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.
In this interview, DiAnn talks with us about her newest novel, Facing the Enemy.
FF: Where did you come up with the idea for the plot of Facing the Enemy?
We lost one of our sons in July 2021 in a pedestrian accident. At that time, I journaled my grief and sorrow. Soon after, I needed to start this book and chose to have the heroine experience the same type of loss. Writing the emotions was raw and healing. The rest of the story emerged from my imagination!
FF: Can you tell us about some of the research that went into writing about FBI operations?
In 2012, I took the FBI Citizens Academy classes. Those sessions and the continuing of workshops and experiences help me create authenticity. I also have a go-to agent in Washington, DC, who answers my questions.
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?
Grief—what the heroine experiences in the loss of her brother
Sacrifice—two areas here: the heroine watches her brother sacrifice his life for her, and she sacrifices her career to keep others safe
Unconditional love—the heroine experiences unconditional love from her brother, the man who loved her, and God
Determination—the heroine is determined to find who killed her brother no matter the cost
Passion—showing how the heroine would do anything to prevent child abuse
FF: This novel dives into the topic of loss; how does the main character, Risa, cope with grief?
Risa copes with grief in ways that are healthy and some ways that are not healthy. While she knows time should heal, there are occasions when she shuts down and tries to ignore the raw emotions. My goal is for readers to see grief has to be faced—facing the enemy—and the path needs God’s love and guidance.
FF: How does faith play a role in the story?
Risa struggles with her faith when her brother is killed. She desperately needs someone to blame, and that becomes God and herself. In her darkest moments, she realizes we all choose our behavior: the good guys and the bad guys. Risa is a perfectionist, but we don’t live in a perfect world. That’s why God is our rock and shield.
FF: What inspired the personality traits of your main character, Risa?
She’s independent, a perfectionist, intelligent, imaginative, realistic, creative, and capable of deep love for children and others. But she blames herself and God for her brother’s untimely death. I wanted a heroine who is stubbornly open to grow and change into a better person.
FF: What was your favorite scene to write in Facing the Enemy?
Favorite scene…I’d say when she loses her temper with a young man who is a suspect. Then realizes what she’s done.
FF: What was the most challenging scene to write in the book?
The beginning when Risa’s brother is killed.
FF: Which minor character is your favorite?
Carson. He tries so hard to be a good son and step forward to do the right thing.
FF: How is this book similar and different from your many award-winning books?
I hope this book is different with unique characters and plot. But my books always show the power of redemption, whether the characters choose to accept Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross or live life their own way. Another similarity is to show at least one character who lives life and solves his or her problems from a Christian worldview. Note the key word is show.
Facing the Enemy
Genres: Mystery & Suspense, Romantic Suspense
Release Date: September 5, 2023
For the past five years, FBI Special Agent Risa Jacobs has worked in the violent crimes against children division of the Houston FBI. She’s never had reason to believe there’s a target on her back…until now.
When the long-awaited reunion between Risa and her brother, Trenton, ends in tragedy, Risa is riddled with guilt, unable to cope with the responsibility she feels over his death. On leave from the FBI, Risa returns to her former career as an English teacher at a local college, only to see her past and present collide when one of her students, Carson Mercury, turns in an assignment that reads like an eyewitness account of her brother’s murder, with details never revealed publicly.
Alarmed by Carson’s inside knowledge of Trenton’s death, Risa reaches out to her former partner at the FBI. Special Agent Gage Patterson has been working a string of baby kidnappings, but he agrees to help look into Carson’s background. Risa and Gage soon discover their cases might be connected as a string of high-value thefts have occurred at properties where security systems were installed by Carson’s stepfather and children have gone missing. There’s a far more sinister plot at play than they ever imagined, and innocent lives are in danger.
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