Q&A: Diane Burke
The way things are supposed to work, murderers go to jail and little boys don't witness horrific crimes. Unfortunately, in the city of Country Corners, that's not how things played out. In the wake of a horrible double-suicide, the murderer got away and the only witness, a little boy named Jeremy, is locked away in a jail of his own mind. Jeremy is autistic... and now he's in danger again.
WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION DRIVING THE STORY IN SILENT WITNESS?
I’ve always been intrigued with both autistic children and elderly Alzheimer’s patients. Communication is a focal point in building human relationships. My heart has always gone out to the people who have difficulty communicating with others on even the most basic level. The people suffering from autism and Alzheimer’s get lost at times within their own minds and have communication difficulties expressing their wants and needs. In this book, I chose to explore the world of autism. I fully intend to address Alzheimer’s in a future story.
HOW DO YOU CHOOSE WHICH STORY TO WRITE?
Ha! This question is a difficult one. Plotting is my weakest skill. I usually get the tiniest seed of an idea. In Double Identity it came from a dream I had. Silent Witness from living and working with family members with the disorders. Midnight Caller because I once was a single mom and because I love scary shows like Criminal Minds. Once I get that seed it’s like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. I need a piece of this character’s backstory and then this character’s current problem and then I need to consider the villain and then complications, at least three, that make the situation seem impossible to overcome. So, I don’t think I choose which story to write. I think in the long run it chooses me.
ALTHOUGH YOUR BOOK IS FICTION - WHAT ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF ELEMENTS IN THE BOOK THAT CAME FROM REAL LIFE?
Before I became an author, I worked as an occupational therapist with children. The methods the psychologist uses in the story such as swaddling and rocking, quiet and routine are all treatment methods I used training caregivers with autistic children.
WHAT DO YOU HOPE THAT READERS GET OUT OF YOUR WORK?
First and foremost, I’m hoping my readers are entertained. I write romantic suspense to let people escape their problems and every day stressors if only for a little while and have some fun. I also want readers to see my characters learn to rely on God when they have doubts or trouble or feel they are all alone out there because they’re not.
WHAT PROJECTS ARE YOU WORKING ON NOW?
I have two major projects that I am working on right now. When I was a teenager, I was forced to give up my first-born son for adoption. In April of this year, almost forty one years later, my son found me and is now a daily presence in my life. The two of us are co-authoring a book on our experience. The working title at the moment is One Perfect Day: an adoption memoir and we are both very excited about it.
I am also working on a project for the Love Inspired Romantic Suspense line. I am excited about this story as well because I am bringing back characters from my current book, Silent Witness, and I have never done that before.