Friday, August 5, 2016

Interview with DiAnn Mills!




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 ReadersChoice, 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 very active online and would love to connect with readers on any of the social media platforms listed at www.diannmills.com.

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.

 
Write What You Know or Not?

We’ve all received the following writer’s advice:
“Write what you know.”
“Write what you don’t know.”
“Stretch.”
“Visit the novel’s setting.”
“No need to visit the novel’s setting.”
“Write family dysfunction.”
“Avoid family dysfunction.”

All suggestions are to be evaluated because there’s evidence to substantiate every one of the above comments: the guidance has worked successfully for several writers.

Challenges are buried beneath the best of advice.

Do we write what we know, or do we research for the information we need? How do we writers discern what works best for us?

Perhaps the best answer is the wealth beneath each writer’s wisdom. When a writer conducts research, she steps into writing what she does know. The following are seven items to consider when adding detailed research, and the result is a powerful story.

1.   Focus on Sensory Perception. People remember events according to their own experience. These memories can add a personal touch and help you sort out truth.
2.   Visit the setting, but when that’s not possible, interview and read first hand information that addresses sensory perception. Churches, diners, museums, libraries, newspapers, and historical societies are rich sources of information. Study the people you interview. What does their body language reveal as they speak about special moments? Painful moments? A great way to communicate local flavor is by evoking the sense of taste. Whether you are in the States or halfway around the world, depicting food and drink brings a plus to your writing. Ever watch a travel show? By showing a restaurant, a food vendor, or a meal in someone’s home, you can offer awareness into that culture. Brushing your finger across the vegetation, dip your feet into the water, pet an animal, or embrace someone different. Experience the surroundings. Pick up a baby or hold a hand. Laugh. Cry. Ask questions. This may be difficult, but it always brings a reward.
3.   Use Emotion. Readers identify with how people experience and process the happenings in their lives.
4.   Write actively with strong nouns and action verbs to root readers into your adventuresome story.
5.   Enlist your imagination with what you learn about the area. Some years ago, my son and I visited Gettysburg. We were so moved, we thought we heard the cries of the soldiers. Listen to the sounds of nature. Tune your ear to the dialect of those you interview.
6.   Subscribe to logic that blends all you explore and choose to use.
7.   Dig into the traditions and customs for the setting’s richness. This can be a gold mine of authenticity.

When a storyteller creates what she knows by carefully examining setting, she’s an expert in her own right.

How do you view your story’s setting? Leave a comment and be entered in a random drawing for your choice of a personalized copy of Deadly Encounter or an e-book.



41 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. DiAnn has certainly offered some great tips for writers. As a reader I look for evidence that the author has researched the subject of the the book I am reading. Imagination and creativity are wonderful but substance is also needed!
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Thanks, Connie. My concern is not doing enough research - I want my readers to be in the moment.

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  3. Thanks for the chance to win "Deadly Encounter" as I truly enjoy DiAnn's books! I am curious what type of coffee maker DiAnn uses as a "coffee snob" to get the best flavored at-home coffee or any other tips she can provide besides roasting own beans.

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    1. Hi Connie, I use a Bunn coffee maker. But I roast my own beans. :) Sounds like I need to do a blog about roasting coffee beans.

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    2. I would so read that! I like coffee at a restaurant, but just don't care for it when I make it at home. Thanks for the info!

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  4. Great advice, DiAnn. I'm glad to hear you say you could hear the cries of the soldiers at Gettysburg. When we visited Vicksburg battlefield, I said I could smell the smoke. For me, it was real. For everyone else, they thought I was a bit nuts.I think writers are more aware of these things than others. Our job is to get that same feeling on the pages. Your advice is timely.

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    1. Hi Vicki, so glad this helped you. You weren't nuts at Gettysburg - or many of us are right there with you.

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  5. I can usually tell when an author has done their research. Knowing the setting and history behind it is just as important as the development of the characters to me. DiAnn Mills is a great storyteller and I appreciate the chance to win and read this newest one,

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    1. Hi Gail, thanks for your kind words!

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  6. Always enjoy reading her books. This sounds like a great series!

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  7. DiAnn Mills is new to me. I found this very interesting to learn more about the process. Thank you so much.
    Be Blessed!

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    1. Hi Justina, Thanks for taking the time to read my blog and entering the giveaway.

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  8. Great advise for writers DiAnn.

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  9. I love opening the pages of a book and stepping into a vivid story world! Thank you for sharing this great post and giveaway!

    texaggs2000 at gmail dot com

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    1. Hi Britney, Thank you for posting and entering the giveaway!

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  10. I am looking forward to reading this book. Blessings, Kristie
    tklovenestataoldotcom

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  11. I appreciate an author's attention to detail that enables me to experience the story in deeper way. I enjoy being swept away to another time and place. Thank you for the post and giveaway.

    psalm103and138 at gmail dot com

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    1. Hi Caryl, we writers always want our readers to have an unforgettable experience. Thanks!

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  12. I have been reading a lot lately about making the setting a character in the story so I am trying to apply that to my WIP. I have one scene that will use weather as the antagonist. I always look forward to your writing advice DiAnn. Thanks for the giveaway too!

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    1. Hi Loraine, in each scene look for a way that setting can be used against the character. Thanks for posting.

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  13. The setting is what pulls me in and makes the book good. You rock with settings and everything else!
    Martha T.
    CRPrairie1(@)imonmaildotcom

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  14. Thank you for the great info, DiAnn! Have a wonderful weekend! mauback55 at gmail dot com

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  15. Thank you for the great info, DiAnn! Have a wonderful weekend! mauback55 at gmail dot com

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    1. Hi Melanie, thanks for entering the giveaway.

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  16. Emotion is a must in books that I read...this is great advice for writers.
    debsbunch777(at)gmail(dot)com

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  17. Beverly Duell-MooreAugust 5, 2016 at 2:42 PM

    Love your books!! Congrats on all your awards!

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    1. Thanks Beverly - and thank you for reading them.

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  18. Wonderful suggestions for writers. As a reader, I love all I learn from the extensive research that the author does. You can almost feel like you are there!
    bettimace at gmail dot com

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  19. As a reader I like to find myself immersed in the setting. It should add substance to a story.


    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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  20. Interesting interview. As I think about it, the books I enjoy most are those which give you the feeling of being there or that it's a place you would want to visit.
    betsylu2@msn.com

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  21. I love DiAnn's writing! As a reader, I love to get swept up in great settings, characters who seem as if I could befriend them, and a strong faith-thread! Thanks for the interview and book giveaway!

    teamob4 (at) gmail (dot) com

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    1. Hi Trixi, and properly written setting is part of the adventure.

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  22. I love Diann's books. With her books I easily get swept in the story. Thanks for the giveaway. kirstenrinehart@gmail.com

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