Today I have the privilege of introducing DiAnn Mills to you as not only an accomplished author with several books to her acclaim and who we’re familiar with her as but as a book club leader. DiAnn thanks for sharing, you are a woman of many talents.
How did the Lord involve you with book clubs? When did you start running one?
Our book club began as a two-fold project. We wanted to share our love of inspirational fiction with others and reach out to the community in and around our church for this effort. We began about ten months ago. So we're new at this and loving the learning process.
DiAnn, I’m interested in being apart of your book club, could you please describe for me what I can expect? What does your typical meetings look like? Does your group have a name? If so, what is it?
Our book club is very informal. The books are purchased the previous month so each member can enjoy the book and form their own opinions and questions. We begin at 9:30 a.m. with a social time of about fifteen minutes in which we enjoy coffee and goodies. Never mind if a member is on a diet, someone will split the goodies with you. :) Books for the next month are purchased, and these are for all genres in the inspirational market. New members complete a registration form and receive a schedule of the upcoming featured novels, including what author will be present. We begin with prayer and any prayer requests from the group. We ask that God bless our time together and show us what truth we are to learn from the morning’s discussion. Oddly enough, our club does not like to use the discussion questions often provided by the author. Instead they want to formulate their own questions and create discussions from their perspective. We are simply The Met Book Club and are a part of an outreach ministry of our church, Metropolitan Baptist Church. Our meetings last for an hour and a half, and members often go to lunch afterwards. :)
Had you ever been apart of a book club before you ran one?
No! Only participated as an author guest to various book club discussion meetings not as a member. What I did see is that the members were very appreciative of authors taking the time to visit their meetings. This made a huge impact on how our church's book club could be unique.
Does your book club socialize outside of your regular meetings? If so, what did you do or have you done as a group that you all enjoyed?
Many of our book club members are in my Sunday School/Small Group/Life Group class - whatever you refer to that group. So we not only see each other on Sundays, but we socialize monthly with our husbands and at the monthly book club meetings. Sometimes we meet for breakfast before the meeting, and sometimes we gather for lunch afterwards. Guest authors are invited!
Where does your book club physically meet? Do you have or have you had special book club events?
We meet in a Sunday School room on the third Thursday of the month from around 9:30 - 11:00. We haven't had special events other than reading books from local writers so that writer can visit. However, I'm "planning" a holiday breakfast for the November or December meeting, and possibly adopting a family in the area to shower them with gifts. Another thought is to contribute to our city's hunger mission.
Have you ever had an author speak at your book club, in person, or on the phone? If so, who? Any surprises you learned about the author and/or the book you didn’t know about before the chat?
One of my main goals for our book club was for authors to visit and share their passion for their book, answer questions, and generally make friends. I believe relationships are vital for believers, and it has nothing to do with buying books but making a positive impact for the kingdom. Living in Houston with our wide array of local writers has provided our book club with many dynamic personalities who have impressed book club members with their genuine love for God and the written word.
Have you read any of your books for the book club selections? How did that go? Did it feel weird for you to did you feel right at home? Please explain.
I've read all of the books and participated in all of the discussions, being careful not to say anything derogatory about the writing--characterization, plot, setting, writer etc. It's important for me to be a fan of all the writers from the book club's readings. I know the writers of all our selections, and I want the readers to understand their hearts. If the writer isn't present at our meeting, I lead out the discussion. :)
FUN QUESTIONS I JUST KNEW YOU WANTED TO ASK DiANN BUT WERE AFRAID TO SO I DID!!
Do you enjoy live theatre? If so, what is your favorite play you’ve seen live? If not, what are your favorite two movies of all time?
Yes! Houston has a good selection, and we've seen plays and musicals here an in other cities. I particularly enjoyed Les Miserables, seen in NY.
My favorite two movies of all times? That's tough! Gone with the Wind and Christmas in Vermont, (White Christmas).
Please name 4 of your favorite books your read growing up?
Little Women, Jo's Boys, Trixie Belden Series, Nancy Drew Series Now do you see why I like to write historical and suspense! :)
Have you ever been or would you like to go on a mission trip? If so where did you go and what did you do? If not, where would you like to go and what would you like to do?
I traveled to Southern Sudan in November 2006 to research a novel. Although I thought I would minister to them, the people of Southern Sudan ministered to me. And yes, I hope to return there. I help support a couple of Sudanese non-profit organizations. In fact, the proceeds from my books written about the Sudan go back to aid the Sudanese.
