Once Upon a Time by DiAnn Mills

Once Upon A Time

By DiAnn Mills
It wasn’t a dark and stormy night. Thunder didn’t rumble, and lightning didn’t streak across the sky. 

In fact, it was a summer day in Houston—99+ and the pool felt wonderful, splashing and laughing with my grandchildren.

“Mimi, will we always be able to swim in your pool and play together?”

“I hope so,” I said.

“What about when you’re really old?”

“You might have to help me get in and out of the pool.”

He showed his muscles. “I can do that.”

Little boys can do anything.

I smiled. Our dialogue prompted a story idea . . . What if a man, named Daniel, had been raised by his grandparents, and now that man looked after the two who had loved and cared for him?

Not very exciting so far.

What if Daniel was a Houston police officer, and his parents had been lawbreakers. 

Still not suspenseful.

What if his mother was in prison for killing his father? Because of her betrayal and abandonment when he was a toddler, he couldn’t give his heart to a woman.

Better, but what’s the story?

What if his grandfather was a victim of Alzheimer’s, and he’d been scammed of several thousand dollars? The grandson/police officer was committed to ending the crime.

Now the idea is simmering.

The grandmother was feisty, witty, lovable, and knew how to use a gun. She was my kind of woman, but what role would she play in the story?

In an effort to end an elderly scam, what if the grandson/police officer was forced to combine forces with a female FBI agent, who had a few control issues going on? Add a felon to the threesome, a guy no one could trust and yet he had inside information to the elderly scam. Per FBI, the threesome had to work together to solve the crime. Who could they trust?

I shook the mix and out rolled Double Cross, a story about betrayal, greed, unforgiveness, and a generous dollop of unexpected love.

My story idea didn’t evolve overnight, but it did begin with a single what-if thought and a five-year-old little boy. 

When I took the premise and set my characters and plot in Houston, my city, it came alive. 

It’s important for me to drive the same streets as my characters, see their homes, eat at their favorite restaurants, select the Starbucks they’d frequent, listen to their dialogue, and learn their unique problems, challenges, strengths, and goals. Story is birthed in truth, a single thought that is credible. When I look around me, I see potential for real people, real stories, and real victory.

Once upon a time, a story idea dropped into a writer’s mind . . . 

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels.

Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. Library Journal presented her with a Best Books 2014: Genre Fiction award in the Christian Fiction category for Firewall.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers; the 2015 president of the Romance Writers of America’s Faith, Hope, & Love chapter; a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and International Thriller Writers. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.

DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on any of the social media platforms listed at www.diannmills.com.