Today, I have the privilege of interviewing Lila Diller, author of Her Heart’s Decision. I won’t waste your time, let’s jump right to the interview!
Hey Lila! I’m so glad you are taking a little time out of your day to hang out with me. Let’s start with a few easy questions.
When you are writing, what are you drinking?
Usually just water. I can’t handle many sodas anymore, and caffeine is a big no-no for my weird brain. So I just stick with water, except for the occasional treat of decaf coffee or hot chocolate (my favorite hot beverage in cool weather) or iced tea – unsweetened, thank you (my favorite cold beverage in hot weather).
Water is so good for you. I have to be careful with caffeine myself.
Do you have any pets?
1 calico cat named Callie. Our dog died last fall and we are just now getting to the point where we’re looking for another. We hope to get one of the puppies my in-laws’ dappled dachshund will be having in just a couple of weeks!
I’m so sorry to hear about your dog. It is so hard to lose a pet – they really are part of the family. I hope you’ll post pics of the new puppy! Calico cats are my favorite – I have a dilute calico kitty.
Beach or mountains?
I like the beach just because it’s still novel to me, but I love the mountains! Growing up in Idaho, we went to the mountains every summer, and it’s still my happy place, especially by a babbling brook or a still mountain lake.
I’ve never been to the beach. I grew up in the Colorado mountains. I’m very partial to the mountains.
PC or Mac?
I only use PC. I hate Apple’s monopoly in principle. And practically, I’m just cheap.
Good to know!
What was the last book you read?
As in finished? The Time Machine by HG Wells.
I like to read at least one fiction and one nonfiction at the same time. I’m still reading That’s Amore by Marion Ueckermann for fiction and two nonfictions: Seeing is Believing by Greg Boyd with my sister and Hidden Potential by Wendy Pope with Proverbs31 online Bible studies.
That’s a lot to keep up with. I’m impressed!
Now, let’s get into some more detail!
What author(s) has (have) really influenced you?
So many! Pretty much everybody I read as a preteen really influenced me as a person as well as a writer: C.S. Lewis, JRR Tolkien, L.M. Montgomery, Janette Oke, and my favorite author of all time Jane Austen.
Such a great list of authors.
When did you start writing?
I remember one assignment in 6th grade to write our own Christmas story. It only needed to be one page, but I wrote a 3-page fan fiction and illustrated it. I was so proud of myself.
What a defining moment! That is great.
Why did you start writing?
That’s a little harder. I have always loved getting lost in the art of story. But I started to think I wasn’t very good at writing. Being a writer always felt like a pie-in-the-sky, someday-maybe pipedream. I dreamed of writing a novel and publishing it, but I could never even finish an entire story. My Creative Writing teacher in college ripped apart my final narrative, and I let it make me insecure.
Fast forward 14 years after marriage and two kids (and a lot of poetry and false starts) in 2015. I got the idea for an entire Christian romance series based on 1 Corinthians 13. I really believe the Lord inspired me. However, after only a week into it, my sister tried to commit suicide. I couldn’t continue writing my fluffy romance without any real meaning in life and death. But the next year, the Lord showed me that I could use my sister’s story in my story to make it more meaningful. Knowing where that first book needed to end and how it could help readers helped me finish it, the first-ever outside of school assignments. I now write to show readers what God has done in my life and in the life of my sister and to encourage them to anchor to hope, especially in marriage.
Suicide touches so many lives, in so many ways. It’s touched my family personally, too. I’m proud of you for finding your writing voice through that and letting God speak through you. Keep writing my friend.
What does your family think of your writing?
They are so supportive! My Mom bought extra copies of all my books for my hometown’s tiny library, my husband pays for writing retreats and watches the kids for me, and my boys have both begun writing their own novels. My husband also helped me co-write a Biblical fiction about Judas Iscariot that is being shopped around to agents!
This makes me so happy for you. Often I hear writers talk about how lonely the journey is. I’m so glad your family is supportive.
Share an excerpt from one of your stories (make sure to tell us which one and include a buy link).
Absolutely! Here’s an excerpt from the first in my “Love is” series, Her Heart’s Decision:
I picked up the bag with the few decorations I had personally chosen the night before, and I headed to the conference room to try to turn a stark, all-business room into an elegant business-lunch room. I was just putting the final touches on the centerpiece when my boss walked in.
“Wow, Morgan! This looks great! I guess I’ll keep you around for a little longer, huh?” I could tell he was joking and just smiled back.
“Oh, I forgot the hanging chandelier piece,” I added. I stepped onto the chair but couldn’t quite reach the ceiling. I then stepped onto the table, gingerly reaching around the centerpiece.
