Always a pleasure to have DiAnn Mills stop by for a chat! Today, we’re talking about her suspense release Fatal Strike!
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 Reader’s Choice, and Carol Award contests. Firewall, the first book in her Houston: FBI series, was listed by Library Journal as one of the best Christian fiction books of 2014.
DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She is codirector of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, 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.
DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on Facebook: www.facebook.com/DiAnnMills, Twitter: https://twitter.com/diannmills, or any of the social media platforms listed at www.diannmills.com.
GENRE: Inspirational Romantic Suspense
PUBLISHER: Tyndale House
RELEASE DATE: September 3, 2019
There’s a killer on the loose in Galveston, targeting law enforcement officials and using a fatal injection of snake venom to take them down. Authorities have reasons to believe the Veneno gang is behind the hits, and FBI Agents Leah Riesel and Jon Colbert team up to track down those responsible. Their best lead is an eyewitness who identifies a young man dumping the third body on a church doorstep. But their suspect has gone into hiding, and those closest to him are reluctant to reveal anything that might help investigators find him.
As Leah and Jon check connections among the victims and dig deeper into motives, they discover appearances may be deceiving. Someone is desperate to keep their secrets hidden, and Leah and Jon must face their greatest fears in order to stop the next fatal strike.
Hi DiAnn! Welcome back to the blog!
Q: What do you enjoy most in writing about the work of the FBI?
DiAnn: Creating courageous men and women who dedicate their lives to keep us safe while showing traits that make them relatable and real.
Carrie: You do that so well too!
Q: What role does faith play in the story?
DiAnn: 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.
Carrie: Amen! Well said.
Q: Can you tell us about some of the research that went into writing Fatal Strike?
DiAnn: I interviewed a gentleman who worked FBI SWAT. I learned so much about teamwork, the role of a negotiator, and the training. A sniper is used as a last resort when all other means of negotiation fail and people are in danger. The sniper must be confident his or her shot will not hurt another person. Following a mission, the team discusses what went well, what went wrong, and how the operation could be improved.
Carrie: That has to be so much pressure – to be a sniper…
Q: What inspired the plot of Fatal Strike —especially the motif of snakes and venom?
DiAnn: First of all, I hate snakes. 🙂 And I believe in writing what we fear. I knew I wanted a female FBI agent who also worked SWAT and had the role of a sniper. What if she were afraid of snakes? How would bad guys use rattlesnake venom? While a rattler bite is not always deadly, it is fatal (fatal strike) when injected into the heart. Plus, the bad guy leaves less evidence by eliminating the need to discard a knife or giving law enforcement an opportunity to trace a bullet.
Carrie: <shudder> To quote Indiana Jones, Why did it have to be snakes? 😉
Q: What was your favorite scene to write?
DiAnn: Actually, there are two. (1) Leah faces her nemesis when she’s given what she thinks is a box of flowers and a rattler is inside. Loved her reaction. (2) Leah and her dad reunite after years of estrangement. I cried during that scene.
Carrie: 1) that sounds like a fun scene to write, with all kinds of tension, and 2) I will keep the tissue box handy for this read!
Q: Tell us about some of the core themes you discuss in this novel. How can your readers relate to these areas in their own lives?
DiAnn: There are two important themes in this story: (1) how unforgiveness can make us bitter and the peace of embracing forgiveness and (2) the power of adoption in families and in the spiritual realm. Leah comes from a family that has embraced adoption, and both she and Jon go on a spiritual journey exploring what it means to be adopted into God’s family.
Carrie: I love the adoption theme and how it ties in to our relationship with God!
Q: For the writers who follow my blog … How do you come up with fresh ideas for your books? How do you beat writer’s block?
DiAnn: 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. I’m an organic writer, so the idea of an outline destroys my adventure. 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.
Carrie: “the idea of an outline destroys my adventure” – i love that! lol
Q: Why did you decide to become a writer in the romantic suspense genre specifically?
DiAnn: 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.
Carrie: that’s why i love reading this genre too!
Q: What’s the most challenging thing about being a Christian author in this genre?
DiAnn: Making violence a part of the story, but keeping graphic scenes that glorify the violence out.
Carrie: I’d imagine that can be a very fine line!
Thank you so much for taking time to talk with me! 🙂 Before we say goodbye for today, tell us what‘s coming up next for you.
DiAnn: I’m finishing up a book currently titled Airborne. A female FBI agent boards a plane in Houston for Salzburg, Austria. She needs a vacation to renew her relationship with God and to figure out her future. Her husband has moved out, wants a divorce, and he doesn’t know she’s pregnant. Two hours into the flight, symptoms become evident of a deadly virus onboard, and her husband, a bioengineer, becomes a person of interest.
Carrie: eep!!! So excited!!!
Tyndale House is offering a print copy of Fatal Strike to one of my readers! (US only) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What interests you most about Fatal Strike?