Thursday, November 26, 2009
Interview and book giveaway with DiAnn Mills!
Today, I’d like to welcome award-winning author DiAnn Mills who was my first writing mentor and has been an encouragement and blessing to me over the years. DiAnn launched her career in 1998 with the publication of her first book. Currently she has over forty books in print and has sold more than 1.5 million copies.
DiAnn believes her readers should “Expect an Adventure” as she combines an adventuresome spirit with unforgettable characters to create action-packed novels.
LISA: You have three books set in Africa, two fiction and one non-fiction. Can you tell us briefly about the fiction series as well as Lost Boy No More?
DIANN: Lost Boy No More is a nonfiction book about Abraham Nhial and his journey from his homeland in Sudan as a nine-year-old boy to the United States. Through the eyes of Abraham, the reader learns about Sudan’s history, religion, politics, natural resources, and slavery.
When the Lion Roars is a fiction novel about three different people and how their lives weave through the tragic civil war in Sudan and the slavery issue. The characters include a white American woman doctor, an Arab Christian, and a black warlord.
When the Nile Runs Red is the second book about these three people. The time period is right after the peace treaty is signed between north and south Sudan. The story weaves their unique personalities and how they view the best way to mend the people and the country, while a plot unfolds to kill the Arab Christian.
LISA: What first drew you to write about this continent?
DIANN: I think Africa chose me! When I was approached to write a book about the Lost Boys of Sudan, I wasn’t even sure where Sudan was located in Africa. The more I studied and learned about the people and the country, the more I fell in love.
LISA: What one moment still stands out about your trip to Sudan?
DIANN: The incredible faith of the Sudanese Christians. When a Sudanese says “Jesus is enough,” and we consider all the tragedies that have befallen these people, then Jesus is truly enough.
LISA: Amazing and so true! What did you find challenging/rewarding about your trip?
DIANN: Challenging: the primitive conditions. Rewarding: meeting the people and listening to their stories--and their faith.
LISA: Give us a glimpse into what was necessary to research your books.
DIANN: In the nonfiction, I interviewed hundreds of people: Lost Boys, Sudanese refugees (men and women), and those who worked with the Sudanese. Some of those who worked with the refugees represented Christian organizations, and others did not. The experiences and information were often emotional. The directors and teachers of the refugee camps were extremely helpful.
The organizations here in the US who are instrumental in helping the Lost Boys shared with me their victories and their defeats.
I also researched African politics, the history of Sudan, slavery, natural resources - specifically oil, and religion. I took a twelve week class on the Muslim religion to better understand the culture of the government and its people.
LISA: Many of our readers are also writers. What advise can you give to authors as they seek to up the suspense in their own novels?
1. Continue to raise the stakes by allowing the character(s) to walk through fire. Sometimes allowing the character to be burned and other times allowing the character to be singed.
2. Use words that build suspense, which means avoid the poetic and flowery words used in romance and fantasy novels.
3. Use the ticking-clock tool to keep the reader turning pages.
4. John Gardner wrote: “Create the best possible characters and allow the worst possible things to happen to them.”
5. Emotive conflict is the key to a page-turning novel
LISA: Your tagline is Expect and Adventure, and you have two books coming out soon that fulfill that very promise, Sworn to Protect and A Woman Called Sage. Can you tell us a bit about both books?
DIANN: A Woman Called Sage is a historical novel to be released March 1 by Zondervan. A woman bounty hunter searches for the killers of her husband, only to discover she has become the hunted.
Sworn to Protect is a contemporary suspense novel to be released April 1 by Tyndale. This is the second novel in the Call of Duty series. A Border Patrol agent in McAllen, Texas fights to uphold the law while struggling with her personal life torn apart by violent crime.
Thanks so much for sharing with us today! To find out more about DiAnn and her books, please visit her website. DiAnn has also offered to give away a copy of When the Nile Runs Red. Please leave a comment on this post with a way for me to contact you. I’ll draw a winner on December 5th. US addresses only please.
And for those in the US, have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!