INTERVIEW WITH DIANN MILLS
How do you come up with fresh ideas for your books? How do you beat writer’s block?
My ideas come from the media, dreams, watching TV or movies, and sometimes ideas just pop into my head. Writer’s block means I don’t know what happens next. When I’m stuck, I do one of three things: (1) write a scene I know is coming, (2) go back to the beginning and read and edit, or (3) do something else creative like cook, garden, or shopping.
How do you come up with your ideas for plots, characters, and settings?
Through life experiences, media reports, conversations, dreams, observing people, and the belief people are impacted by story. My goal is for the plot to twist and turn in unpredictable but believable ways. I strive for characters who are three dimensional with realistic (messy) backgrounds. Settings are designed to be antagonistic, so the character is challenged deal with yet one more way to change and grow.
How do you develop your plots? Do you outline them, knowing the end before you start? Do you let the plot develop as you go? Or do you use some other technique?
I’m an organic writer, which means everything rises from character. No, I do not outline because that process ruins my creative adventure. If a plot sails into unexpected waters, I want the surprise to be as huge for me as the reader.
What matters most is characterization. Before writing chapter one, line one, I pose several pages of questions and exercises through an interview with my character. The psychological aspect is critical in establishing goals, fears, wants, and needs. This allows me to know my character as much as possible before beginning, but I learn more about the character as the story unfolds.
Why did you decide to become a writer in the romantic suspense genre specifically?
Romantic suspense is my favorite genre. We live in a dangerous and unpredictable world. My goal is to show real relational people who are trained to keep us safe. And along the way, they find the gift of love.
What’s the most challenging thing about being a Christian author in this genre?
Making violence a part of the story but keeping graphic scenes that glorify the violence out.
What role does faith play in the story?
My hero and heroine are snipers. Those who serve and defend us sometimes face situations where taking a life may be necessary. How does God view a sniper, soldier, law enforcement officer, or a person who protects himself or others? Where does God fit? The Scriptures show us many instances of God assisting His people in killing entire armies during times of war. If we are to live in a country without anarchy, we need police and soldiers. David, a man after God’s own heart, was a skilled warrior. While God despises the shedding of blood, He also knows what’s in the hearts of evil people. God is just. God is righteous. I believe a Christian involved in law enforcement is doing a good and godly thing to stop evil.
Do you have any unusual writing techniques or strategies?
I have a definite word count for each day and editing is done before moving on to the next scene or chapter. I’m most creative in the early mornings. I start my day in God’s word, then grab my laptop, and head to my treadmill. The laptop props nicely allowing me to exercise my body at the same time I’m writing.