By George Ebey
Author DiAnn Mills brings us a tale of faith and murder in her latest thriller, CONCRETE EVIDENCE.
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.
The Big Thrill recently chatted with Mills to learn more about this story and the elements that went into creating it.
Tell us about your main character Avery Elliot. What has her journey been like so far?
Avery has been raised by her grandfather since she was 11 years old. She works for him in a dual role of helping him run his Texas ranch and his concrete construction business. He’s shown her unconditional love, the value of education, faith, and how to give back to the community. With her education behind her, Avery is content and satisfied. Until she sees her beloved grandfather standing over a body with a gun in his hand. Shocked and afraid, she is determined to find out the truth.
Which took shape first: plot, character, or setting?
The setting of Texas took shape first. The plot followed, then the POV characters who would have the most to lose and the most to gain with the high stakes.
Since the setting of Texas took shape first, can you tell us what it was about that setting that drew you to it?
I live in Texas and I love the romance of a ranch setting. My husband and I enjoy the rural setting and especially the huge horse and cattle ranches. I take photos and dream about what it would be like to enjoy a ranch-type life.
What attracts you to this book’s genre?
We live in a dangerous and unpredictable world. I want to share courageous men and women committed to protecting the innocent and finding love during the story.
What elements do you feel are essential for a great suspense story?
It’s all about the strength of the lead character(s): courage, sacrifice, determination, intelligence, and a willingness to do whatever it takes to unravel a suspenseful situation. Number two: a problem for the character(s) to solve that if ignored, people could be hurt, killed, property damaged, or quality of life destroyed. Number three: rising unpredictable tension, stress, and conflict that keeps the reader turning pages (or swiping at a screen) until the ultimate, hold-your-breath, can’t-see-how-this-can-be-resolved climax.
What was the biggest challenge this book presented? What about the biggest opportunity?
The biggest challenge focused on the research: how dams are constructed and what could go wrong. The biggest opportunity was meeting an engineer who constructed dams all over the world. I learned a lot!
Was there anything new you discovered, or that surprised you, as you wrote this book?
I’m an organic, seat-of-the-pants writer, and my surprise was to learn the identity of the antagonist.
This book is listed as a religious thriller. Can you tell us a little bit about how this story fits into that category and what led you to choose it as a theme you wanted to explore?
I want to show at least one character who solves his or her problems from a Christian worldview. My stories are not about preaching, Bible verses, or telling readers how to live their lives. But a character who is real, faces life’s problems, and insurmountable danger. I show sacrifice for a noble cause, mistakes and consequences, and hopefully an unforgettable thriller.
No spoilers, but what can you tell us about your book that we won’t find in the jacket copy or the PR material?
The depths of those who seek power and revenge for selfish purposes.
DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She weaves memorable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels. Mills believes every breath of life is someone’s story, so why not capture those moments and create a thrilling adventure?
Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists and won two Christy Awards, the Golden Scroll, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests.
Mills is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and an active member of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Mystery Writers of America, the Jerry Jenkins Writers Guild, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She continues her passion of helping other writers be successful, speaking to various groups and teaching writing workshops around the country.
Mills 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.
Mills is very active online and would love to connect with readers on: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Goodreads, BookBub, YouTube, LinkedIn, or her website: www.diannmills.com.