Thursday, May 22, 2014

Fabulous Friday Feature-Dianna Benson

Today I welcome an author who shares God's peace in Suspense stories: 
author Dianna Benson
Just announced- Dianna is the 2014 Selah winner!! Congratulations, Dianna!!

Enter to win 
Dianna's book
Final Trimester

Scroll to the end of the post to see how to enter.

I was very happy when Dianna asked to join our Fabulous Friday Feature segment for a weekend. She is the one of only a few suspense novelists who has taught me I can read this genre and survive. (I have a secret. If you ask in the comment section, I’ll tell you.) Each of these authors has a sweet natured personality and love to joke in conversations. Why is that? I have no clue. I'm going to have to ask Dianna to shed light on that subject. You'll enjoy our chat today! I asked her to share with us how God has led her on her writing journey. Here is what she said:

A Thrilling Ride!
I started writing my first book in 1993. After completing five mainstream suspense novels, I signed with my first agent in 2007. Six agents offered me representation that spring; it was a difficult choice between them since all six are top-notch. In the fall of 2007, a film agent requested a screenplay of The Hidden Son after reading the book. In early 2009, just before I completed the script, the film agent suddenly retired due to health issues; I never pursued anything further with the script. 

Later in 2009, I received a four-book mainstream contract offer, but turned it down to focus on my family since my husband was just diagnosed with head and neck cancer. During his surgeries and radiation treatments, I took care of our young family of five and read Christian fiction for comfort and support. While reading, I recognized various elements within my own writing that would be an ideal fit for the inspirational suspense genre. So, I continued to read a ton of Christian fiction. Then I wrote my first inspirational suspense and loved writing it. 

In 2011, I won the Genesis in the mystery/suspense/thriller category.  In 2012, I signed with a new agent; within days I had a contract offer from B&H, a large traditional Christian publisher. That contract was pending for thirteen weeks due to the publishing house facing difficulties (less than a year later they permanently discontinued their fiction department). During those thirteen weeks, my new agent let go of all the other interest in my writing. At that point, I considered ending my writing career before it even really began. 

Since EMS is a part time career for me (too intense for full time), I applied to Penn State to earn my Masters in psychology to become a social worker in the field (not clinical) – Think: EMS without the medical aspects. I was accepted into the psychology program and decided to put my writing career on hold. But…due to my Genesis win, Ellechor Publishing House, a small traditional Christian publishing house, contacted me, requesting me to submit to them. Within days, they offered me a nine-book contract. 

In February 2014, I had an opportunity to write for a large traditional mainstream publishing house. I considered switching to mainstream since our two older children are college students and two of our three children want to attend medical school. The thought of putting three kids through college and two all the way through medical school daunted me and my husband, plus we’re still paying off medical bills from my husband’s cancer, our son’s four concussions, and our oldest daughter’s scoliosis surgery. 

Still, it didn’t feel right to leave the Christian genre, so I flipped open my Bible just randomly to whatever page it took me to (I often do this to see what God wants me to hear). I landed on Hebrews 13 and my eyes simply fell on Hebrews 13:5 – Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”  Sure I heard God speaking to me, but I was still struggling, so I turned to my daily Bible study lesson (Beth Moore study, Living Beyond Yourself, Exploring the Fruit of the Sprit). The first lesson of that day asked me to read Hebrews 13. Wow. Okay, yeah, I definitely heard God and trusted His words. No question, He wants me to write for Him. God uses all of us in various ways, and I feel He’s using my writing as one of His vessels for His word, His messages. I couldn’t be happier or more at peace.  

For details on what led me to start writing that first book in 1993, read my WRITING page on my website:

Final Trimester
Paramedic Jodi Duncan recognizes the work of a serial killer before the Myrtle Beach PD even suspects a connection between the deaths of two pregnant women. Despite the vast differences in the two cases, Jodi urges Detective Nate Quigley to think outside the box. After digging deep into the separate investigations, Nate finds no evidence to support a serial killer theory, and he warns Jodi to back off police business, which only fuels her passion for the cases.

When a third pregnant woman is murdered, Nate is named lead detective on the case and works to link the deaths in order to unmask and stop the serial murderer, a disturbed man who believes God and the devil battle inside his head to bend him according to their wills. As he fights both voices, his interest fixates on Jodi when he discovers her obsession with ending his rampage.

My releases are available wherever books are sold. Below are the links to Final Trimester at the three biggest booksellers:

Dianna and her husband
Dianna Torscher Benson is a 2014 Selah Award Winner, a 2011 Genesis Winner, a 2011 Genesis double Semi-Finalist, a 2010 Daphne de Maurier Finalist, and a 2007 Golden Palm Finalist. In 2012, she signed a nine-book contract with Ellechor Publishing House. She’s the author of The Hidden Son, her debut novel.  Final Trimester is her second release.

After majoring in communications and a ten-year career as a travel agent, Dianna left the travel industry to earn her EMS degree. An EMT and a Haz-Mat and FEMA Operative since 2005, she loves the adrenaline rush of responding to medical emergencies and helping people in need. 


Dianna lives in North Carolina with her husband and their three children.
Want to connect with Dianna? Here's how:

To enter the contest for an autographed copy of 
Dianna Benson's book: "Final Trimester":
leave a comment (and email address)
AND become a follower of this site, 
OR sign up to receive posts by email
if you aren't already.

