Saturday, January 17, 2009

Janna's 3rd Most Life Changing Book

Hey, all. I haven't read this book, but after reading the interview and review, plan to go buy it the next time I'm at Carpenter's Son. It sounds awesome. And just a note. I'm not posting all of Janna's picks. Just the ones that I either read and loved, or books that appeal to me.

The 3rd Most Life Changing Book of 2008 is...
The Listener
by Terri Blackstock

I happened upon this book by accident and am so glad that I did. It is a true gem. It is simple, easy to read and short, but it is packed with so much amazing food for thought that is will make your mind swirl... What if I could hear the deepest cry of a person's heart? What if I could automatically know what lies within everyone else's smiles? What if I started looking at people like God looks at them? What is the deepest need in everyone's lives?

"The Listener" by Terri Blackstock will answer many of those questions and more - and in such a way that you won't want to put this book down until its done. Well written, great characters and a mind blowing storyline. This is a book that is fiction but you'll wish wasn't. Allow God to blow the doors off your mindset and read this book!

Now let's meet Terri...

1) Sometimes people think of authors as being bigger than life and not "real", so I thought we would start off with a very important question, one that will show people just how real you are! "What dessert can you not resist when it is time to indulge?"

Cheesecake! If it has strawberry topping, I'm a goner.

2) In your book "The Listener", Sam has a dream one night and when he wakes up he discovers that he has been given a gift - he can hear the deepest need in the hearts of the people around him. It is a little different than Sam being a mind reader, he is a heart reader (the original title of the book) - how did you come up with this premise for a book?

I was sitting in a special church service one day and the program had really moved me. The worship leader asked us to kneel at our pews and ask God if there was anything that I needed to repent of. I knelt and did that, and God reminded me that I'd made my writing about money lately. It wasn't that I was greedy, but my husband and I were trying to implement the Dave Ramsey method of paying off debts, and in an attempt to be more responsible, we'd gotten very focused on money. I would soon have two children in college and another coming up behind them, so we were trying to prepare. None of that was a bad thing, except that my work was supposed to be about glorifying God. So I repented there on my knees, and told God I would re-focus and make it about Him again. The moment I sat back in my seat, God gave me this story, fully formed. The idea--What if you could hear what God hears?--seemed like such a good one, that I wanted to shout. Silently, I rejoiced, thanking God for it. And then He said, in that still, small voice, "You can't take any money for this." It seemed like a perfect way for me to show that my repentance was real. I went home and stopped writing the book I was contracted for already, and in two weeks, I wrote this story. I gave all the proceeds to Samaritan's Purse for this book and its youth version, The Heart Reader of Franklin High, and I decided to write and market it anonymously. I thought that would make it less about me and more about God. Eventually, I began putting my name on it, because it wasn't selling that well with Anonymous on the byline. But it's gone through several evolutions. The Heart Reader's title has been changed to The Listener, and recently it was repackaged with its sequel, The Gifted, into a two-volume book called Miracles.

3) I was really moved by this book to the realization that people are hurting on a deeper level all around us. What do you hope that people take away from reading your book?

I hope people will realize that there's work to do. Jesus said, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few." We do so little for Christ's kingdom because we don't hear what God hears. We don't even act on the things we do hear. But if we're walking in the Spirit, then we'll be more attuned to the harvest around us. We are here for the purpose of bearing fruit and meeting the needs of others. That's what Sam learns to do in the book.

4) When I met you at the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) Conference in Minneapolis this year you said that this book was a labor of love for you. And I see in the forward that all royalties from this book go to Samaritan's Purse. What led you to do that?

When God told me I couldn't take money for this idea, I began looking around for a Christian charity that meets the needs of people, but also leads them to Christ, as Sam did in the book. Samaritan's Purse takes the message of Jesus all over the world, and meets their needs in many ways. I thought they would be a quite worthy recipient of the proceeds of this book. They're still getting them.

5) Through the course of the book Sam comes to a realization that people all need one thing - no matter what their heart is crying out for it all boils down to this - we all need Jesus. If Christians could grasp this it would change the world today. It is not about denominations, religions or doctrines - it is about Jesus. This is what really stuck out to me, do you think enough people today really understand this?

No, they don't. We spend more time worrying about what color the church carpet is or what they're serving for Wednesday night supper than we do about meeting the deepest needs of a dying world. We don't think like we should if we're walking closely with Christ. And frankly, I'm guilty myself. I need to read the book every year to remind myself of that message.

6) You are known for the series of books that you write like - the Cape Refuge series and the Newpointe 911 series and more recently the Restoration series. But The Listener was recently repackaged with another little gem - The Gifted - and rereleased. I am looking forward to reading The Gifted as well. Your newest book out is actually book #4 in the Restoration series isn't it? What do you have coming out next?

Yes, Dawn's Light is book 4 in the Restoration Series. It brings my global crisis to an end, and ties up the story of the Branning family, as God does a further "stripping-away" in them. I explored the subject of unanswered prayer in this book. Not the prayers that are answered "Maybe" or "Wait," but the ones in which God is silent. Haven't we all had times when we wondered if God was even listening? I thought this was something that needed to be addressed and explored. I'm not afraid to ask hard questions of God, because He can handle it. So I let my characters ask them, and my readers who've finished the series seem very satisfied with the way I brought it to an end.
My next book, Double Mind, will be shipping January 23rd, and should show up in stores around the first week in February. It's a stand-alone set in Nashville, about a singer/songwriter trying to make her way in Christian music, when she gets caught up in a murder that changes the way she sees everything. I'm very attached to my quirky character, Parker James. She's been floating around in my head for several years, so it was fun to actually bring her to life.

7) Where can readers find you online?

At, or on Face Book.

REMEMBER TO GO TO JANNA'S BLOG TO ENTER: Terri has just recently had "The Listener" repackaged with its 'sequel' "The Gifted" so that is what she has agreed to giveaway! I'm so excited for all of you to have the chance to win this - I really have to get a copy of "The Gifted" for myself! If we get 35 comments or more then I will add a copy of the original "Heart Reader" as a 2nd prize! Here is what you do...

1) Leave a comment telling me what you think the deepest heart cry of everyone is (just a guess) with your email address and you get 1 entry

2) Blog about this giveaway yourself and leave another comment here and get 2 entries

3) Tell someone else about this interview with Terri and when they leave a comment with your name in it you will receive 3 entries

4) Become a blog follower (on the left of my blog you can do that) and receive 1 extra entry

Good luck!!!

1 comment:

Linda said...

"The Listener" sounds very interesting. It goes along with a song ("Give me Your eyes) of knowing how God sees things. Love Teri Blackstock!!!



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