Authors DiAnn Mills and Lindsay Emory don’t know each other, but they’ve been sharing their thoughts with each other over the last few weeks in advance of their joint appearance at Murder By The Book.

“We’ve been talking about how we feel about women characters,” says Mills, whose new novel, Burden of Proof, came out October 9. “I’ve always made ‘strong women, strong roles’ my motto, and I love that she and I feel so passionately about how important that is.”

“We both write a version of romantic suspense,” says Emory, author of the newly released The Royal Runaway. “We create female characters who aren’t afraid to jump into the fray.”

Mills’ first novel was published in 1998, after, she says, her husband got tired of hearing from her how “some day” she was going to write a book. He convinced her to take a year off to write and gave her support and encouragement to complete the book, Rehoboth. She’d go on to write more than 30 novels, winning two Christy Awards.

Emory, a former lawyer, is the author of four previous novels, and the host of the Women with Books podcast, which examines genre fiction by female writers.

Both writers are looking forward to not only sharing their new work with fans, but also sharing their take on why creating powerful female characters is so important to them.

“A woman has to be strong to carry a lot of what the world gives us,” says Mills. “I think women are the grassroots of any society. We are the nurturers. Men can’t live without us. We understand them better than they understand us, I think. And I want a woman reading my work to see a character who knows her value and lives up to her potential.”

While Mills has penned several series, Burden of Proof is a stand-alone that tells the story of an FBI negotiator who has a stranger thrust a crying baby into her arms, only to find herself and the infant kidnapped at gun point by a man accused of murder. The lead character, April Ramos, must rely on her wits and her training to save herself and the lives of innocent people.

Emory’s novel, The Royal Runaway, is what she describes as a different take on the familiar princess trope. Jilted by her fiancé at the altar, now making the rounds of press conferences and charity gigs, Princess Theodora is basically over her royal life. So, she dumps her security detail, sneaks out of her palace and winds up in a bar, where she meets a sexy Scot and hopes she can just chill. Turns out, the hunk isn’t what he claims. Humor and plot twists ensue.

“I wrote this book to show that even a princess can find her power,” says Emory. “I think readers will come into feeling its territory they recognize—who doesn’t know a princess story?—but then realize it’s not about a woman waiting for something to happen to her. She’s making her life happen, instead.”

Mills and Emory said they’re looking forward to connecting with readers and sharing their writing journeys, and giving readers a look at what it takes to craft characters with sass and grit.

“I hope readers are entertained,” says Emory. “I want them to have an escape, even as they see this woman pursuing her own destiny. In this day and age, with all that’s going on, if an author can give pure pleasure, that’s worthwhile.”

DiAnn Mills & Lindsay Emory read October 13. Free. Murder by the Book, 2342 Bissonnet St. 713-524-8597. More info at murderbooks.com.

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