it into a billion-dollar corporation. But he never expected it to become a stalking ground for online predators. One of them lives in his town and has killed two girls and attacked a third. When Ryan meets Krista, the murders become more than a news story to him, and everything is on the line.
Joining forces, Ryan and Krista set out to stop the killer. But when hunters pursue a hunter, the tables can easily turn. Only God can protect them now.

Predator will definitely have you turning the pages, not just out of the desire to see what happens next, but to also see if you are correct in the whodunit. Red herrings keep you fishing for answers, curveballs keep you guessing, and the action keeps you reading. Read below on more information about Predator and Terri Blackstock.

1) How did the idea and/or inspiration of writing about an online predator come about?

A couple of years ago when I was encouraged to start using Facebook, I was shocked by some of the things people posted. Because I’m a suspense writer, I realized that this would be a playground for a predator. Think about it. If you were a predator, what better way to stalk your victims and find out about their habits, their schedules, their likes/dislikes, and sometimes even their addresses and phone numbers? I decided that I had to write a book about that.

In Predator, Krista Carmichael’s fourteen year old sister is found murdered, and it quickly becomes clear how easy she made it for her killer to stalk her until he had the opportunity to abduct her. Krista decides to use GrapeVyne, my fictitious social network, to create a fake profile. She makes herself bait for the killer, hoping to find him and bring him to justice. But when she manages to get his attention, Krista finds it impossible to control the outcome.

 2) For years documentaries were produced and TV shows used characters who used false profiles to lure unsuspecting people, because this is so real and an increasing problem, what were your hopes and/or agenda in writing Predator?

I hoped that it would open people’s eyes (scare them to death) and influence them into changing their online habits. But the book is also about loss and that Christian mask we put on. Krista works in a ministry that helps teen girls in a low income/high crime area. When her sister is murdered, she sort of puts on a mask so the girls will see her as this strong, unwavering Christian. She doesn’t want them to know that she has these questions, and that she’s angry at God for allowing her sister to be murdered. So she has this internal struggle between what she really feels and what she wants people to think she feels. She begins to question whether she belongs in ministry at all. But the fact is, her suffering and her honest questions qualify her even more for ministry, because she can now relate to the girls on a level she couldn’t have imagined before.


3) Do you believe teenagers or adults are more vulnerable online? Which group seems more apt to accept someone as a friend?

I think teens are, because they are too trusting. They think that everyone is who they say they are. But how hard is it to use a fake picture, pretend you’re a nineteen year old boy who’s interested in them, and lure them into a trap? But adults are being equally foolish. They forget how much they’re sharing with people they’ve never met.

4) Predator shows the many facets of tragedy. The sister's and father's anger are handled in opposite ends of the spectrum. Writing in such a deep POV where the father contemplates murder, how did you "flip that switch" to be able to write from that point of view, because the emotions of the father's are so raw?

That’s what writers do. We “put on” our characters and think like they think. I think one of the gifts of a good writer is empathy. Writers have empathy for each of the characters they write—even the evil ones—and can feel their feelings and articulate their thoughts. We cry when our characters cry, and mope when they mope, and celebrate when they have victories. That’s part of the job.

5) Writing from the online predator's point of view, the reader is literally inside his head. How did you prepare yourself to write from the POV of such an evil person?

I just tried to imagine how a predator might think, what might motivate him, what his traps might be. Sometimes I scared myself. But in order to write a compelling suspense novel, sometimes I have to think like a villain. This isn’t that hard for me because I have a suspicious nature and my mind tends to go automatically to the worst possible scenario.

6) Since the publication of Predator, you have written a new series. Please tell your readers a little more about these books and what inspired you to write them.

The Intervention Series was inspired by my experiences with my daughter who had severe drug addictions. It’s not straight out of our lives—we didn’t have a murder, of course—but the emotions that I poured into Barbara (the mother) were just like mine. In the first book, Intervention, Barbara hires an interventionist to help her daughter. On the way to treatment, the interventionist is murdered and the daughter (Emily) vanishes. In the second book, Vicious Cycle, Emily is getting out of treatment and she and her brother get pulled into the drama of a crystal meth addict who needs rescuing. In the final book, Downfall, Emily is in recovery, but her past begins to catch up with her. A conversation she had with two men, an Alfred Hitchcock movie, and a plan for a double-murder all conspire for one explosive ride … and Emily is the only one who can identify the killer and save the life of the next potential victim. But will the stress of it all be her downfall?

Thank you, Terri!
You may contact Terri Blackstock at the following:

www.terriblackstock.com
www.facebook.com/tblackstock
www.twitter.com/terriblackstock.

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