What Can Romance Novels Teach Us?
by Terri Blackstock,, special for EIR
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the things books taught me when I was younger, and the things they continue to teach me. Books teach us empathy when, as children, we see someone different from ourselves stuck in a situation we’ve never been in. The new kid who has no friends, the kid who’s bullied, the kid whose parents are divorced, the kid who’s experienced the death of a friend—all these situations in books teach children empathy, to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, to be kind to people who are hurting. More than that, they teach us to see the pain of others.
I remember imagining what it would be like to be a Boxcar Kid
living in a train with your siblings, both parents dead, and the dread of a mean grandparent hanging over your head. I remember reading to my own children Bridge to Teribithia and sobbing with one of my daughters as one of the characters had to endure the death of her best friend. I remember so many other books that took me into strange places and adventures, but the ones that burn on my memory are the ones that taught me something about the human condition, about my own spirit, those that made me a kinder and gentler person who had empathy for others.
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Twisted Innocence by Terri Blackstock at Amazon
Now that empathy is what makes me a writer that some people like to read. Because I can put myself in someone else’s head and experience their heartbreak, I write stories that teach those virtues, as well. I help people understand situations they might have judged differently. I help them see what the “other side” looks like in their own situations. My Moonlighters Series features a messy character named Holly, who’s had problems holding a job, maintaining relationships, and staying sober. In Book 3, Twisted Innocence, she’s just given birth to her first child, and she struggles with trying to live a more stable life for her child. But the unstable father doesn’t make that easy for her when he takes her and the baby hostage to escape arrest for a murder charge. When I started that book, I honestly didn’t know where it was going to go. Would Creed Kershaw turn out to be a good guy or a bad guy? As my empathy kicked in and I began to understand how he got here, the story took an unexpected turn. Romance kicked in, and I was able to see Creed as someone who could be redeemed, someone messy like Holly, someone who also needed a life change.
I hope when readers close Twisted Innocence, they’ll love people like Holly and Creed more deeply, understand more clearly, and care about the people around them who have similar challenges. And if they relate strongly to those characters because they have messy lives too, I want them to know there is a God who loves them enough to die for them, and can wipe the slate clean. The best happy ending is complete redemption, isn’t it?
What books resonate in your memory as those that taught you something about life?
by Terri Blackstock
Holly Cramer’s past choices have finally caught up to her, but she never expected them to endanger her baby.
Though Holly’s stumbled through most of her adult life as a party girl, she longs to live a more stable life for her daughter. Then police show up to question her about the whereabouts of Creed Kershaw, Lily’s father. She has kept his identity a secret from friends and family—she never even told him about the pregnancy. Now he’s a person of interest in a drug-related murder case.
Determined to keep him out of their lives and turn him over to police, Holly uses her private investigating skills to search for him. But her bravado backfires when he turns the tables and takes her and the baby hostage. As desperate hours tick by, Holly realizes his connection to Leonard Miller—the man who has gunned down several members of her family. Creed claims he’s innocent and that Miller is after him too. His gentleness with Lily moves her, but she can’t trust a man who has held her at gunpoint . . . even if he reminds her so much of herself.
Dangers old and new threaten Holly and her baby, and lives are demanded as sacrifices for love. Through a complex web of mistakes and regret, redemption is the one hope Holly has left to hold on to.
TERRI BLACKSTOCK is a New York Times best-seller, with over six million copies sold worldwide. She is the winner of three Carol Awards, a Christian Retailers Choice Award, and a Romantic Times Book Reviews Career Achievement Award, among others. She has had over twenty-five years of success as a novelist. Terri spent the first twelve years of her life traveling in an Air Force family. She lived in nine states and attended the first four years of school in The Netherlands. Because she was a perpetual “new kid,” her imagination became her closest friend. That, she believes, was the biggest factor in her becoming a novelist.
To keep up with Terri Blackstock, visit www.terriblackstock.com, become a fan on Facebook (tblackstock) or follow her on Twitter (@TerriBlackstock).