Please name 4 of your favorite TV shows you watched growing up that you just couldn’t miss!
Wagon Train, The Virginian, Dragnet, and Hawaii 50. Again, my interest in history and suspense. :)
ANY FINAL COMMENTS THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO TELL FUTURE BOOK CLUB LEADERS!SOME ENCOURAGEMENT, THINGS TO AVOID!WORDS OF WISDOM?
I believe book club leaders should reach out to the writers of the featured books. Many writers will make themselves available for a phone call during the meeting. In addition, book clubs that feature wholesome reading offer the women of the community a healthy outlet that will not only encourage them in their day-to-day life but offer an alternative to books that do not honor God.
Thanks for stopping by DiAnn and letting us get to know your group.If you are a book club leader or an author that leads a book club contact me at my blog, I’d love to interview and highlight your group. Just leave a comment. I'd love to talk to you!!
Until Next Time.
Nora St. Laurent
ACFW Book Club Coordinator
Posted by Nora StLaurent at 10:41 AM
Did you come up with the titles to your Chick lit book series? They are very catchy. If not, what were the working titles of your books?
I have to confess, I suck at titles. Sushi for One - was originally The Ephesians List, then Solo Sashimi in the proposal, but Zondervan marketing decided on Sushi for One.
Only Uni was originally The Corinthian Rules when I first wrote it,but after Sushi for One was titled, in my proposal, I gave it a working title of Only Uni. It wasn't a very good title, but I couldn't come up with anything better, and I thought they'd change it...except they liked it!
Single Sashimi was originally The Lone Rice Ball, but someone mentioned that it might be a racial slur, so there were a bunch of suggestions, and I suggested Single Sashimi.
Did you have any say so in the book covers for your books? They are very unique and have eye appeal. I really liked them. Were you pleased? Any cover stories you'd like to share-things that happened in choosing the cover for your books?
I love the covers! The women are beautiful and they look a bit like how I'd pictured the three cousins. What was funny was when my mom looked at the covers. She's pretty accurate at telling what exact ethnicity Asian people are by looking at them--whether Japanese,Chinese, Korean, etc. (I, however, pretty much suck at it). Lex and Trish (Sushi for One and Only Uni, the red and green covers) are supposed to be full Japanese, while Venus (Single Sashimi, the gold cover) is supposed to be half Chinese, half Japanese. But Mom looked at the covers and told me that she thinks the models for Sushi for One and Only Uni are Chinese! And then the model for Single Sashimi is Korean! LOL I told her I didn't care because they're all beautiful. :)
How did you come up with the idea for Deadly Intent? I really liked that this story took place in a spa—an experience with a spa? Have to do research? It was a fun back drop.
I wanted to place the book in a small town, with a small town feel,and zeroed in on Sonoma, California, since it's not only a small town,but also a tourist town with lots of traffic in and out--the perfect place for a murder, since there's a good possibility for a (deadly)chance encounter. Sonoma is mostly wineries, but I wanted to place the book somewhere unique, and came up with the idea of a day spa since
there are several decadent day spas in Sonoma to cater to the tourists. I actually based the Joy Luck Life spa off of the Burke Williams day spa in Santana Row in San Jose, California, which is simply one of the most luxurious spas I've ever been to (not that I've been to a lot of them...but I was blown away when I went with a friend
of mine a few years ago!). I bumped it up even more with my imagination and some help from the TV show Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. :)
Do you plan on writing anymore suspenseful stories like Deadly Intent? I kept looking at the front cover when I first started reading the book and verified that you were writing it. It was such a great change for you and the first series of books you wrote. I can’t imagine all the places you could go in your suspense/drama writing if you had a few more chapters to write!! I really can see you doing that!!
I actually just contracted for a sequel to Deadly Intent! It's called Formula for Danger and it'll be out in September next year. It's about the eldest sister, Rachel, who has a PhD and is the resident dermatologist researcher at the spa,coming up with unique skin care products for spa guests. However, someone is after her latest research and she turns for help to a local greenhouse farmer who has been
helping her develop the special plants for her new breakthrough product--and who is her secret crush. But now they're both in danger as someone tries to steal the new product and take Rachel's life at the same time!
Is being an author everything you thought it would be? If not, what has been surprising to you?
Now that I'm writing for a living, WRITING NEVER GETS ANY EASIER!!!!
