Best Selling Author DiAnn Mills Shares Her Secret to Bringing Characters to Life

DiAnn, thank you so much for joining me today, I love your storytelling skills. Your characters are so believable and easy to imagine in my mind as I read. That’s why I’m so excited to discuss  how you develop your characters. In Christian Fiction Magazine Online you mentioned interviewing your characters. I got a copy of your Characterization Sketch worksheet and was wowed. I could envision you sitting at your desk, pen in hand, your character standing before you morphing into shape as you fill out this very detailed sheet. Tell me how you came up with this idea.

The character sketch came after years of working through the aspect of asking myself, “What do I need to know about my character to establish motivation? How can I lay a foundation, a springboard of character development?” Years ago, I saw a similar sketch, but it didn’t provide the information needed that would go deeper. I’veadded/rephrased it many times.

Your Characterization Sketch worksheet goes beyond the typical hair, eye color, body build to more specifics such as birth order and meaning of the characters first and last name. How do you find those details helpful in developing a character?

I think of my characters as new friends, even the bad guys. 🙂 It’s all about discovering what a character will do or not do to achieve wants and needs, goals and desires. We writers don’t have twenty, thirty, or more years to develop a character, so we have to look for those things that have helped form the character in chapter one.

It is fascinating to think about describing the characters’ mannerisms, personality type, even whether he or she has a sense of humor. Do you figure all of these out before you even start writing or do some of the blanks on your worksheet stay blank while you discover things about your character as the story unfolds?

Some of the items do stay blank until I write a few chapters. I often have to see my characters in action first!

Even after using this tool to create your character, do you ever find your character not being who he claimed to be in the interview?

Absolutely. Especially antagonists. They usually lie to themselves and have no concept of truth. The saying that says, “What you do speaks louder than what you say” fits perfectly.

Are all the characters in each novel put through the interview process or is it only the main ones?

Only the main ones.  Minor characters have paragraph descriptions.

I can see how much easier this would be to create well-developed characters before actually beginning to tell their stories. Where can my readers get a copy of your Characterization Sketch?

 Readers can email me at for a copy of the
Characterization Sketch.

DiAnn, it has been a delight to have you as a guest on my blog, Thank you so much for giving me a little of your very precious time to share your insights. Now, before you go please tell us about your latest projects.

Under a Desert Sky is a June 1 release. This historical romantic suspense is set at Ghost Ranch, New Mexico 1935.

Readers can go to my website, view the book trailer, read the first chapter, and purchase from their favorite store.

DiAnn has a give away for this new release. Just visit her website for a chance to win.

Attracted to Fire is an October release. This romantic suspense is set in West Texas. The heroine is a secret service agent assigned to the Vice President’s rebellious daughter.

Readers can connect with me on Facebook and on my website I love hearing from readers!
Thanks so much!


House Publishers – October 2010

THE FIRE IN EMBER – Zondervan –
January 2011

Press – June 2011

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