Lightning and Lace is the third installment in DiAnn Mills' "Texas Legacy" series by Barbour Publishing. DiAnn graciously sent me a copy of her book so I could help her with her blog tour (a blog tour, incidentally, is where bloggers such as me write and help promote a book, such as this. Authors are starting to use this as a 21st century "grass roots" promotional book tour!).
I have truly enjoyed reading Lightning and Lace and now I want to go back and read the first two installments in the series! However, I must say that I did not feel at a loss to have begun with the third book. That's always a plus for me! Snaps for DiAnn!
And now, a Q&A for DiAnn Mills! (For her website, please click on the banner!)
How old were you when you began writing?
Actually I was in the second grade. I wrote poetry and stories. Then I remember filling up a Big Chief pad with my first book - a western. I don’t remember what happened in the story except the hero always rode off into the west at the end of each chapter. I imagine it resembled Wagon Train, since that was my favorite TV show at the time. My goodness, I hope some of your readers know that classic!
What is your most important aspect of writing?
Without a doubt, it is characterization. I’m a character-driven writer, and that means my goal is to write real “people” who react and respond to the events and happenings in their lives according to their traits. When you consider how long we have lived to develop our character, then you have an idea the formidable job a writer has in developing credible, colorful, and compelling characters. Characterization drives plot. Stop for a moment to consider your favorite books or movies. The plot may have intricate twists and turns, but it’s the characters who become unforgettable.
What part of the writing process is your favorite?
I don’t think I have a favorite because the process all builds to a finished project: a novel that inspires and entertains.
I’ve already stated how I feel about characterization.
Plotting is an extension of characterization.
The actual breakout of words on paper and seeing the story come to life thrills me.
Editing to make my novel the best.
Marketing and networking is an opportunity to promote the story God has given me and to make new friends.
What part of the writing process is your least favorite?
The scary part. When the book is released. I think of it like a mom who sends her precious child to the first day of school. She wants the child to behave and have everyone love him/her, but what if the child comes home with a note that says the child was naughty?
I hear you and other writers use the word “passion” when you speak about writing. What does that mean to you?
Passion in writing involves a number of aspects. At least it does for me. Passion for writing is like telling a pastor to preach his best sermon, a singer to sing his favorite song, a dancer to reenact the finest performance, or an artist to transfer a dream onto canvas. Many times a writer has this type of feeling or a passion for a topic or story idea. The writer can not, not write it.
Where did you get your inspiration for The Texas Legacy Series?
For years I had this idea about a lady outlaw who decides that she’s had enough and leaves the gang. Along the way, she finds the Lord, but the guilt and shame of her past plague her journey. That was Leather and Lace. In the writing of the first book, I realized the hero had a brother and sister. Each one had a story that begged to be told. Lanterns and Lace is about the younger brother, a doctor who adopts an infant from a dying prostitute. Lightning and Lace is about the sister who is forced to face life as a widow and runs head-on into a man who is attempting to live down a troubled past.
What tips can you give for new writers?
Establish a time and stick to it.
Read your genre and out of your genre.
Attend writing conferences
Be diligent to the craft.
What you learn, pass on to someone else
Be teachable – both mentally and spiritually
And here are some thoughts about Lightning and Lace:
When Characters become Friends
by DiAnn Mills
A mixture of emotions swept over me last week when my third and final book in the Texas Legacy Series stepped into the marketplace. I’ve grown to love these characters – everything about them. I love their stubborn moments, their victories, their defeats, the way they love, and even the way they hate. They fight for what they believe in, and God is always right. For the past two years, I’ve wakened to the sound of their voices ringing in my head and to their problems. I watched the women slip into their dresses and bonnets, and the men tug on their boots. Actually, the women sometimes wiggled into a pair of boots and pants too. I rode the gentle mares and the wild broncos and held my breath. I lifted my Winchester, tensed my body for the kickback and sent bullets flying into targets, some of which were human. I celebrated with them, and I cried with them. I cheered when they triumphed and wanted to shake them when they made poor decisions.
In short, my characters have become my friends, and it’s hard to let them go. Unfortunately, I experience this grieving period every time I finish a book or series. I feel abandoned and lost, since too often I’m thinking about them just after I say my prayers and before I drift off to sleep. Dare I say that I worry about my characters? Hope they are not quarreling with their spouses or their children? That life hasn’t given them another dose of bitter herbs?
This bizarre and sometimes eccentric habit of mine is not much different from the habits of many of my other writer friends. How else can a writer create a character unless he/she first understands their motivation? And while these characters are on a journey called life, I realize the many reasons why I enjoy them.
I also realize their problems and issues. The storms of life that beat against our doors today have been happening since time began.
I consider Leather and Lace. Casey O’Hare didn’t start out life wanting to be an outlaw. Quite the contrary, she had hopes and dreams like every little girl until life slapped her in the face, and she chose to survive in the only way she knew. Many women today have made poor choices when faced with the dredges of life. We all have. I wrote that book for those women.
Jenny in Lanterns and Lace desperately wanted someone to love her. Is that such a bad thing, since we were created with a deep desire to be loved? The problem is, where do we go for love? Jenny thought unconditional love was a myth until the great Lover showed her differently.
Bonnie abhorred the disease that ravaged her beloved husband and left her a widow in Lightning and Lace. But she is determined, and alcohol is not the answer. Substance abuse is not native to today’s world. Wherever there is pain and suffering, people will look for a way to manage their sorrow.
Oh my, I do hope my darlings will be fine. They will be back next fall in a Christmas Legacy book, and then that is truly the end.
So today, I’m creating new friends. Already I know they won’t behave in every instance, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. I’m on my way to a new adventure. And, by the way, this is a contemporary.
Thanks so much, Diann!