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Blackston, Ray

BLACKSTON, Ray

PERSONAL: Male.

ADDRESSES: Home—Greenville, SC. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Revell Books, Baker Publishing Group, P.O. Box 6287, Grand Rapids, MI 49516-6287. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Buyer and stockbroker.

WRITINGS:

"FLABBERGASTED" NOVEL SERIES

Flabbergasted, Revell (Grand Rapids, MI), 2003.

A Delirious Summer, Revell (Grand Rapids, MI), 2004.

Lost in Rooville, Revell (Grand Rapids, MI), 2005.

SIDELIGHTS: Ray Blackston is a former stockbroker and buyer who left his cubicle and cashed in his 401K in order to pursue his writing dream. Blackston's novels are popular in both the Christian and mainstream markets. The main character of his first novel, Flabbergasted, is substantially patterned after Blackston himself. Like the author, Jay Jarvis is a stockbroker who has recently relocated to South Carolina. He is told that he will have more luck finding women in the churches than in the bars, and he does, although some of these characters are on the quirky side. Tamara Butler noted in Library Journal that considering that the church environment tends to focus more on families and married couples, Blackston's debut novel "is refreshingly honest in its portrayal of young, single Christians looking for love and marriage."

Blackston, who has done missionary work in Equador, uses that experience in creating the main character of A Delirious Summer. Jay plays matchmaker when missionary Neil Rucker, who has been dateless for seven months, returns from Ecuador for an eight-week vaca-tion in Greenville. There he meets the "Ladies of the Quest," a group of women who communicate via e-mail and who troll the churches of various denominations looking for eligible men. Among the singles is Beatrice Dean, age eighty-one, who is also looking for a man. When Neil becomes romantically involved with Alexis DeMoss, he, she, Beatrice, and others head south to Equador to rebuilt huts burned in a village fire. "Along with wooden huts, epiphanies arise," wrote Nancy Dorman-Hickson in Southern Living. A Publishers Weekly contributor felt that the characters "help keep the reader interested. In the end, however, it's Blackston's tongue-in-cheek humor about the lives of Christian singles that will grab the attention of readers of evangelical fiction."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Library Journal, June 1, 2003, Tamara Butler, review of Flabbergasted, p. 101; April 1, 2004, Tamara Butler, review of A Delirious Summer, p. 78.

Publishers Weekly, March 29, 2004, review of A Delirious Summer, p. 38.

Southern Living, August, 2004, Nancy Dorman-Hickson, review of A Delirious Summer, p. 201.

ONLINE

FaithfulReader.com, http://www.faithfulreader.com/. (November 10, 2003), interview with Blackston.

Ray Blackston Home Page, http://www.rayblackston.com. (February 27, 2005).

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