Truth-Stained Lies, Moonlighter Series #1Truth-Stained Lies, Moonlighter Series #1
Terri Blackstock
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Cathy Cramer is a former lawyer and investigative blogger who writes commentary on local homicides. When she finds a threatening note warning her that she's about to experience the same kind of judgment and speculation that she dishes out in her blog, Cathy writes it off as mischief . until her brother is caught in the middle of a murder investigation---the victim is his ex-wife. As her brother is tried and convicted in the media, and bloggers and commentators like her have a field day, Cathy wonders if she should have taken the threat more seriously.


     


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Terri BlackstockAmazing, multi-award winning, NY Times Bestselling author, Terri Blackstock's books have sold several million copies in the Christian Fiction Market, most rank as a  bestseller.  Terri has appeared on national television programs such as "The 700 Club" and "Home Life," and has been a guest on numerous radio programs across the country. The story of her personal journey appears in books such as Touched By the Savior by Mike Yorkey, True Stories of Answered Prayer by Mike Nappa, Faces of Faith by John Hanna, and I Saw Him In Your Eyes by Ace Collins.

Favorite Verses: Jeremiah 29:11 and Ephesians 3:20. I have a plan for you, declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (NIV)

 Visit Terri Blackstock in our Writers Corner


 

 Christianbook.com Interview with Terri Blackstock


 

Please tell us a bit about yourself.

I’ve been writing novels for many years. My first thirty-two books were written for secular publishers, but in the mid-nineties, I came under intense conviction that I was compromising the gift God had given me. I felt Him pulling me out of that market, and I made a commitment to to only write things that glorified Him from that point on. I started over with a Christian publisher (Zondervan), writing suspense novels with Christian themes. Since that time I’ve written another forty novels, and have been blessed to see those books connect with readers from all walks of life, believers and non-believers.

Do you have a connection with law enforcement and/or investigations?

No, I don’t. Everything I write comes from research or interviews with law enforcement professionals.

What was your inspiration to write the Moonlighters Series?
 
I got the idea for Truth Stained Lies during the Casey Anthony trial. I was very interested in that trial, and I followed some blogs written by people with legal backgrounds, who were digging for behind-the-scenes information, some of which wasn’t allowed into court. It occurred to me that these bloggers probably made defendants angry, and I began to do my usual What-If routine. What if someone set up a crime to turn the tables on the blogger? What if that crime put the blogger in the position of being judged?

So I created Cathy Cramer, a former prosecutor who started her blog after her fiance was murdered. She’s determined to make guilty people pay—so she investigates and speculates, then posts her findings. When a reader warns her that she’s about to get a taste of her own medicine, she shrugs the warning off. But then her sister-in-law is found dead, and her brother is a suspect.

The killer has orchestrated events so that her brother’s true story sounds completely unbelievable. Despite Cathy’s efforts to defend her brother, she knows that no one is going to believe the truth. People like her will try and convict him in the media, and he wont’ have a chance.

The series will feature Cathy and her sisters, Juliet and Holly. Cathy’s a blogger, Juliet’s a stay-at-home Mom, and Holly’s a ne’er-do-well taxi driver—and they all moonlight as private investigators to solve crimes related to their family. I’m having fun with these vastly different characters and the relationships developing over the three books.

How much of the Moonlighters Series comes from your personal experience?

There are aspects of myself in every character I write, I suppose, but this series isn’t based on any true events in my life, as my last series (the Intervention Series) was. I just wanted to write a page-turner that would challenge and entertain my readers.

How much research did Truth Stained Lies take?
 
I did quite a bit of research about private investigators to find out what my sisters would be doing as part-time PIs. And one of the main characters in the books, Michael Hogan (Cathy’s love interest), is a former police detective who lost his job and now has to work as a PI. All that took quite a bit of research. I do have cop friends who help me think things through as I’m plotting.

 

What are the most interesting facts that you learned while researching and writing Truth Stained Lies?

That private investigators’ work can often be very mundane and boring. They do a lot of things like background checks, cheating spouse cases, documentation of worker’s comp fraud, serving subpoenas, etc. It’s not all exciting, and in most cases it’s not even dangerous. But the events of each book pull my characters into investigations that are over their heads, and force them out of their comfort zones.

What other new writing projects do you have on the horizon?

Book 2 of the Moonlighters Series is in the editorial stage right now. The working title is Trust & Betray, but that could change before it goes to print. I’m currently working on the third and final book in the series. Both of those will release next year.

What message would you like your readers to take from reading Truth Stained Lies?

In Truth-Stained Lies, two of the three sisters have strayed from the church because of the way they were treated after their father, a pastor, ran off with his secretary. Instead of supporting the family left behind, the church evicted them from the parsonage, leaving them homeless. That changed their lives, and they’ve each reacted in different ways. They also have issues with hypocrisy, since their father was so clearly a fraud. I plan to carry this struggle through the three books in the series, and they’ll each have their own encounters with God and His people. I hope to make Christians think hard about how they treat those in their congregations whose lives have become messy. We pray for those who’ve strayed from the faith to return, and we intercede for lost people. But when those people show up in our midst, they’re often shunned. They don’t look and live like we do, so we judge them instead of embracing them and recognizing that Jesus, Himself, has walked them to our doors.

What organizations are you involved with?

I’m a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Sisters in Crime.

What are some of the challenges you face as an author?
 
Discipline is a biggie. When my children were still at home, I was pretty disciplined. I wrote during school hours every day. Now that they’re gone, I have less structure, so I find it more difficult to be consistent with my writing routine.

Who is the person who most influences your writing?

Probably my husband Ken. He’s a very funny man who keeps me laughing, and I often try to weave some aspect of his character into the men in my books. He’s also very intelligent and articulate. He’s a Bible teacher, and his insights about spiritual things often work their way into the themes of my novels.

What aspects of being a writer do you enjoy the most?

I love being able to live in my imagination so much of the time. It’s fun to get to the end of a book and realize the whole thing came out of my head ... that a few months ago all I had was a blank computer screen, but somehow I’ve created an entire community of people with real-life struggles. It’s fun to see how God gives me ideas that add dimension to my writing, and He works in my life in unique ways, showing me things that He wants me to share with my readers.

What do you do to get away from it all?

I watch decorating shows on HGTV. I’m not sure why I love those so much, but I find them relaxing and very different from what I do all day. It’s a way to put my brain on autopilot at the end of a taxing day.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I’m so thankful for my readers and their loyalty to my books all these years. I think about them constantly as I’m writing. I always hope to give them a page-turning read that challenges them to grow spiritually. Many of them write me and let me know how God has worked through my books. That’s my idea of success—knowing that the Holy Spirit was able to use my story to touch individual lives in miraculous ways. But that’s how He works. He takes what we offer Him, and He multiplies it and uses it in ways we would never expect.


 

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