Sorry  US  only

Winner announced on my facebook page.

Thank you, Dianna, for Joining us This Weekend!
It seems God made sure Dianna had oodles of training to help her with suspense writing.Think of all the first hand sensory images she was able to include!

Do you like Christian fiction suspense novels?  Perhaps you could send a congratulations comment for her new Selah award for her 

Let us know or just say howdie doo. :) We love to chat here.

Bonus: In the introduction I posed a question: How is it that Christian suspense novelists have such a sweet spirit and love to joke in conversation. Dianna answered: For me, after years of raising three children and working in EMS and seeing the horror in life, I’ve found a way to laugh through the yucky stuff (sometimes it’s better than crying). Also, through the years I’ve realized life is just kindergarten – a short time for me to learn the basics before I move on to the real thing. The basics being: Be loving and kind to everyone, even when they aren’t to me, and to focus on my relationships with: 1) God 2) Others 3) Myself. That way of thinking gives me such inner peace and allows me to enjoy life with a smile and laughter.

Thank you, Dianna. What an insightful answer


karenk said...

a great posting/interview...thanks for the chance to read this fabulous novel, mary.

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Mary Vee Writer said...

Good morning, Karen. Did you help yourself to the virtual fresh brewed teas/coffees? There is also virtual sweet rolls, piping hot from the oven on the counter. YUM
I'm so glad you stopped by to chat with all of us here on Let's Talk.

Patty said...

Thanks for sharing your writing journey with us Dianna! I am not very familiar with Christian fiction suspense novels, but I have an Aunt I would love to pass this on to if it doesn't strike my fancy, but Final Trimester sounds very intriguing, and as a South Carolinian it would be fun to read a book set in Myrtle Beach.


Connie Porter Saunders said...

Good morning Mary. Think I will help myself to some virtual pastries. Thank you for this interview and giveaway.

I hope you have a wonderful Memorial Day, or as we call it in KY, Decoration Day.


Mary Vee Writer said...

I agree, Patty. I love reading books set near to where I live. I can also say that Dianna's writing just won her another award at the Blue Ridge Writer's conference this week! With writing that great, the book has got to be a page turner!.

Mary Vee Writer said...

Yeah! Connie. I didn't want to be the only one eating the virtual pastries. So glad you joined the gang today and our discussion about Dianna Benson's books. I guess I didn't know you all called the holiday, Decoration Day. Now I've gone and learned something today. Hah! It can be done :)

Andrea said...

Very interesting interview. Will look forward to reading this in the future. I love Christian suspense!

Already a subscriber

Mary Vee Writer said...

So nice to see you again. We've started a virtual wood fire on the beach and are watching the sky darken why chatting with Dianna. I'm so glad you could come. Lovely setting to chat about Christian suspense, eh?

Cindy Q said...

Great interview! The book sounds terrific. Congrats on the award! I do love suspense novels, especially with an inspirational bent.


Mary Vee Writer said...

Cindy Q,
You and me both, girl. I'll tell you my secret....I sorta cheat. I look at the last pages, make sure the person survives, then go back and read the book. It helps me sleep at night LOL!

Dianna T. Benson said...

Thank you, Karen, Patty, Connie, Andrea and Cindy, for reading and for posting such kind comments. And thank you for the congrats on winning the Selah Award - I won that International award on Wednesday night for my first book, The Hidden Son. Final Trimester is my second book and it released last Monday. I've enjoyed my time here with you all on Mary's blog. Thank you, Mary, for featuring me on your blog and for spotlighting Final Trimester. All my best to you, Dianna

Mary Vee Writer said...

We're having a fun time chatting with you Dianna, and enjoying the sun, beach, and virtual iced coffees and teas! Can't wait to see who will still stop by and join us!

Jackie said...

Great interview. I definitely got the 'goosies' when I got to the part about Hebrews! Wow.

Mary, what is your secret?
Have a great weekend!

Mary Vee Writer said...

The secret is...I read the first chapter...get al goose bumpily and totally concerned about the MC...flipped to the last two them to see if the MC survives...give a HUGE sigh, then go back and read the rest of the book in order. I dunno...after reading so many chapter ones in suspense stories you'd think I could leap over the hurdle that the MC will somehow survive. But noooooo. The problem is...the suspense writers I've read really know their craft....and Dianna Benson is now added to this list.

Jackie said...

That's funny. I caught my mother doing that once. Have a great week!

Mary Vee Writer said...

I have a crazy feeling your mom and I are not the only ones! Muwahahaha

Dianna T. Benson said...

Hi Mary - I, too, am enjoying this time with you all.

Thank you, Jackie, for popping in. I really enjoyed reading your conversation here with Mary. Thank you, both of you, for the kindness!

Dianna T. Benson said...

Pre-orders for the print book of Final Trimester are available wherever books are sold. The e-Book format on Kindle and Nook is available now. The print book releases June 19, 2014. I enjoyed my time here with you all on Fabulous Friday. Thank you, Mary!

Mary Vee Writer said...

Truly my pleasure, Dianna. I sure had a fun time chatting with everyone who came.