DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She creates action-packed, suspense-filled novels to thrill readers. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists and won two Christy Awards, the Golden Scroll, Inspirational Reader’s Choice, and Carol Award contests. Firewall, the first book in her FBI: Houston Series, was listed by Library Journal as one of the best Christian fiction books of 2014.
In this interview, DiAnn talks with us regarding her latest novel, Concrete Evidence.
FF: Where did you come up with the idea for the plot of Concrete Evidence?
1. Exploring two people who face the reality of abandonment issues, deal with betrayal, yet find love in their struggle to align faith and life.
2. A concern for our country’s infrastructure, especially dams, and the destruction of lives and property in the event of a breach. What characterized a person who had the most to lose if a dam broke and had the most to gain by uncovering a plot to breach the structure.
FF: Can you tell us about some of the research that went into writing about situations in Concrete Evidence?
The intense research was in dam construction: Texas and federal regulations, the types of dams, building materials, periodic testing, and the warning signs that a dam hasn’t been constructed correctly or a problem exists.
FF: 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?
Unconditional love. Parental abuse. Betrayal. Lies. Grandparents raising grandchildren. Genetic diseases. All of us have been betrayed by someone we love or trust. The resulting stinging emotions can help us grow and become better people, but first we must deal with the pain in a healthy manner. Grandparents raising grandchildren results when a parent isn’t willing or able to nurture and care for a child/children. The question of why ushers in a range of emotions for the parent or grandparent.
FF: Your novels often have connections to Texas and Houston, in particular, where you live. What do you enjoy most in writing about Texas and Texans?
I can visit the settings for credibility and use accurate sensory perception to root the reader into the adventure. The weather, language, food, and other Houston-area Gulf Coast culture makes it easier for the reader to enjoy the experience.
FF: How does faith play a role in the story?
The heroine is a believer, but the circumstances of her grandfather, also a believer, involved with horrendous crimes shakes her relationship with God. Faith means trusting in a God who is sovereign and loves us unconditionally.
FF: What inspired the personality traits of your main characters, Avery Elliott and Marc Wilkins?
Avery needed to be smart, independent, and understand dam construction as well as ranch life. This meant she could create a dam proposal and run a ranch without the advice of others. Her one weakness is her love for her grandfather.
Marc grew up in a single parent home without the advantage of a caring father. When Marc reaches adulthood and serves others through a career as an FBI special agent, his estranged father dies. While Marc chose to follow Christ as a young teen, he couldn’t forgive his father. Investigating his father’s death at the request of his mother
FF: What was your favorite scene to write in Concrete Evidence?
My favorite scene to write was the climax, but it was also the most challenging. I wanted to show the horrific devastation caused by fast flooding water and the helplessness in attempting to control it. Woven in this black moment was Avery’s sacrifice to risk her life to not only help Marc but a man who had committed atrocious crimes.
FF: What was the most challenging scene to write in the book?
Also the climax. I envisioned the rising water and the antagonist’s refusal to adhere to the warnings. My goal focused on intense emotions that tested the hero and heroine.
FF: What are you most excited for your readers to experience through reading this novel?
The power of unconditional love when faced with betrayal. How do we survive?
FF: Can you tell us about some future projects you’re working on?
I’m currently writing a story about a woman whose brother sacrifices his life for her in a pedestrian hit-and-run, meant for her. She is an FBI special agent who works in the violent crime against children division. The grief and guilt shatter her emotions. Her family and loved ones are threatened if she doesn’t resign from the FBI. That includes her parents and the man she loves. The story shows the emotional depths of grief and love while moving forward to find out who killed her brother.
Genres: Mystery/Suspense, Legal Thriller, Romantic Suspense
Release Date: October 4, 2022
On the family’s Brazos River Ranch in Texas, Avery Elliott helps run her grandfather’s commercial construction business. Raised by Senator Elliott, Avery has never doubted her grandfather is the man of integrity and faith she’s always believed him to be…until the day she finds him standing with a gun over the body of a dead man. To make matters worse, Avery’s just discovered a billing discrepancy for materials supposedly purchased for construction of the Lago de Cobre Dam.
Desperate for answers, Avery contacts FBI Special Agent Marc Wilkins for help. As Marc works to identify the dead man Avery saw, threats toward Avery create a fresh sense of urgency to pinpoint why someone wants to silence her. With a hurricane approaching the Texas coast and the structural integrity of the Lago de Cobre Dam called into question, time is running out to get to the bottom of a sinister plot that could be endangering the lives of not only Avery and her loved ones but the entire community.
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