Sunday, December 9, 2012

Spellbinding Legal Suspense with - Diane and David Munson!

Can you really write a Christian legal thriller? I was somewhat skeptical of this...until I met Diane and David Munson! They write sit on the edge of your seat legal thrillers, with intriguing twists and action packed plots. They’re John Grisham meets inspirational fiction.
I’m so excited to have them with us today and look forward to learning more about their writing, characters, and experience in the legal field.

And now without further ado, here’s our special guests - Diane and David Munson.  

 If you were in danger which of your characters would you want on your side?

You pose a superb question. In some ways it feels like our three main heroes/heroines are always on our side as they are a composite of real agents we’ve worked with through the years. Our FBI agent Griff Topping is a courageous loner. His wife died too young so he’s self reliant, fearing little. A federal ICE agent, Eva Montanna is a strong role model as she balances tracking down criminals with being a wife and mother to three children. Bo Rider travels the world as a clandestine CIA agent and relies solely on his wits. His wife knows Bo works for “The Agency”, but his teens do not, which makes for interesting scenarios. So given our wonderful cast of characters, who would we choose?

We both agree that if in trouble, we’d want Eva covering us. Why? While Eva is every bit as capable as the other two, her confidence and integrity spring from her faith in Jesus Christ. She seeks God’s help in her daily challenges. We want God on our side always. In all our novels we have fun writing plots so that Griff or Bo (and sometimes both) end up collaborating with Eva to bring evildoers to justice.

Not everyone who writes legal suspense has the hands-on experience the two of you have. How has your experience been an advantage and how has it been a disadvantage?

We delight in quipping, “David nailed ’em and Diane jailed ’em.” Beyond the humor, it is our experience in enforcing the law (in David’s case) and prosecuting criminal (in Diane’s case) that gives us a deep reservoir of experience to create plots and unusual characters. That’s also why we call our novels “factional fiction.” Each one of our thrillers is seasoned with true events from our cases or history. Then we weave a novel around these, making sure to disguise the people involved to protect their privacy, and adding a spiritual dimension so that our work is honoring to the Lord. Because of our careers in the law, we’ve never experienced “writer’s block”. Rest assured we have many more exciting plots and novels in the hopper.

Disadvantages? We have so many ideas that we need to decide what are the most compelling to fill the pages. Romance and Amish books are so popular at present. With our dangerous experiences, if we tried to pen romance or an Amish book, they would be filled with too much suspense. So, we write what we know: High Velocity Suspense (laced with a dash of romance for the romantics in all of us).

 What authors have influenced your writing?

This is an interesting tale, with a surprising twist. Diane grew up with a love of reading and a desire to write. David is a natural storyteller. Together we’ve read many of the classics by Jane Austen and Charles Dickens. When Diane discovered Christian fiction written by Grace Livingston Hill and George MacDonald, she craved more as a reader. One day a friend shared with us the powerful series, The Zion Chronicles and The Zion Covenant, written by Brock and Bodie Theone. Around this same time, we were reading the Biblical account of Christ’s birth and genealogy. Reflecting on God being the Author of life and how He weaves together the lives of His people compelled us to search for our ancestors. This led Diane to write historical fiction, which led to us becoming published authors of suspense. God works in mysterious ways and we strive to be open to His Spirit guiding and moving us in our lives. He often works through the written word to convict us and to propel us forward.   

What are the pros to co-writing with your spouse? What are the cons?

From a selfish perspective, the advantage of having a co-writer is that when someone is critical of our writing, we can assure ourselves it’s the fault of our co-author. Or when someone compliments our creation, each of us can assume it’s due to our sole contribution. Just kidding.

You have heard it said, “Two heads are better than one.” This is true for us. David is more lighthearted and Diane more serious, so we combine our strengths. When one lacks incentive to write, the other is disciplined to keep going. We bounce ideas off one another and give honest critiques without worrying about a wrong motive. The disadvantage is sometimes one of us has to sacrifice a “perfect” idea to the other. All in all, we are having fun on this adventure.

How do you weave a Christian element into your novels?

This is the reason for our writing. Jesus is our strength and our shield. He is our Deliverer, our Defender, and our Shepherd. We desire to make Him come alive in our writing so readers experience His power and love when reading our work. We want our novels to be realistic so we fashion plots that mirror our lives. Except for those employed in the Church or a Christian company, many of us live and work with folks who have no desire to know or serve God. Some in fact are offended by spiritual things.

That said, some of our characters are believers and live out their lives among those who are not. For example in our first novel, Facing Justice, Eva Montanna’s sister has died in the Pentagon on 9/11, which sorely tests Eva’s Christian faith. How could God allow such a terrible thing to happen? God brings Eva a chance to find justice when she receives a tip about a man funding terrorists, but she is shocked to discover her target attends her mega-church. Through these twists and turns, Eva learns to trust in God’s plans even when she does not understand them.

In The Camelot Conspiracy we examine new evidence in the JFK assassination. This contemporary story is told through the eyes of Kat Kowicki, a single TV reporter who gets help from a police detective. While romantic feelings abound, the detective is initially cool toward Kat because she doesn’t share his faith in Christ. We strive in our writing to bring glory to the King of Kings. The faith element grows stronger in more recent titles. One character in Redeeming Liberty makes a crucial spiritual decision and in The Joshua Covenant, Bo Rider’s life is dramatically influenced by a Bible prophecy teacher.

How long does it take you to write a novel? Do you find co-writing makes the process take less time?

Normally, we research and write one book each year. 2012 is an exception. We released The Joshua Covenant in February and Night Flight in September. It is really possible for us to write a novel in about six months as we each write certain scenes. Then the process is slowed by our many edits and traveling the country where we meet readers at book signings, and speak at churches and conferences.

Do you “cast” your characters/pick actors and actresses to play them?

Yes, we visualize our characters and sometimes find “famous” people that look like them. For example, Eva’s husband Scott is similar in appearance to a national news reporter. Eva is tall and a lot like Nicole Kidman. But we try to kindle readers’ imaginations as our Special Agents travel the globe fighting crime and seeking justice.

Where can we find your books?

The Joshua Covenant, which you are offering in your drawing, reveals what happens when CIA agent Bo Rider is assigned to America’s embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel. He brings along his family under the cover of being a diplomat and their very lives are threatened. In Bo’s desperation, he learns for the first time about God’s plan for his life and for the people of Israel. This international thriller is right out of the headlines, and like our other novels, is available in print and eBooks.

Autographed copies are available on our website: Readers can find print versions at Lifeway and other Christian stores and both print/eBook versions on Amazon, B&, and Christian Fans of NCIS will enjoy signing up for the blog on our website, where we critique the NCIS show airing each Tuesday at 8 pm. Those who sign up to receive our email newsletter can participate in contests to win books, NCIS caps, and other fun items. May God’s blessings rain down upon you and His people. Watch the book trailer for The Joshua Covenant at this link: 

Thank you so much for that insightful interview, Diane and David! I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did!

 Giveaway – After being intrigued by The Joshua Covenant, you now have an opportunity to win it. Leave a comment with your name and email address to be entered into a drawing for an autographed copy. I will draw a winner on Friday and the book will be sent by Diane and David!



Diana Dart said...

I totally enjoyed listening to David and Diane at the ACFW GFC conference in October.

High Velocity Suspense with just the right amount of inspiration? Yes, please!

Diana Dart at ddfencegirl {at} gmail {dot} com

karenk said...

thanks for the chance to read this fabulous story, amanda

kmkuka at yahoo dot com