Armed with the knowledge that his second grade teacher always liked his stories and poems, Ray Blackston of Greenville, South Carolina, recently departed from the field of finance. He simply walked away from the corporate cubicle, bought a laptop, said a prayer, and began typing the first words of Flabbergasted. He does not recommend this method for the faint of heart. (c) Ray Blackston, 2003, flabbergasted, book cover
Blackston was born in Georgetown, South Carolina. He did his schooling in Texarkana, Texas and obtained a BS degree in Finance and Economics from the University of South Carolina. Blackston worked as a stockbroker for two years and a financial consultant for several firms such as AT&T, Allie Signal, and General Electric. He then left his job in the corporate world and started writing his first novel, Flabbergasted. After initial rejection of the manuscript, the novel was published in May 2003 by the Baker Book Group. The book was well-received by critics and readers alike, though some criticized the book for its excessive use of a particular style. The book was written as a beach novel for young believers. The design of the cover has attracted praise for its different-looking, fresh feel. The cover is illustrated with the lime green car, which is featured in the novel as being owned by Darcy, a supporting character to the book’s protagonist. Flabbergasted was one of three finalists for the Christy Award for best first novel (2004) and was selected by the Dallas Morning News as the Inspirational Novel of the Year in 2003.
After Flabbergasted, Blackston wrote two more novels, A Delirious Summer (2004) and Lost in Rooville (2005). Both utilized the characters from Flabbergasted. After Lost in Rooville was published, Blackston chose the Time Warner Book Group (now called Hachette Book Group USA) to publish his next novel from amongst several publishers who showed interest in publishing his books. His first novel which did not utilize characters from Flabbergasted, A Pagan’s Nightmare, was then published on October 25, 2006. Blackston has described A Pagan’s Nightmare as
“ the last few pagans on earth, running desperately from legalistic zealots who hope to capture and “convert” them ”
Blackston released his next novel, Par for the Course, on February 12, 2008. Like the Flabbergasted trilogy, the action in Par for the Course takes place in South Carolina and addresses young adult Christians in relationships. Except for cameos, however, the characters in Par for the Course are all new.
Blackston’s most recent novel was Last Mango in Texas. It features young adults in Texas, with trips to Alaska, France, and Africa. According to his web site, Blackston said the book began as a prequel to Flabbergasted, before he decided to take it in a different direction with a new cast. Blackston stated he’s also working on a non-fiction book about relationships from a Christian perspective.
Blackston also serves on the Missions committee of his own church. He has traveled to Ecuador during a summer missions program.