Monday, November 26, 2012

GRITTY RESEARCH

Award-winning author DiAnn Mills is a fiction writer who combines an adventuresome spirit with unforgettable characters to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels. DiAnn’s first book was published in 1998. She currently has more than fifty books published.

Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists and have won placements through the American Christian Fiction Writer’s Carol Awards and Inspirational Reader’s Choice awards. DiAnn won the Christy Award in 2010 and 2011.

DiAnn is a founding board member for American Christian Fiction Writers and a member of Inspirational Writers Alive, Romance Writers of America, and Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. DiAnn is also the Craftsman mentor for the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild.

She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.

 
GRITTY RESEARCH
 
Writing suspense is my passion. I stay awake at night planning a story in which a strong and vibrant heroine attempts the impossible, the forbidden, or the dangerous for the good of others. She meets a hero who compliments her strengths and challenges her weaknesses. Together they take the writer and the reader on an adventure.

However, research can be difficult, especially if I’m not familiar with the character’s profession and its rules of conduct. I educate myself through online research and the library until I have accumulated enough knowledge to contact a real person who has this profession. My goal is to pose questions during the interview that are realistic for the character in my book. Sometimes I must preface my inquiry with, “I need to know if this situation could happen, not if it has happened.” This allows me the freedom to create plot twists and circumstances that add tension and conflict to my story while staying true to the character’s profession.

Some professions are easier to research than others. The FBI and Border Patrol want public support, and these agencies were not only willing to help me write a credible book but patient in responding to questions. The FBI and Border Patrol allowed me to tour their facilities. The FBI read every word of my novels to ensure accuracy. That doesn’t mean they endorsed my book, but they were willing to point out protocol errors and offer solutions. I’m grateful for their assistance. I’ve taken their FBI Citizens Cadet Academy and I’m a part of their alumni program. Always great information that I can use in my novels while volunteering for a worthwhile organization.

Other professions involved in national security are required to keep their techniques secret. Makes sense to me. If we are to be protected from those who seek us harm, then methods must be hidden from the public. The CIA and Secret Service are two agencies that can’t reveal how we are to be kept safe. The writer is on her own to figure out how crimes are prevented and stopped. Sometimes a person in one of these fields will tell me what I’ve written is wrong. On those occasions, I become more creative in addressing a situation in my story.

I weave romance into my suspense stories. It’s a natural part of human nature. However some agencies frown on their employees fraternizing within their ranks. The reasons are sound. Think about a man or woman in a high-risk situation in which their priorities might be another person instead of his/her responsibilities. For a man and woman who are attracted to each other, employer guidelines might mean hiding their relationship. More juicy conflict.

Writing suspense is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. The pieces have to fit in a way that are credible and in character. Every part of the novel has to add conflict while the plot adds layers to the story problem. I encourage writers who are fascinated by suspense to conduct realistic research. Book sales will grow!

DiAnn Mills

The Chase
www.diannmills.com

www.facebook.com/diannmills
twitter.com/diannmills

If you would like a chance to win a copy of DiAnn's book, THE CHASE, please leave a comment, along with your contact information. We'll draw a winner on the 28th!
 

 

 

25 comments:

  1. I would love to win a copy of The Chase! Please enter me: debsbunch5[at]jesusanswers[dot]com

    ReplyDelete
  2. i would love to win a copy of the Chase. angela from KY angelachesnut246@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. Looking forward to reading The Chase. Just finished "Fatal Judgment" and "Sworn to Protect." Impressed by DiAnn's research of the law enforcement agencies she writes about. campruston@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. I would absolutely LOVE to read this book ...and win it! I share my books with my "soon to be" 92-year-old mother-in-law. She loves Christian mysteries! I am amazed at the research good authors put into their stories. All this effort shows up in the book. Thanks for offering a giveaway, especially on the 28th ... my 20th anniversary with my hero! Susan Parnell (solomon@wctel.net)

    ReplyDelete
  5. i would LOVE to win this novel! Thanks for the chance (i review novels on my blog reviewingnovelsonline.blogspot.ca as well as numerous other sites, including facebook) How blessed i would be. Thank you.

    mitziUNDERSCOREwanhamATyahooDOTcom

    ReplyDelete
  6. I can tell that you do a lot of research for your books. Would love to win The Chase! Martha T.@CRPrairie1@imonmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  7. Would love to win a copy of the book! Thanks for the chance.
    mandaandtom at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  8. I've enjoyed several of your novels and would love to win a copy of the your new book, The Chase! Thanks so much for continuing to write such great novels. mstands@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  9. I have learned a lot with my research.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I've enjoyed reading your novels and would love to win a copy of the your new book, The Chase!
    linlee822@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  11. I understand about the jigsaw puzzle. All the pieces have to fit. Sometimes hard to do. Wonderful post, DiAnn!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I appreciated what you wrote about researching your books, DiAnn. I bet taking that FBI course was a blast!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I would love to win a copy of The Chase. Thank you!
    superstarsarah94@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  14. Sounds so interesting and kind of fun. Whenever I research, I have to make sure I don't go off on tangents. I learn a lot, but it can take so much longer to get to what I need!! :)
    Pen
    pmettert @ yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  15. Thanks for all the great comments!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I love a good suspense story. Would love to win a copy of The Chase.
    doparker50@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  17. I would love to win The Chase!
    amccalli(at)gmail(dot)(com)

    ReplyDelete
  18. I would LOVE to be entered in this giveaway!

    I have read several of Diann Mills books and always been pleased :) She does her research~ my compliments on that!

    You can contact me at:
    bekahdwall(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  19. Really challenging and inspiring post, DiAnn. I relate to a lot of what you said about plotting and researching. I wish there was an FBI Citizens Cadet Academy near where I live. Sounds awesome!

    ReplyDelete
  20. I truly do enjoy your books and have read several. I posted this on another blog today as well, I've never realized the magnitude of research you authors do. It's amazing to me and I appreciate the diligence and the commitment to accuracy. Not only do I enjoy the suspense and the romance, I always learn something as well as am uplifted spiritually. Thank you and Blessings, Susan Fryman susanngarrylee@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  21. Thank you for all of your hard work! I don't imagine that I would be able to tell the difference if you didn't REALLY research your topics, but I like feeling like I'm learning. I have read a few of your books and enjoyed them thoroughly. Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy of The Chase!

    ReplyDelete
  22. I loved reading your post about your research. No wonder your books are gripping, realistic page turners!

    The FBI citizen's academy sounds like a fantastic opportunity. We are too rural to have such an opportunity here, but it would sure be an amazing experience to attend!

    ReplyDelete
  23. I would love to win DiAnn's book. She is a neighbor living in Houston and I next door in Pasadena. Would love to win her book.
    Maxie ( mac262@me.com )

    ReplyDelete
  24. Diann i love all your books and i loved Attracted To Fire. i look forward too reading the Chase. your research makes it all the more real!!

    ReplyDelete