Q & A with Diane & David Munson
Friday, November 28, 2014
What is the most rewarding part of being authors?
Being authors is really like any other job. We face deadlines that must be met, even when we don’t feel like writing. We work overtime. We sometimes have to cancel vacation plans. But, the best part is that we get to work together. No workplace conflicts here. For us, it means we travel together for research and events, and for us that’s such a blessing. In the end the highlight is learning from readers they’ve found our books inspiring, and our writing encouraged their walk with God. While we love to read positive reviews, it is most rewarding to see readers’ faith being deepened because of the writing.
Are there tasks that can challenge either of you when writing a story?
Unlike some co-authors who split up tasks, we both do research and write those scenes with which we feel most comfortable. Our thrillers include aspects of our exciting careers and true events. This may sound strange, but because we have so much to draw from, the challenging part is deciding what readers will find most interesting and compelling. This is where much prayer and reflection comes in, as we want each of our stories to be exciting and honoring to God the Father.
There are many historical people, places and events that have occurred on US soil and abroad. How do you decide the path the next novel is going to take?
As your readers probably know, our nine thrillers are set in the present, as they are influenced by the cases that we’ve worked. Because of our interest in history, we look for ways to have our character’s influenced by their ancestors or events from their past. We’ve succeeded in regressing from the present to the past, and back to the present in three of our novels. In The Camelot Conspiracy, TV reporter Kat Kowicki meets a retired police detective who worked on the assassination of President Kennedy, so she reexamines the evidence and finds herself to be a target of those wishing to keep her quiet and that part of history hidden in the past. Stolen Legacy revisits the Dutch Resistance and the Monuments Men during WWII through Eva Montanna’s searching for clues in her Grandfather’s journals when an unknown enemy threatens her family. In our current release Embers of Courage, Eva’s family Bible is the way we take our readers into the fifteenth century dangers of Christians facing persecution.
People may not be aware that you critique NCIS, the original Mark Harmon series and now New Orleans with Scott Bakula. Are there certain aspects you are focusing on and how do you include both your views and David’s?
It is true that because David was an NCIS Special Agent for years prior to being a DEA Special Agent we write a critique of each new episode. We post these on our blog at http://DianeAndDavidMunson.com/blog. We are often asked if the CBS show is realistic. David responds that in his years, he worked on only two homicide cases. Aside from the fact that the show has a homicide almost every week, David says the methods and teamwork are similar; however, lab analysis and technical support takes longer than on the show. We write our blog much like we write our books, David watches for technical correctness, while Diane observes and writes about interpersonal relationships, and her knowledge of the law as a lawyer. We find the NOLA NCIS to be very well written and showing more of the agents’ techniques in solving crimes involving the U.S. Navy.
Will you share some of the resources you used to research Embers of Courage? Did you travel or view places online?
Yes, often our writing is influenced by places we’ve visited. Embers of Courage reveals what happens to Federal Agent Eva Montanna’s teammate, NCIS Special Agent Raj Pentu, who is embroiled in an undercover case that goes haywire in Egypt. Eva lives in Northern Virginia where we once lived and worked in our former careers. Google Earth and other Internet sources are great as aids to conduct detailed research in places we can’t reach, such as the Sinai Desert. Eva struggles to help her teen daughter, Kaley, who is harassed by her high school teacher, as well as Coptic Christians in Egypt. We did tons of reading and drew upon our knowledge of Coptics who have fled Egypt to the USA to live in freedom. This thriller takes the reader back to the Middle Ages in England and the Netherlands where many were martyred for their faith in Jesus. We have spent time in both of these countries. We dug into what life was like for people more than five hundred years ago. What did they eat? What kind of clothes did they wear? Such details come into play around Eva finding mysterious ashes, and a rare family Bible. We perused volumes of books over several years to better acquaint ourselves with the struggles of Believers when they touched the first printed Bible. We also weave in the marvelous invention called the “Printing Press,” created by Johann Gutenberg who printed the first Bible. Because we wanted our story to be as accurate as possible, we traveled to examine a replica of Gutenberg’s press in Louisville, Kentucky. David had a chance to operate it and actually print a page from the Bible using this ancient technique.
We strive to bring realistic settings to our readers. For example, character Griff Topping’s tangle with former government agents in Kazakhstan was influenced by our run-in with former Soviet KGB agents when we visited Kazakhstan to lecture government health and anti-narcotics officials.
In Stolen Legacy, at the end of the book, readers got a hint of what may be coming in the next book, Embers of Courage. Any hints as to what readers can look forward to in 2015?
As you point out, in Stolen Legacy (especially in the epilogue) we do give a hint about our next thriller, then unnamed, Embers of Courage. That’s untypical, since we write and promote our titles, as “stand alone,” although several characters do follow into other titles. The next book we are working on is highly classified! While on the subject of “stand alone”, we do have two other titles that are slightly connected. Our second thriller, Confirming Justice has a romance that remains unresolved at the end. The romance resumes and resolves in Redeeming Liberty, our fifth thriller.
What verse(s) of Scripture do you consider to be most treasured?
Many verses in John, including John 1:1 and John 3:16 as these convey the truth of the Gospel. Jesus is the hope for the whole world.
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” This is meaningful when we face difficulties.
Psalm 23 “The Lord is my Shepherd,” shows what green pastures are ours when we follow the Good Shepherd.
Psalm 90:17 “May the favor of the Lord of God rest upon us; establish the work of our hand for us… Yes, establish the work of our hands.” We prayed this verse over daily before our first manuscript was accepted by the publisher.