Welcome to today’s guest interviewee, Jacqueline Diamond, award-winning author of romance stories in multiple genres.
Do you start a new story with the plot or characters first?
It varies. Often I start with a plot twist or premise, but since I’ve been writing a series (Safe Harbor Medical, from Harlequin American Romance), I often explore a character or relationship that’s developed previously, secondary to the main story of an earlier book. My March 2015 release, The Baby Bonanza, features a couple who started out loathing each other and gradually, during the previous two books, became housemates and prickly friends.
Is your writing style planned or freestyle?
Definitely planned. I jot down ideas, then think about the hero-heroine conflict and the major turning points. I organize these and write a synopsis for my editor. However, the story and characters almost always change during the writing, so I update and revise my plot as I work.
What is the starting point for research—story concept or when you get stuck while writing?
There’s a lot of research involved because I’m writing about doctors, nurses, ultrasound technicians and other medical personnel, as well as occasionally people in other professions. I did a lot of research for my September 2014 novel, The Surprise Triplets, involving my hero, a family attorney, and his sister who was being sentenced to prison for robbery, leaving him to raise her daughter. I do as much research as possible in advance, because this helps determine the storyline, but often I find areas as I write that require further research.
Can you share a tip about what you do when you get stuck in creating a story?
For me, getting stuck almost always indicates that I’ve lost sight of something important or failed to develop something. I go back and reread what I’ve already written, plus review my plot outline. This has never failed me in 100 books so far.
Do you write in a genre other than the one of this release?
My 100 published books include romantic comedy, romantic suspense, medical romance, mystery, fantasy and even horror. I’ve contracted to write two more Safe Harbor Medical romances and then I plan to work on a mystery series, which I’ll probably self-publish.
Do you use visual aids (storyboards, Pintrest, collages) when plotting or writing?
It’s very helpful for me to cut out photos of models or actors to represent my main characters. This helps shape the development of their characters as well as reminding me of their appearance. I also draw maps of towns and other locales, and diagram the characters’ houses. I started doing this while writing a Gothic romantic suspense called Touch Me in the Dark where the hero and heroine rent rooms in a haunted house. About halfway through, I discovered that I’d conceived the action in ways that were physically impossible. I had to go back and draw a diagram, then revise the story.
What do you hope readers gain from your stories?
I find it moving to hear from readers who were encouraged, inspired or helped by one of my books. My goal is to provide both insight and encouragement—and, where appropriate, laughter.
BLURB for Daddy, M.D.
Five-year-old Spike wants fun-loving pediatrician Chad Markham, who just moved in next door, to be his daddy. But Spike’s Aunt Jill, who’s adopting her orphaned nephew, sees heartbreak ahead. Unable to bear children and still fragile after a painful divorce, she isn’t ready to fall in love with the handsome doctor. It’s surprising how one little boy, and Christmas, can bring a family together.
As soon as she turned into the mini-mall parking lot, relief swept through Jill. Spike’s head of shiny black hair glowed in the sunshine as he emerged from the parlor, blissfully licking a cone.
A man followed him out. Tall and lean, the newcomer had sun-warmed brown hair and a few crinkles around his eyes as he smiled down at the boy. The way the maroon sweater stretched across his muscular chest made it evident that he packed plenty of power.
Despite the stranger’s good looks, why was he buying her nephew a treat? Surely he realized that an unaccompanied child ought to be reported.
Jill’s throat went dry as the man caught Spike’s free hand and led him along the sidewalk. She was reaching for her cell phone when she remembered her concern about involving the police. Besides, there was no indication that the man had done anything wrong.
Gathering her courage, she stepped from the car and marched toward the duo. The closer she got, the less angry Jill became. Spike’s cocky manner of walking indicated he felt in charge of the situation, although that could be a delusion. However, his companion’s lopsided smile as he listened to the boy reinforced her impression that he was a good-hearted bystander.
“Hi,” Jill called. The pair stopped, and Spike presented a grin full of mischief.
“Ice cream!” he crowed. “It’s for my tonsils.”
“Your tonsils?” Jill repeated in confusion.
“They fell out,” the man said solemnly. At close range she saw that he had intelligent, gray-green eyes.
Unexpectedly, his assessing gaze made her aware of herself as a woman… aware of her hair falling softly to her shoulders, and of the silk blouse that clung to her body. Most of all, aware of the fact that it had been far too long since a man had studied her this intently.
What’s wrong with you? Hunger pangs, maybe. But the wrong kind of hunger.
“His tonsils fell out?” she repeated. “That’s a creative excuse for eating ice cream.”
“This isn’t ice cream,” her nephew said. “It’s frozen yogurt. Like you tell me to eat, Aunt Jill.”
The man’s expression darkened. She was trying to figure out what she’d done wrong, when he said, “Are you the person responsible for this little guy?”
“I’m his guardian,” she said cautiously.
“Don’t you know he’s too young to play unsupervised?” he demanded.
“Of course I know.” It had been a long day and she felt embarrassed about her initial attraction to this judgmental man. “I appreciate your looking after him,” Jill said crisply. “I’m well aware of my responsibilities, thank you. And I’d be happy to reimburse you for the frozen yogurt, Mr.—?”
“Doctor,” he said. “Dr. Markham. I’m a pediatrician.”
In spite of her annoyance, Jill was impressed by the man’s title. That fact made her even more determined to stand up to him. She’d spent four years of marriage being too awed by her dynamo husband to challenge him about anything. Never again.
“How much do I owe you?” To her chagrin, she realized she’d left her purse in the car. She didn’t need to admit that, though, until he named an amount.
“Nothing,” he said. “I only hope you’ve learned a lesson from this experience.”
Her cheeks flamed. “I certainly have. Next time, I’ll tell the baby-sitter to chain my nephew to a chair so he can’t wander off while she’s in the other room. That should take care of the problem.”
“There was a sitter? I assumed…” He stopped in confusion.
“Next time, take the trouble to ask.” Gripping Spike’s free arm, Jill led him toward the car without a backward glance. She doubted the arrogant Dr. Markham would be offering an apology, anyway.
Learn a lesson? She had, indeed. She’d learned which doctor not to request when she took Spike to the clinic.
Jacqueline Diamond has published 100 novels, including romantic comedy, romantic suspense, fantasy, mystery and Regency romance. A two-time finalist for the Rita Award, Jackie received a Career Achievement Award from Romantic Times and is a former reporter and TV columnist for the Associated Press. Her bestselling ebooks include By Leaps and Bounds, Designer Genes and A Lady’s Point of View. Jackie also writes the Safe Harbor Medical miniseries for Harlequin American Romance.
website: www.jacquelinediamond.com (sign up for free monthly newsletter on site)
Facebook site, JacquelineDiamondAuthor.
On Twitter: @jacquediamond.
Daddy M.D. will be free on Amazon from 12/31 thru 1/4/15