Posted by Rachel Grant
Today is a special week here at Kiss and Thrill as we celebrate three fabulous romantic suspense authors with a special connection: all three are 2011 Golden Heart® finalists.
We host a lot of Golden Heart finalists here at Kiss and Thrill, but there is something really special about hosting women from the same year (and six of our K&T ladies finaled in 2011 together), because everyone who has finaled in the GH discovers that the true prize in this contest is the friendships that form with the other finalists. Diana Miller, Krista Hall, and Shelley Coriell are the best example of why—incredible authors and wonderful people I am honored and thrilled to know.
You may remember today’s guest, Diana Miller, from her visit to Kiss and Thrill with her debut novel Dangerous Affairs. I loved Dangerous Affairs and gave it five bubbly bathtubs for being a perfect sink-in-the-tub-and-enjoy read. Today I’m so thrilled to have Diana return so I can tell our readers how much I enjoyed her latest release, Fatal Trust, another wonderful 5-bathtub read.
Fatal Trust has everything I love in romantic suspense: a smart heroine, a strong hero, wonderful chemistry, and lots of surprising twists. It’s a rare book that will keep me up until two AM, and Fatal Trust was one of those. I will read anything Diana Miller writes and am eagerly awaiting her next release. (Seriously, Diana, send it to me. Now. I’m not above offering bribes.)
For this interview, Diana opted to face down my James Lipton impersonation and answer the questionnaire from Inside the Actors Studio, and she gives one of the best answers to the last question I’ve ever heard, on or off the show.
Today Diana is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card to one lucky commenter. Please check back on Friday to see if you are our winner!
What is your favorite word? “Schokolade” (pronounced “shok-oh-lah-dah”) which is one of the few words I remember from high school German. It’s fun to say—actually sounds a little sexy—and it means “chocolate”.
What is your least favorite word? Phlegm.
What turns you on? Kindness (preferably accompanied by great pecs and a tight butt).
What turns you off? Assholish behavior.
What sound or noise do you love? My daughter’s voice, although now I hear it mostly over the phone since she lives 1500 miles away and is getting married this summer, so she won’t be moving back. Trust me, they really do grow up too fast!
What sound or noise do you hate? Microphone feedback, especially from a microphone I’m using (public speaking is already painful enough without adding that).
What is your favorite curse word? At the risk of sounding like a writer, I think the perfect swear word depends on the circumstances and setting and how upset/angry/agitated I am (which is another way of saying that now that I no longer have young, impressionable kids around, I swear too much, especially when I’ve got a deadline).
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? I always wanted to be a soap opera star—you get to wear great clothes and shoes and spend your time with hot men, and you’ve got writers who make sure you never suffer the frustration of thinking of the perfect comeback five minutes AFTER the conversation ends. Unfortunately I have no acting ability, so I had to be satisfied making the heroine of my debut novel DANGEROUS AFFAIRS a soap star. As a (slightly) more realistic career option, I’ve always thought it would be fun to be a luxury hotel and resort critic. Getting paid to stay in, enjoy, and evaluate places I can’t afford (preferably ones that feature fabulous restaurants)—how great would that be? And how do you get a job like that?
What profession would you not like to do? I’m claustrophobic, so my idea of hell is working as a coal miner or at any other job that requires being underground or in tight, windowless quarters.
If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? “I’m so happy you’re here. I want you to write my memoirs.” FINALLY I’ll write something no publisher will dare reject!
To enter the drawing to win a $25 Amazon gift card, tell us what profession other than your own would you like to attempt, and don’t forget to check back on Friday to see if you are Diana’s winner!
When she was eight, Diana decided she wanted to be Nancy Drew. But no matter how many garbage cans she dug through, conversations she “accidentally” overheard, and attics she searched, she never found a single mysterious letter, hidden staircase, or anything else even remotely mysterious or suspenseful. She worked as a lawyer, a soda jerk,a stay-at-home mom, a hospital admitting clerk, and a conference host for events ranging from Lutheran music to the International BB Gun competition. She spent long hours volunteering in a nineteenth century mansion allegedly full of secrets and a few ghosts. Still no luck.
Diana ultimately decided the only way she was going to inject any mystery or suspense into her otherwise satisfying life was by writing about it. A five time nominee for the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart award, she’s thrilled to be releasing her Golden Heart winner Dangerous Affairs, a romantic suspense novel that shows not everyone in her home state is Minnesota Nice.
As a way to avoid avoid housework, Diana mastered gourmet cooking and once roasted an entire turkey for her daughter’s kindergarten class. She now works out while watching the Food Network as motivation. In addition to food, Diana loves music, history, old movies, and traveling with her Norwegian-born husband.
Diana lives in the Twin Cities with her family and a Wheaten terrier puppy. She’s still on the lookout for some real life mystery and suspense.
Posted by Rachel Grant
I’m a bath person. I love that first moment of sinking into a tub—the slow immersion in a bath just a hint too hot and then riding the temperature down to perfect. This is how I felt as I sank into DANGEROUS AFFAIRS by Diana Miller. This book seduced me with liquid warmth, but it didn’t disappoint with water that cooled too fast. Every time I thought the romantic tension might ease, Diana deftly tossed in a new obstacle. And whenever it seemed events in the story could spiral out of control—possibly overheating—again, Diana’s firm grasp of craft guided the story and maintained tension, conflict, and suspense at the perfect temperature.
It’s been a while since a book immersed me so perfectly, so I’m thrilled to share it with our readers. In honor of this, today I’m creating my own personal rating system and giving DANGEROUS AFFAIRS highest marks: five bathtubs.