“Be careful, Morgan,” Jason warned.
I got it hung, but as I turned around to head back down, I got a little giddy and began to sway. “Morgan!” Jason grabbed me around the waist, steadied me, and then held my hand until I jumped back down onto solid ground again. Even then, he kept one hand on each of my arms as he asked, “Are you okay?”
I closed my eyes, shuddered, and then nodded as I opened my eyes. He shook me slightly, just for emphasis, as he gently berated me, “What were you thinking? If you’re scared of heights, ask me to do it! I don’t want to lose a good secretary… or… a pretty red-head.”
His hands moved up to my cheeks, and he cupped them and leaned closer as though he were getting ready to kiss me! His blue eyes held a depth that intrigued me and drew me closer, but my mind sounded warning bells. My heart pounding for a different reason now, I lowered my eyes and stepped back until he dropped his hands.
“You’re my boss,” I explained softly.
When he still had not responded after several moments, I finally, reluctantly glanced back up at him, not wanting to see the hurt or anger I was sure I would see. Perhaps a little hurt was there, but I saw mostly determination and even a little admiration.
“You’re right, I’m sorry,” he apologized. I’m sure my eyes widened with surprise. I certainly did not expect that! “It won’t happen again… until you want it to.”
Wow! I’m going up for that mailing list now. I hope all of our readers will do the same!
How does your faith influence your writing?
It’s the center of everything! I seek to glorify God in everything I write, shining the light of hope in Jesus within every book, with prayers and Scriptures sprinkled throughout.
That is so, so good. Praying you always have clarity and direction and that hearts are moved closer to our Father through your words.
What is most important to you for readers to gain from your stories?
Readers will learn how a believer should react to common events and learn from our mistakes and flaws, appreciating anew the glorious agape love of our Heavenly Father.
And I saved the best two for last:
What is your dream writing space and do you have it already?
No, I do not have a dream writing space! I long for a better one. One of the perks of our home, when we were looking to buy, was a little writing niche. Emphasis on the “little.” After we moved in, I found that I can’t spread out and don’t even have enough room for my laptop, mousepad, and notebook on that little thing. So I usually just write on my bed. Sometimes I will work at the kitchen table, but only if it’s quiet in the house. With two energetic boys, that’s almost never. 😉
I feel you there. We have a houseful of kiddos, too.
Where would you go, for how long, and what would you work on if you received an all-expenses-paid writer’s retreat?
Oh, that’s not a fair question – too many choices! I get decision overwhelm really easily. Well, if it’s all-expenses-paid, I would go to France, in the countryside somewhere outside of Paris (not that I’ve ever been there), and I would live there for two or three months and just soak in the culture and sightsee and write my next “Love is” series (hint: it would be #5, as #4 is almost to the revising stage).
Sounds like a perfect trip, for sure!
Blurb for the book you want to highlight today:
The “Love is” series is based on the Bible’s definition of true agape love in 1 Corinthians 13, a contemporary Christian Romance following Morgan’s saga from her first-person point of view, and set in a fictional small town in North Carolina. Morgan deals with dating, engagement, marriage, babies, family drama, and friend troubles in this realistic look at how agape love can be lived out by average Christians.
Her Heart’s Decision begins the series with an inspiring love triangle based on Christian values. Morgan wonders if her boss, Jason, might be her true love, but just as romance begins to bloom, her old flame Tony bursts back into her life and tries to woo her. How will Morgan choose her soulmate?
A die-hard lover of stories, introverted Lila loves to learn about people through imagination. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two boys, editing, blogging, connecting on social media, and pretending her dishes aren’t screaming to be cleaned. Having grown up in rural Idaho, she enjoys the small town in NC where she lives with her husband, two energetic boys, and a calico cat. Her passion for fellow believers, especially in fighting the climbing divorce rate inside the church and in worshiping through every circumstance leads her to tackle these problems one blog post at a time and through three published novels since 2017. Join her on a quest for romance—both in fiction and in real life—on her blog at www.liladiller.com.
Where can we find you online?
You can find my blog at www.liladiller.com/blog,
my books at www.liladiller.com/books,
or on Amazon at www.amazon.com/author/liladiller,
on Bookbub at https://www.bookbub.com/profile/lila-diller,
on Facebook at www.facebook.com/loveisseries,
on Instagram at www.instagram.com/liladiller,
on Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/liladiller,
and Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16575789.Lila_Diller
Thank you, Lila! I’ve really enjoyed spending time with you today. I pray that you have the fortitude and vision and clarity to keep writing, each and every day. Happy writing, my friend!
Until next time,