When a writer reads a book it is for more than enjoyment. We read to learn how to make our own writing better. And fiction writers are no exception. I read a lot of fiction. In the month of January I have read six fictions. I have about ten waiting for me. The insights I gain as I read help me analyze my own work and aid in the rewrite.
I thought I’d start with a series by DiAnn Mills, a prolific romance author. The Call of Duty Series consists of three books. Breach of Trust, Sworn to Protect and Pursuit of Justice. The story lines revolve around strong female characters in non-traditional roles: CIA agent, FBI agent, and Border Patrol Officer. DiAnn did meticulous research into all three of these organizations adding to the believability of the characters. Simple things in her descriptions paint a picture without going into a lot of detail. CIA agent Paige Rogers is hiding out in a small town as a librarian. Her house however has guns hidden all around it. She never enters her home without thoroughly scanning every corner looking for anything out of place. The simple action of FBI Agent Bella Jordan strapping a mini glock to her ankle everyday whether on or off duty tells us she means business. Danika Morales carefully surveys the road ahead eyeing the underbrush searching for illegal immigrants and drug cartels. The action of spraying herself with insect repellant before exiting her SUV gave me a mental UCK response remembering my own adventures in mosquito infested areas.
Each character has an emotional issue. Paige is protecting someone, Bella is trying to free herself from childhood memories, and Danika is dealing with revenge versus justice. All go through a crisis of faith. Through the plot twists their faith grows without being preachy. We get into the characters head as they wrestle with the truth from God’s word. The conversation in their sub-conscience may involve a scripture verse. This gives us a show rather than tell view of her struggle allowing the reader to experience the struggle with the heroine.
The romances that bloom in each book slowly evolve as each woman comes to grips with the emotional roadblock that dictates their lives. When the reader is mentally scolding the characters for unwise choices and hoping the next paragraph will give them victory that is good writing. Subtly the author inspires the reader to think about their own roadblocks. This is what makes a great author. And DiAnn Mills is that- a great author.