With great excitement I welcome Diana Miller to Kiss and Thrill!
RG: Have you ever written fan fiction, and if so, what work was it based on? If you haven’t, what would you be tempted to write fan fiction about?
DM: I’ve never written fan fiction, but I’ve always wanted to write a romantic suspense novel featuring Nancy Drew. Growing up I was obsessed with those books (actually I wanted to be her).
In my book Nancy would be in her early thirties. She broke up with long-time boyfriend (and college football star) Ned Nickerson a dozen years ago, when she discovered he cheated on her with a dippy cheerleader. He claimed he did it because was feeling unappreciated and needed someone who focused more on him than on mysteries and also wasn’t so blasted self-sufficient. Knowing he could lose Nancy, however, made Ned realize how much he loved her. He apologized and even resorted to groveling, but Nancy refused to forgive him, and their romance fizzled.
Shortly thereafter Nancy’s BFF Bess got a job, got married, and had twins. Her other BFF George either decided to become a doctor or came out as a lesbian and left River Falls to marry the girl of her dreams in Massachusetts. Nancy realized that life as a socialite, even one who spent some of her free time helping people by solving mysteries, wasn’t really fulfilling. So, following in her father’s footsteps, she decided to go to school and become a lawyer. She took over her dad’s practice in River Heights and now solves legal puzzles, which isn’t quite as exciting as solving mysteries, but is a whole lot safer.
Then out of the blue, someone tries to kill Nancy. She, her dad, and the local cops assume it must be one of the hundreds of villains Nancy helped put away during her stint as a girl detective. However, they have no idea which villain since dozens of them have finished their sentences and been released from jail. Enter former boyfriend Ned Nickerson, who’s involved either because he’s now an FBI agent or because he’s a former Navy SEAL turned PI who for some reason Nancy’s father hired to protect her. Ned now has to deal with a more mature Nancy who he finds hotter than ever, but who’s even more self-sufficient and doesn’t want his help or protection—and who still hasn’t forgiven him for cheating on her!
RG: This sounds fantastic—certain to be a five bathtubs book! Let me know if you need a beta reader. 😀
Next question: Facebook or Twitter?
DM: Facebook. No contest. Facebook is simple to use and easy to read. I love seeing all my friends’ family and vacation photos and funny posts (and Mary Strand’s weekly Hugh Jackman photos make Mondays more bearable).
Twitter, on the other hand, freaks me out. Partly it’s because I haven’t taken the time to figure it out, so it seems really complicated to me. But my biggest issue with it—and the reason I haven’t bothered figuring it out–is that tweets have to be short and concise. I used to be a lawyer and expounded for a living. I have trouble keeping a query letter to one page or limiting a synopsis to five pages. How am I supposed to say anything worthwhile in under 140 characters?
RG: LOL—I’m just the opposite. Facebook terrifies me. I think I’m the last person left who doesn’t have a FB page, but I love Twitter.
Okay, What is the strangest weapon you’ve used to kill off a character, either on or off-scene?
DM: I’m pretty boring when it comes to killing people—I’m not good at writing violence (I’m one of those people who closes her eyes and plugs her ears during violent movie scenes). Although I have been trying to work out the logistics of stabbing someone with an icicle, one the murderer either knocks off a roof just as the victim passes under it or actually uses like a sword. I’m talking about one of those big, heavy icicles with lethal points. Those things are scary and look like they could easily drill through someone’s skull or chest. And if I set that book in Minnesota (as I did DANGEROUS AFFAIRS), the villain certainly wouldn’t have trouble finding one. Unfortunately, we have five months of winter–and even more unfortunately, it’s going to start any day!
RG: Your heroine in DANGEROUS AFFAIRS is a soap opera actress. I loved the fact that while the TV genre got a little well-deserved ribbing, it was still treated with respect. As someone who spent my adolescence addicted to soaps, I appreciated the balance. I don’t watch soaps any more—I don’t have the time!—but I know if I allowed myself to turn on the TV during the day I’d quickly get hooked again. So my question for you—and for our readers—is have you ever been hooked on a soap, and if so which one(s)? Is it a habit you’ve broken or an indulgence you still enjoy?
DM: I’ve been hooked on DAYS OF OUR LIVES and GENERAL HOSPITAL since I was in junior high. Back before VCR’s, I lived for school vacation days so I could catch up on them, and I have to confess to skipping class with friends a couple times to watch a favorite hero/heroine’s wedding. Like you, I don’t have time to watch much anymore. But I still read their fan sites every week so I can keep up with what’s going on!
Okay readers, now it’s your turn to confess: have you ever been a fan of a soap opera? Today Diana is giving one lucky commenter a $25 Amazon gift card!
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When soap opera star Abby Langford leaves Los Angeles for her Minnesota hometown, she’s hoping to give her nine-year-old daughter the peaceful childhood she never knew. But instead of tranquility, Abby finds an old knife hidden behind a wall of her new house. Then the nightmares start: a blood-soaked victim and a killer’s arm slicing through the air, again and again.
Abby wonders if she’s having the nervous breakdown the tabloids claim she already had, especially when sexy, skeptical police chief Josh Kincaid questions her story. When menacing hate mail arrives, Josh’s professional concern for Abby soon evolves into an intense attraction, and the feeling is mutual. But as Abby’s visions grow more graphic and gripping, so does her fear.
Somewhere in the shadows of Abby’s memory lies the key to a very present danger. But she’ll have to stay alive long enough to find it…