Sunday Surprise

And it’s the last guest for now. Another Eclectica Bundle author to close this series up for the summer. Hopefully more guests will show up in September. Meanwhile, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Diana Deverell!

Where do you live and write from?

I live on a hilltop in the Danish village where my husband was born. The window in my writing space overlooks Helnaes Bay and the Jutland peninsula is on the horizon. Because of the perverse nature of my creative process, I don’t stare at that view for inspiration.

The story I want to tell never seems to take place where I actually am. Some scenes in my international thriller, Night on Fire, are set in this village but I lived in Oregon when I wrote them.

Now, I’m in Denmark and the legal thriller I just finished happens in the landlocked cities of Eastern Oregon and Washington. I guess that’s how my imagination entertains itself when I cut it off from other distractions.

Why do you write?

I want to take my readers places and give them experiences they may not have the opportunity to enjoy in real life. And of course, like others who’ve posted here, at some point, I’m always wondering: What if things take a surprising turn? During the Cold War, I worked behind the iron curtain as personnel officer at the US Embassy in Warsaw. My international thrillers draw on that experience, but my burning question was: What if, instead of falling in love with a military attaché working for a NATO ally, I was seduced by a Polish intelligent agent? With that twist, my heroine doesn’t spend her time pushing paper—she’s passionately fighting evil.

My legal thrillers are told primarily from the viewpoint of an appeals lawyer. She has the skills and passion to force a broken justice system to treat her clients fairly. In college and for a few years after, I earned my living as a legal secretary. I’ve worked in law offices in California, Massachusetts, and Maine. I understand the legal process and the lingo and I’ve spent countless hours researching appeals law to get my facts right.

What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?

My personal goal with my thrillers is to imagine a fairer and more just world than I face. On the legal thriller side, I have a loved one behind bars. My inmate has another five years to serve on her mandatory sentence of nineteen years and two months. I visit her whenever I am in the US. Fourteen years into this, I have to steel myself to go through the sally port, because I hate being inside that prison—and I’m there for only one hundred and fifty minutes per visit.

In my legal thrillers, I want my reader to feel how decades-long incarceration adversely affects both inmates and correctional officers. The soul-destroying nature is worsened when the primary goal of imprisonment is punishing wrongdoers rather than preparing them to return to society as productive members.

And I also want readers to share my heroine’s personal satisfaction when she brings mercy, compassion, and fairness to her clients.

When did you start writing?

A creative writing class I took in college encouraged me to believe I could learn to write good stories. The second was an awareness that I’d tell better ones if I had a little more life experience. I spent twenty-five years getting that “little more” before I began seriously writing fiction for publication. I was lucky and a New York publisher gave me a two-book contract and released my first novel in 1998. My good fortune ran out when my publisher was sold to another. In the downsizing that followed, I wasn’t offered another contract. By 2011, I had my rights back to those novels and started indie-publishing them and brand-new novels as ebooks.

What genre(s) do you write?

Primarily thrillers and mysteries, set in current time. I’ve written short stories set in the past and featuring young adults and even one with a robot vacuum as a protagonist. But for my longer work, I like to spend my time with a sharp, gutsy woman as she digs into a contemporary problem.

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?

I did not understand this piece of advice the first time I heard it: Reveal your character’s emotional history through the character’s opinion of the setting. But in several online workshops with Dean Wesley Smith I learned what he meant by that.

I saw that I should put my character in an interesting place packed with descriptive possibilities. She should experience that setting through her senses. What she sees, smells, hears, tastes, and feels triggers memories that are clues to her past. When I finally got it, I realized that I’d first recognized that technique in The Little Drummer Girl by John LeCarré, the spy thriller that hooked me on the genre. Instead of giving us big chunks of narrative back story, he slowly builds up Charlie’s history and the reader comes to understand and care about her.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

I write as if I’m driving slowly at night, unable to see beyond my headlights, and constantly checking my guide books. I hit the million-words-published market last year and by now when do start a new book, I trust my subconscious to get me to a satisfying conclusion. Often it’s not one I anticipated when I began.

Tell us more about your book in the bundle.

I have two mystery titles in the bundle and each includes a bonus mystery. FBI Special Agent Dawna Shepherd stars in all four. Dawna was a college basketball star and she first appeared in the cast of my international thriller Night on Fire. Turns out, an FBI is very agent useful in thriller territory and she played a supporting role in two more international thrillers and my new political thriller, Bitch Out of Hell.

Dawna stars in sixteen published short stories, dealing with human trafficking, health care fraud, illegal sports betting, nuclear smuggling, and other not-homicide crimes. “Blown” is an entertaining spy caper that takes Dawna to Poland in hot pursuit of a renegade NSA contractor. The bonus story, “Polonaise,” is also set in Poland and has her protecting a witness scheduled to testify against a Warsaw crime boss.

In “Shaken, Not Stirred,” Dawna takes a break from busting bad guys to vacation in Mexico at SpyGirl Fantasy Camp with her pal, ex-Secret Service Agent Ladyshimarray Harms. My story answers the simple question: Does a hardboiled FBI agent ever get to have fun? The bonus story, “Hungarian Dance No. 5,”is the first published short story featuring Dawna and Ladyshimarray. They run into trouble during a teaching gig at the FBI’s international law enforcement academy in Budapest.

Tell us about your latest book

Lay Bare the Lie, my sixth Nora Dockson legal thriller, will be released on July 1, 2019. An ex-con, Nora pulled herself out of the gutter and became an appeals lawyer. She works only for convicted felons.

She’s sure her current client didn’t murder his wife. The jury was misled by testimony from an expert witness who reconstructed the crime based on bloodstain patterns. She’ll prove the so-called expert made leaps of logic incompatible with the latest forensic science.

But before she can started on the case, a family emergency pulls her back to her roots. Events spiral out of control. Instead of arguing in a courtroom, she’s struggling once again on the dangerous turf of her childhood. And this time she may not get out alive.

You can preorder this novel at the bargain advance sale price from your favorite ebook retailer by following this universal link.

For more about my books, visit my website

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1 Comment

  1. Reblogged this on Library of Erana and commented:
    Here’s the latest #Eclectica interview


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