Can you tell us a bit about your family, and what it is like where you live?
It’s interesting that you ask that question. Facing Justice was our debut novel and the publisher asked what we wanted to say about ourselves on the back cover.
Usually the cover says the author lives with his/her spouse, two children and Golden Retriever in North Carolina. Because both of us have made enemies in the criminal realm that went to prison, we asked the publisher to be non-conforming. As a result, our bio on the back of the book says we live in ‘an undisclosed location,’ which really ads to the suspense.
It turned out to be a wise decision. Since our first book was published, we have received uncomplimentary email at our website, from persons we put in prison.
Wow, exciting and scary! Do you travel? Has a place where you have traveled ever sparked a story idea?
Our novels are influenced greatly by our travels and the many cities where we have lived. As an undercover agent infiltrating international smuggling gangs, David has traveled with gang members to exotic and dangerous countries, many times entering illegally. Our careers took us to large cities, including Washington, D.C., where we were plunged into political intrigue (Diane worked for President Reagan in his Justice Department). We’ve also traveled throughout Europe and Central Asia on mission’s trips. Our plots are set in many of the places we’ve been. David’s favorite book is “Hero’s Ransom,” which includes China and Thailand (It includes aspects of Diane’s real child custody cases.) In Facing Justice, readers will follow our characters as they hunt down the bad guys in the Middle East and the small island of Socotra in the Indian Ocean.
Is there a story behind Facing Justice?
We’re asked about the inspiration for our novels, and have learned readers love knowing the ‘back story’. Facing Justice was inspired by a one of David’s cases shortly after he was recruited away from NCIS to the Drug Enforcement Administration. He was working with another Christian agent when they discovered a shipment of opium hidden in movie film canisters arriving from Thailand in a carton destined to a Christian missionary organization in Chicago and bearing its shipping labels.
Using other agents posing as delivery drivers (similar to a delivery of a valuable artifact in Hero’s Ransom) David and his partner detained an employee of the mission organization. It was unbelievable, but both agents knew this man. You might imagine their resulting quandary. Were this Christian organization and man doing something criminal, or were both the victim of some sinister plot by ungodly criminals?
The long lasting investigation caused suspicion on the part of the agents and the mission organization, and resulted in hurt feelings. For obvious reasons, we choose not to disclose how that investigation ended, but all of the angst is renewed as we’ve written a similar scenario. Federal agent Eva Montanna launches a case against Emile Jubayl in Facing Justice, who she discovers goes to her mega-church, and she knows his wife. The book cover blurb provides a teaser, but read this book very carefully all the way to the end of the epilogue. As in our real cases, clues to the truth are sometimes very subtle.
Love that story! Thanks for sharing. What is unique about the setting? How does it enhance the story?
We select each setting with great care. For Facing Justice, we wanted to show the readers the high drama involved with being a federal agent. So Eva is thrust into perilous situations on a terrorist-held island, a terrorist-controlled freighter, and an aircraft carrier. These dangers heighten her faith quotient and are set against her family life in the D.C. suburbs as a wife and mom, juggling it all.
In our most recent thriller, Stolen Legacy, agent Eva Montanna goes to Holland, Michigan, the site of an authentic working windmill named De Zwaan. This mill survived WWII in the Netherlands, was dismantled, moved to Michigan, and re-assembled. Stolen Legacy reveals how Eva helps Grandpa Marty write his WWII memoirs at the same time her family is threatened. She visits De Zwaan and then goes back into her grandfather’s time in the war, seeking clues as to who is coming after them. In WWII, Marty hid in similar windmills while helping the Dutch underground in the Netherlands. Later, the setting turns to England and Austria as Marty serves with the U.S. Monuments Men in retrieving art works stolen by the Nazis and hidden in salt mines.
Who is the most fun character you ever created?
In Hero’s Ransom, Zeb Carter leaps from the page. The veteran, elderly man lives next door to Sophie Worthing. Sophie is an artist caring for her grandson Lucas, while his single mom, Amber Worthing is on an archeological dig in China. When Amber is arrested and jailed for espionage, Sophie needs emotional support, and Zeb is there to give it. He’s the ever-doting neighbor, but also eccentric. His attempts to help Sophie are like throwing gasoline on the flames of her already explosive emotions. He is loveable though, and is inspired by an elderly friend of ours. We hope he doesn’t read this blog. But then, we think we are creative enough writers that he won’t recognize himself.
What a great character. Sometimes I love secondary characters even more than the primary! Lol. What’s one genre you have never written, and probably never will?
Fantasy is popular, but we do not see the Biblical inspiration, so we will steer clear.
Here’s an interesting twist—two of your proposed questions answer the above question about our next book. Those other questions are:
What is the last thing you wrote? What’s the first thing you ever wrote that you still have?
They both can be answered together.
The last thing we’ve written is our next release, Embers of Courage, which is due for release on December 4, 2014. It’s also the first thing Diane wrote for publication; but it’s been fifteen years in the making. She penned the historical novel on yellow legal pads, and David typed the entire manuscript into a laptop. At that time, historic fiction wasn’t selling, so a publisher suggested because of our backgrounds that we should write a suspense/thriller together.
After eight novels, and the most recent (Stolen Legacy, which transcends decades), we decided to take on the historical intrigue surrounding Johann Gutenberg’s printing press and persecution of Christians, both in the fifteenth century and today. We had no idea how persecution for believing in Jesus Christ would become so widespread and terrifying in these last few weeks.
In our latest thriller, Eva Montanna comes face-to-face with persecution in her family and that of her ancestors. She delves into her family’s ancient Bible and is drawn into a mystery that highlights persecution of Christians for their faith, both here in the U.S. and throughout the world.
Thanks so much for joining us!
Author Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pP20D0BOMg
Facing Justice: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbDZPm8UbaQ
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Two ExFed New Wrap and NCIS blog: http://DianeAndDavidMunson.com/blog
DAVID and DIANE is giving away a copy of FACING JUSTICE. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.