DiAnn Mills: I had previously written a nonfiction book about the Lost Boys of Sudan – Lost Boy No More. From that research, I wrote the novel “When the Lion Roars,” but the story would not let me go. Through numerous interviews and extensive reading, I grew to love and admire the courageous Sudanese people and was burdened by their incredible needs. I had to bring them back in When the Nile Runs Red.
E: Why Sudan?
DM: This country went through nearly two decades of civil war strife. In 1983, the northern government launched a holy war against the south. This grew out of the views of the Islamic north against the mostly Christian black African south. The war had three aspects: religion, politics, and oil. The atrocities committed against the southern people are too many to list, but the war was fought in the south through genocide.
E:How did you conduct your research?
DM:I grabbed my backpack and sun screen and traveled to Juba, Sudan, the southern capital. There I stayed at a Christian compound and met with southern Sudanese from all walks of life: refugees, political leaders, and church leaders. I talked to as many people as I could, snapped pictures, and listened to what was being said.
DM: The incredible faith. I could look into a Sudanese’s eyes and see the pain of persecution and the hope of Jesus. Here, we say we love Jesus while we live in our huge homes, drive our fancy cars, are well-fed, are not hunted down for our faith, or are concerned about medical care. The Sudanese understand that all they have and need is Jesus.
E: Can you give us a brief description of your characters?
DM: Paul Farid was once a Muslim who actively persecuted the southern people, but now he’s a Christian who flies dangerous missions into war-torn areas to deliver food and medical supplies. Dr. Larson Kerr Farid risks her life to bring healing to the Sudanese. Just like her husband Paul, her life is often in danger. But there is a problem between her and Paul with no easy solution.
Colonel Ben Alier has been fighting and leading the southern army of Sudan for nearly two decades. Often referred to as a warlord, Ben fights his own demons. The three are friends, an unlikely friendship forged by their love for Sudan.
E: What are you goals for this novel?
DM: To increase awareness about the situation in Sudan and to share my passion for the Sudanese people through a compelling story. The proceeds for this novel go back to aid the Sudanese.
DM: Check out my website at http://www.diannmills.com/. I have sections about Sudan, and for readers, and writers. Those signing up for my newsletter get to download a chapter of an upcoming release.
My friend DiAnn lives in sunny Houston, Texas, the home of heat, humidity, and Harleys. In fact she’d own a Harley, but she say her legs are too short. DiAnn and her husband have four adult sons and are active members of Metropolitan Baptist Church. You can buy When the Nile Runs Red right here.