Wednesday, August 31, 2016

DiAnn Mills {Writer Wednesday}

A little bit about DiAnn...

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels.

Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. Library Journal presented her with a Best Books 2014: Genre Fiction award in the Christian Fiction category for Firewall.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She is co-director of The Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference and The Author Roadmap with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion of helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country.

DiAnn has been termed a coffee snob and roasts her own coffee beans. She’s an avid reader, loves to cook, and believes her grandchildren are the smartest kids in the universe. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.

DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on any of the social media platforms listed at

Connect with DiAnn...

Purchase: Deadly Encounter

Get to know DiAnn...

You and Writing 

My bio says that I want readers to Expect an Adventure. This is my personal challenge to take readers to a place physically, mentally, and spiritually where they’ve never been. If I want readers to experience my character’s victories, trials, joys, and defeats then I must do the same. Story is my God-given purpose, and I view it as a ministry.
How did you start writing? 
My husband dared me! “Stop telling me one day you’re going to write a book. Do it now. Quit your job. I give you one year to get anything published.”

What has kept you writing? 
The joy of story written from a Christian worldview.

What or who is the biggest influence in your writing? 
My husband. He’s my best cheerleader.

Why do you write? 
Because I cannot not write. God gave me the gift, and I will honor Him.

Your Writing

Why did you write it?
A good friend of mine is an airport volunteer here in Houston. This group patrols the outer perimeter of IAH on horseback and reports any incidents to the police. She is also a huge dog lover. I wanted to show a real heroine who had the strength to overcome a huge obstacle - in my city.

Do you have a favorite character in this work? If so, why? 
Stacy, the heroine. She’s stronger than she believes, and when faced with tragedies, she chooses to be a survivor.

What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with? 
Life and circumstances do not dictate the person. We all have choices.

What was a challenge you faced while writing it?
Learning about canine diseases and linking them with a genetically engineered technique.

What did you learn while writing it?
All about the Airport Rangers, their mission, training, and dedicated volunteers.

Is there a funny story associated with writing the book?
Yes! I’m petrified of dogs.

We're your characters easy to pin down or did you discover them along the way as you wrote the book?
I do extensive characterization before beginning the writing process, but I always learn so much more while writing.

What made you choose the setting for the book?
My city - Houston. We are the 4th largest city in the nation. A lot goes on here, good and not so good. I want to show real people in the midst of keeping others safe.

What's the most random thing you had to Google for the story?
The various ways drones are used.

What was one thing (or character) that surprised you while writing this book?
Whitt, the twelve-year-old boy that Stacy is attempting to gain custody. I didn’t realize how much he loved her.

What’s your favorite snack while writing?
Black coffee and a handful of peanut butter pretzels.


How long did you write before you got published? 
Six months before a devotion was published. My first book was published fifteen months after I finished it.

What’s your encouragement for younger writers aside from “keep writing”?
Never stop learning and to pass on what is learned to another serious writer. The blessings are incredible.

How many rejection letters did you get before being accepted by a publisher?
I’m trying to think - probably eight or ten.

Are you a Panster or Plotter?
I’m both! I have a few critical scenes that will make the story shiver, but how I get there is a thrilling ride.

What is your favorite and least favorite part of the writing process?
I enjoy every part of the creating a story: pre-writing, plotting, beginning the story, the continuous editing, right on to feedback from my publisher. Every moment spent means a better book, and that’s my goal.

How long did it take to publish your first book?
A total of nearly two years. I started submitting before it was finished.

What did you learn along the path to publishing that you’d care to share as encouragement?
Listen and stay atop the publishing industry. Changes happen on a daily basis.

Where do you find inspiration for your story/characters?
Everywhere! Dreams, movies, media, listening to others, etc. 

Are there any books or resources you could recommend to younger writers looking to grow in their craft?
Donald Maass, Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook. James Scott Bell, Plot and Structure. Steven James, Story Trumps Structure.

How do you grow in your writing craft?
By devoting time daily to reading the how-to books, blogs, and the bestsellers in my genre.

How do you balance your writing life with “real” life? Any tips or tricks to share?
It’s all about priorities: God, spouse, family, friends, and writing.


Have you ever attended a writer’s conference? If so, which one(s) and what were most helpful about it?
I’ve attended more writing conferences than I can count. These are my favorite in the order I remember since I started writing seriously in 1996:
  • Wheaton Write to Publish 
  • Mount Hermon 
  • Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writer’s Conference 
  • ACFW National Conference
Apparently August 15th is National Lemon Meringue Pie Day (who knew). What is your favorite dessert? 
Without a doubt! Apple Crumb Pie - flaky crust, lots of cinnamon, and served warm with a huge scoop of vanilla ice cream. Don’t forget a freshly brewed cup of black coffee.

What are you currently reading? 
The Last Mile by David Baldacci

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