In the new romantic suspense novel Airborne by DiAnn Mills, a killer virus is unleashed on a plane full of passengers. Aboard the flight is Houston FBI Agent Heather Lawrence. Heather works to track down the killer, and soon her husband Dr. Chad Lawrence, who studies viruses for a living, is a suspect. In the Q&A below, see what DiAnn shared about Heather and Chad, her hopes for the story, and more.
Q. Where did you come up with the idea for the plot of Airborne?
A. Honestly, I have no idea, but the concept was probably a dream. The what-if wouldn’t leave me alone: What if a virus was unleashed on an international flight? But the research stopped me cold. Nearly three years after the idea, I began the research and writing process.
Q. How does faith play a role in the story?
A. People in charge of others sometimes find it difficult to rely on God when they feel a personal responsibility for what goes on around them. My hero and heroine found a spiritual crisis in which they had to choose whether to accept God’s sovereignty or walk away.
Q. What inspired the personality traits of your main character, Houston FBI Agent Heather Lawrence?
A. I wanted to show a woman and agent whose background in behavior analysis served as an aid and a determent in trying to figure out who was behind the unleashing of the virus. My desire was to show a complex woman whose marriage had hit rock bottom, but she loved her husband. She met challenges head-on, and yet, the inconceivable blindsided her.
Q. Heather and her husband have a strained relationship, which only gets more complicated when his possible connection to the virus outbreak is revealed. Why did you choose to include Heather’s husband as a suspect? What might this conflict reveal about the nature of marriage?
A. For Heather’s character arc, for her to grow and change, she needed to experience betrayal and doubt in the worst way. I wanted her to be pelted with why she didn’t see that Chad’s motivation to achieve success meant sacrificing the lives of others in the name of medical research.
In a marriage, when a spouse puts work or an interest above the relationship, that priority supersedes the marriage and even God. The unbalance causes the marriage to deteriorate.
Q. What are you most excited for your readers to experience through reading this novel?
A. Hope . . . hope in a failing marriage; hope in a fallen world; hope and trust in God’s sovereignty.
Q. What was your favorite scene to write in Airborne?
My favorite scene was when Heather undergoes surgery for appendicitis. Chad flies to see her with the realization he loves her and wants to save their marriage. But he will not serve God. Heather refuses reconciliation until he actively pursues a relationship with God.
Q. Can you tell us about some future projects you’re working on?
A. I’m currently working on my next romantic suspense novel. A woman is released from prison after serving fifteen years for a murder she didn’t commit, though she confessed to the crime.