Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance, and the authors visiting my blog answered them! This week, I am thrilled to have my friend, DiAnn Mills, as my guest. DiAnn and I met years ago as we served together on the Faith-Hope-Love chapter of the Romance Writers of America, and I completely fell in love with her passion for writing stories that take her readers on an adventure! Our paths have crossed many times, and we always make sure to take time for a coffee or a meal, so that we can fellowship together and support each other. I hope you enjoy her interview as much as I did — and read on to see how you can enter to win a copy of her book Where Tomorrow Leads!
Tell us a little bit about yourself. First of all, I believe my readers should Expect an Adventure. If I fail to send them on an unpredictable journey with twists and turns, then I haven’t done my job. I live in Houston, Texas, and I love heat and humidity. My writing began in 1996 when my husband challenged me to stop talking about writing a book and just do it. He encouraged me to quit my job and give myself a year to get anything published. And if it did, succeed, I wouldn’t need to return to my day job. I took him up on that challenge. My first book released in 1998, and I’ve been writing since then. But a huge changed happened in 2017 … now, my husband works for me. Originally, I wrote historical and contemporary romance. My reading habits were romantic suspense, and that became my writing genre. I believe in giving back to the writing community in the way of encouragement, prayer, teaching, mentoring, and editing. I also direct the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference with Edie Melson. We also are the directors for the Mountainside retreats.
Tell us about your current release. Heather Lawrence’s long-awaited vacation to Salzburg wasn’t supposed to go like this. Mere hours into the transatlantic flight, the Houston FBI agent is awakened when passengers begin exhibiting horrific symptoms of an unknown infection. As the virus quickly spreads and dozens of passengers fall ill, Heather fears she’s witnessing an epidemic similar to ones her estranged husband studies for a living but this airborne contagion may have been deliberately released.
While Heather remains quarantined with other survivors, she works with her FBI colleagues to identify the person behind this attack. The prime suspect? Dr. Chad Lawrence, an expert in his field . . . and Heather’s husband. The Lawrences’ marriage has been on the rocks since Chad announced his career took precedence over his wife and future family and moved out.
As more victims fall prey days after the initial outbreak, time’s running out to hunt down the killer, one who may be closer to the victims than anyone ever expected.
I had this idea 3 years before the coronavirus attacked our world. But it required so much research until facts and the right people entered my path.
My mission then and now is to show a story that weaves hope, reality, and the sacrificial work of first responders when a deadly virus spreads through innocent people.
If you knew ahead of time your book would benefit only one person on their spiritual journey, would you still write it? Yes! I never know who or how many people will read my story. I believe God gives me the idea, so the reader may only be me.
Do you feel pressured to compromise your standards in order to reach a larger audience or be more successful? Not at all. I’m a storyteller, and my faith is shown in how a Christian character reacts and responds to the world. I don’t write sex, cursing, or violence for violence sake, because I write what I read: strong stories that are unpredictable and show character growth and change while reaching for a goal.
Fiction is not a platform to evangelize those who aren’t followers of Jesus. The faith aspect is not an engine additive. Unrealistic and predictable characters, preachy content, and verbiage only a Christian understands can be condescending to any reader. The practice lowers the importance of a writer’s first priority: entertaining the reader. The Christian novel is different because of the writer’s belief system. Good overcomes evil. Writers can give examples without trampling on the feet of unbelievers.
How do you push past the fear of your writing being average and be bold enough to sell it to a publisher(or agent or audience if you self publish)? Lots and lots of prayer! But I believe the fear is healthy. It keeps me relying on God instead of myself. The same fear that existed during writing book one stills stalks me.
What is your inspiration for writing? First: to entertain readers. Second: to inspire readers to be better people. Third: to encourage readers wherever they are in life. We live in a dangerous and unpredictable world. I want to show how God works through a character or characters to overcome evil for good.
What do you do when you hit a roadblock and have NO idea what to write? I go back to the beginning of the book and start reading. I also review my characterization sketch, research, and notes. At times, I consult a trusted writer friend. By the time I get to my troubled spot, I’m ready to write again.
I assume when you start a book, you pretty much have the plot laid out. Do you ever change your mind later on in the book, and go in a different direction? No! I don’t have the plot laid out. I’m an organic writer, which means everything rises from character. I will have an idea of what will happen, but it’s all discovery from what works best with the character(s).
Here is where you can find DiAnn online:
DiAnn is giving away a copy of her book Where Tomorrow Leads to a reader! See below how to enter to win:a Rafflecopter giveaway