What was your favorite scene in Deadly Intent to write? What was your hardest? Please explain.
My favorite scene in Deadly Intent is the kiss in the middle of the garden! (I mean, it's a kiss...of course it's a favorite scene! LOL) I imagine the gardens outside the Joy Luck Life spa to be like the gardens outside of the Kendall Jackson winery in Sonoma, which are beautiful!
The hardest scene is near the end when she's trying to escape the villain. I wanted a fight scene that would be realistic for a woman of Naomi's height, weight, and experience. I had to ask my husband--who watches a lot of mixed martial arts and jujitsu fights--to help me with how a woman could overpower someone realistically, without some stroke of pure luck making everything convenient for her.
QUESTIONS THAT I KNOW YOU REALLY WANTED TO ASK CAMY BUT WERE AFRAID TO SO I DID!
You have the opportunity to go back in time and experience two events in the history of the world—what TWO events would you pick and why?
I'd get to know Jane Austen sometime before she died and try to save her letters which her sister Cassandra burned. I love Jane Austen--I think she was one of the wittiest women alive--and I'd love to read those letters!
Name four jobs that you’ve had in your life that might surprise us?
That might be hard because I've only ever had 5 jobs in my life, two of which are biology and writing. Library page in high school Desk manager at the Media Center library Flier distributor in college.
Name four places that you’ve lived? What was your favorite place and why?
I've only lived in two states--Hawaii--grew up there--and California. Within California,I lived in Stanford University when I was a student there, then Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, and San Jose--all within the San Francisco Bay Area. I like San Jose the best because there are lots of great places to eat, and I get to live in a nice suburb that's not too urban but not too rural. I couldn't live too far
away from Starbucks. :)
What were four of your favorite TV shows you watched as a kid? The ones that
you just couldn’t miss!
They're all Japanese animation shows:
What movie had the greatest impact on you as a kid? Why?
Dad took me and my brother to see Star Wars, but I don't remember it well--I do, however, remember when he took us to see The Empire Strikes Back. It was "Dad time" for us because Mom didn't want to see those movies.
Name four websites you visit daily.
You find yourself in a life threatening situation who would you pick to save you? You are the author her you can be creative, the sky is the limit.
Aragorn from Lord of the Rings. Because he's HOT!
What is a special quality, talent or event that you’ve experience that might surprise people?
I knit. Obsessively. And I mean, OBSESSIVELY. I will knit while I'm
talking to you. I'd knit while walking if I could do it without getting my yarn sweaty. I'd knit while eating if it wouldn't get food spilled on my yarn.
If you could hang out with TWO people in this history of the world (besides Jesus—which is a given) who would you pick? Why? What would you do?
Jane Austen because she's so flippin' funny. We'd have a ball.
Elizabeth Zimmerman, one of the knitting greats, because she could
teach me things no knitter every knew.
Name three everyday things you wouldn’t want to live without?
ANY FINAL COMMENTS YOU’D LIKE TO LEAVE MY READERS WITH?
I blog about my obsessive knitting here:
And I promise I blog about other things, too! Also, join my newsletter YahooGroup because I said so.
Thanks for having me here, Nora! That lunch we had in Atlanta was way fun!!!!
Single Sashimi (Zondervan)
Deadly Intent (Love Inspired Suspense, July 2009)
Romance with a kick of wasabi
Hey Camy the lunch was fun. We should have taken pictures so I could have posted it here!! :D I really appreciate you stopping by and letting my readers get to know you. I’m looking forward to our ACFW On-Line Book Club chat starting Nov. 20th until the end of the month and then the Live Chat on Dec. 7th.
Anyone interested in joining us can just sign up to be a ACFW Book Club Member at www.acfw.com there is not cost. We have lots of fun don’t we Camy?
Talk to you soon on-line. Blessings on your writing adventures, Camy.
LEAVE A COMMENT ABOUT INTERVIEW TO BE ENTERED IN THE DRAWING -- DEADLY INTENT and ONLY UNI will be given away. DRAWING 7th
****DISCLAIMER: Entering the give away is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws. Void where prohibited; open only to U.S. residents, odds of winning depend on number of entrants *****
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE FOLLOWING WINNERS
Angela Roberts won signed copy of Only Uni
Katy Freeland Signed copy of Deadly Intent
Thanks Camy for this opportunity for us to get to know you and your books better.
Blessings on your writing adventures.