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Interview With DiAnn Mills

I'd like to introduce DiAnn Mills, a prolific ACFW author. DiAnn and her husband Dean have been married for twelve years. They have four adult sons and are eagerly waiting for grandchildren. DiAnn currently has sixteen novels, fourteen novellas, a non-fiction book, several articles and short stories in print. She believes her readers should "Expect an Adventure." DiAnn lives in sunny Houston, Texas, the home of heat, humidity, and Harleys. In fact she'd own one, but her legs are too short. DiAnn and her husband are active members of Metropolitan Baptist Church.

SW: Welcome, DiAnn! Tell us a little bit about your road to publication.

DM: I wrote from the time I could hold a pencil. My first stories were on Big Chief paper, and I filled them up. Guess you would say I was a closet writer until 1996 when my husband said. "Stop saying someday you are going to write a book. Just do it." So I did, and my first book was released by Heartsong Presents in September 1998. That gave me the confidence to start putting all the stories swimming around in my head on paper.

SW: Do you write full time? If yes, can you give us a glimpse into your daily writing life? If not, what is your day job?

DM: I write full time, but the writing life is not just about writing. It's about promotion, planning, proposals – and prayer. I'm up at 4:30, and that is when I spend time with the Lord. After that I work through e-mails and critique my writing students. At 6:30 I exercise for an hour, breakfast, and get ready for the day. I do have a word count per day of approximately 2500, so that takes a good chunk of my time.

Not only do I write, mentor for the Christian Writer's Guild, and do speaking events, but I am also working on a Biblical Studies Degree, so I have to allow study time during my day.

SW: What was your biggest obstacle in regards to writing and/or getting published? How did you overcome it?

DM: Overcoming the fear of failure – lack of confidence. It was my husband who encouraged and supported me. He is still my biggest fan and critiques my work with a critical eye. He also manages the business side of things. We both work at home, so he can work his regular job and keep me walking the straight and narrow.

SW: What has been the highest moment of your writing/publishing career?

DM: My Sudan books: Lost Boy No More (non fiction) and When the Lion Roars (fiction). Both of these were a challenge. What I value the most is the spiritual growth resulting in the researching and interviewing Sudanese and those who work with Sudanese from around the world.

SW: Who/What is your greatest inspiration to write? Where do your story ideas come from?

DM: My greatest inspiration to write was my husband. I felt God calling me to write, but I couldn't bring myself to take that plunge until my husband pushed me.

The writer who aspired me to do stretch is Tracie Peterson. She always encouraged me.

Where do my stories come from? Oh my...Dreams. Other people's lives. Newspapers. Media reports. Documentaries. How about just plain life.

SW: Are you a seat-of-the-pants writer, or do you plot extensively before your fingers hit the keyboard?

DM: I plot extensively before my fingers hit the keyboard. I am a firm believer in Donald Maass's Writing the Breakout Novel and his workbook by the same name.

SW: I'm notorious for *snacking* while I write! Do you have any favorite munchies you wouldn't mind us knowing about?

DM: Hmm. Lots of coffee. If I munched on things, I'd been worrying about gaining weight instead of writing or editing.

SW: How do you strike an agreeable "balance" between your writing time and other responsibilities?

DM: I have a schedule posted on a small bulletin board behind my computer. This helps me keep on track for all parts of my life. I also pray about my activities because I tend to be performance-driven instead of God-driven. I also have a problem with perfectionism instead of being who God wants me to be. Now you have two of my faults.

SW: Who is your favorite character in your books, and how did you come up with that character?

DM: My favorite character is Casey O'Hare from Leather and Lace (February 2006). She was an outlaw, spunky, independent, intelligent, stubborn, and with just enough flaws to make her a prime candidate for a Christian. I don't remember when she entered my head, but she was there for a long time tempting me to write her story.

SW: How do you deal with publisher rejections? Crawl in bed under the covers for an entire day? Indulge in double-fudge chocolate? Or just brush it off?

DM: I analyze the situation and see what I can do to make the proposal better. I often bounce off ideas from trusted writing friends and my husband. Then I rework what was written. So in answer to your question: I don't crawl in bed for a day or indulge in chocolate or brush it off. Does it bother me? By all means. But that means it needs a revision.

SW: Where do you see yourself ten years from now?

DM: Writing bigger books, pursuing more education, teaching writing, and continuing in the ministry that purposes me. Yes, I have goals – like developing a retreat for writers and those in various ministries, but all that has to be a God-thing.

SW: These have been fairly standard questions. What is one thing you'd like to share with up-and-coming writers that they may not even know to ask yet?

DM: You have to put God first. You have to give what you know about writing and life to others. You must have a teachable spirit. And you never learn all there is to know about writing, life, and God.

SW: You have a new title coming out, right? Tell us about it.

DM: Leather and Lace published by Barbour Books is the first in a trilogy entitled The Texas Legacy.

Casey O'Hare forsakes life with an outlaw gang to start anew in 1884. Wanted posters across the country attribute various crimes to her of which is innocent. The outlaw leader, Davis Jenkins, and her brother Tim ride in her pursuit, while a stranger by the name of Morgan enters her campsite in the snow-covered mountains of Utah. Under gunpoint, he leads her down the icy slopes to safety, but Casey learns Morgan is using her to get to Jenkins. Could this Morgan be an angel sent to deliver her – or the devil setting her up for the kill? Will Casey's past catch up with her, or will she find a place to rest?

I want to thank DiAnn for such a warm and sharing interview. Check out DiAnn's website at and run out and purchase your own copy of Leather and Lace today!

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