Thursday, March 31, 2016

Guest Post: "Reinventing Myself (Again)" by Jacqueline Diamond

Please welcome prolific author Jacqueline Diamond who has a few thoughts about how one has to adapt to changing market forces and other issues during a writing career….

Reinventing Myself (Again)

There ought to be a warrantee for authors. After a certain number of years in the book biz and/or a minimum number of novels published, you get a free pass. Write a book you love and shazam! editors and readers snap it up.

I wish it worked that way, but my scars—invisible but real—prove it doesn’t. Yet I refuse to admit defeat. After more than 30 years and 100 published books, I’m taking a big risk to (cliché alert!) follow my dream.

Let’s start with the back story. In the early 1980s, after honing my fiction skills while working at two newspapers and the Associated Press, I sold four Regency romances to a hardcover publisher. Despite strong reviews, my editor rejected the fifth with a scathing letter that, to me, came out of the blue.

The book, A Lady’s Point of View, later sold to a different publisher with minor revisions and has proved popular. In the meantime, the need to pay my bills sent me in a different direction, to contemporary romance.

At Harlequin and Berkley, my reinvented self established a reputation for romantic comedies. Although I enjoyed writing them, I hadn’t lost my taste for the puzzle plotting and excitement of mysteries.

When The Eyes of a Stranger sold to St. Martin’s Press, I figured I was on my way, but no such luck. My next mystery, Danger Music, suffered several rejections before landing at Five Star. A haunted-house mystery, Touch Me in the Dark, also struggled before finding a publisher, Triskelion, which promptly went bankrupt. Not exactly encouraging!

With two kids to raise, I settled in to writing for Harlequin. There was much to be grateful for, including a steady if modest income, some excellent editors and, of course, my readers.

Not only am I the daughter of a doctor, I owe my life to medical interventions on more than one occasion. As a result, I keep up with medical news, and many of my romances have had medical themes.

In 2010 I invented a fictional California hospital, Safe Harbor Medical Center, as the setting for three linked novels, each featuring a different hero and heroine. As more ideas came, the series expanded to six, then nine, twelve, and ultimately seventeen books.

Despite this success, I hadn’t stopped yearning to write mysteries. It was time, I decided, to take the leap to self-publishing. No more crossing my fingers and hoping some editor would decide my work fit into his or her current line. No worries about having to pad the length or squeeze into an arbitrary page limit.

However, I’d learned a lesson along the way. While freedom is great, you can’t leave your fans behind. I’d established what publicists call a brand: fast-paced, emotionally satisfying stories that unexpectedly make readers laugh. And let’s not forget the medical themes!

As my hero, I created a young obstetrician, Eric Darcy, whose best friend is a homicide detective. His inner circle also includes his late wife’s sister, a prickly private investigator. For the setting, I chose my fictional town of Safe Harbor, which has developed into a multi-layered place with a police department and detective agency as well as the hospital. 

That’s how I came to write The Case of the Questionable Quadruplet, Book 1 of the Safe Harbor Medical Mysteries. For my 101st book, I’m starting over. But after more than 30 years in the book biz, that’s only to be expected.

Jacqueline Diamond ©2016

Available to pre-order now in advance of the April 5, 2016 Publication date.

The Case of the Questionable Quadruplet

Young, widowed obstetrician Eric Darcy is stunned when the mother of triplets claims to have borne a fourth baby, a quad, that was stolen from her years ago. When someone murders his patient, Eric believes the police are dismissing a vital clue and teams up with his PI sister-in-law to investigate, never imagining his own life might be in danger.

A former Associated Press reporter and TV columnist, USA Today bestselling author Jacqueline Diamond has sold mysteries, medical romances, Regency romances and romantic comedies to publishers including Harlequin, St. Martin’s Press and Five Star Mysteries. The Case of the Questionable Quadruplet is her 101st published novel. The parents of two grown sons, Jackie and her husband live in Southern California.


Jan Christensen said...

Jacqueline, what a journey you've been on! One hundred and one novels written is simply incredible. You are an inspiration to all. I hope you latest mystery novel becomes a best seller! And I hope to see a follow-up post here on Kevin's Corner.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

I would like to see that as well. :) said...

Reimagining your writing is a wonderful (albeit sometimes unexpected) way to keep writing fresh. It sounds like you are a true professional. All best with your latest mystery.