Today I’m thrilled to welcome author Jacqueline Diamond as she talks about the inspiration behind her stories. Read through to the end to find out how you can enter her giveaway.
The question that readers most often ask, in my experience of writing more than a hundred novels, is: Where do you get your ideas?
My answer goes something like this: Ideas are everywhere. The tricky part is weaving them together so that characters come to life, a story takes shape and the emotions resonate with the reader.
In preparing this blog, I took a fresh look at The Would-Be Mommy. As the first book in my Safe Harbor Medical romance series, it has a special significance to me. What was originally intended as a three-book series grew over the years to encompass seventeen books, plus the spin-off Safe Harbor Medical Mystery series. I’m currently writing the fourth mystery!
Here’s what struck me: although my hero and heroine are distinct personalities with family backgrounds very different from mine, we also have a surprising amount in common.
My hero, Ian, is a reporter for an international syndicate; I’ve worked as a reporter and editor for two newspapers and The Associated Press. Jennifer does public relations for a hospital; I spent a year as an assistant at a public relations firm before entering journalism.
And more: my fictional hospital specializes in helping women overcome medical issues to have babies. I underwent medical treatments and problem pregnancies over the course of eight years before giving birth to two wonderful sons. They are now grown men with delightful wives who enrich my husband’s and my lives.
Of course, I didn’t simply draw on personal experiences to create this book—let alone the entire series! There’s a lot of research and planning, but also a mysterious creative process that defies conventional analysis.
During this process, my conscious mind draws on personal experiences, the craft of writing and an undercurrent of creativity to weave a tapestry. With each book, I plan ahead, then make a leap of faith as I begin writing and the characters take on lives of their own. Then I go back to polish and revise.
If this sounds ridiculously complicated, well, sometimes it is. So if you hear anyone refer to authors “churning out” our work, or writing by formula, you can be sure they don’t know what they’re talking about. Certainly not in my case!
• Do you have a dedicated place to write, or a nook or corner of a room, or the kitchen table?
My writing spot is a private office, upstairs in my house. I’m surrounded by copies of my earlier books, reference materials, photos of models and actors who resemble my characters, and what I jokingly refer to as “my staff.” This consists of three stuffed animals: a camel dressed as King Tut that I acquired at a museum; a little puffin that’s a souvenir of trip to Alaska, and my alter ego, Eeyore, who keeps me grounded. In addition to buoying my moods, they cheer my positive reviews and mutter menacingly about any less-than-stellar ones!
• What do you enjoy doing for relaxation?
Reading, of course, both fiction and nonfiction. Gardening comes next: it’s my form of exercise, a way of enjoying beautiful flowers, and a method of raising vegetables for the table. The mild climate of Southern California makes it possible to raise both cool and warm-weather crops, but without a cold chill, I have to battle harder against the bugs. Favorite vegetables include tomatoes, basil, peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, beets, onions and the occasional oddball variety, like lemon-shaped cucumbers.
• What can your readers expect from you next?
The journey that began with The Would-Be Mommy continues, with a twist, in the fourth Safe Harbor Medical Mystery. I’m about three-quarters of the way through writing The Case of the Long-Lost Lover, in which my hero, Dr. Eric Darcy, becomes a suspect in the disappearance of a woman with whom he was once involved. I’m aiming at a fall publication date.
I’d like to give away an ebook copy of The Would-Be Mommy. The winner will receive a coupon to download a free copy from Smashwords.com, in his or her preferred format (such as .mobi for Kindle or .epub for Nook).
A question for readers to answer: Do you find medical settings interesting in books and TV? Any favorite medical topics or storylines?
About The Would-Be Mommy
Babies, babies, everywhere! But can she keep hers?
When journalist Ian Martin stirs up trouble with his news story about a hospital welcoming abandoned babies, the roguish reporter accidentally ignites a firestorm around public relations director Jennifer Serra. Now she faces losing her heart to a baby she can’t keep, and losing her job because of a scandalous secret.
After surviving a tragedy years earlier, Jennifer has made a new life for herself. Then Ian’s report implies that young moms who can’t keep their babies can find the perfect families for them at Safe Harbor Medical Center. One young teen insists on surrendering her newborn to Jennifer, who falls instantly in love.
Despite his strong attraction to this vulnerable woman, Ian’s globe-hopping ambitions will soon carry him far from Jennifer’s small town in California. But when the glare of publicity raises painful accusations that threaten everything she cares about, he must choose between his dreams and his heart.
Called a “brilliantly moving story” by Cataromance.com, The Would-Be Mommy is the first book in USA Today bestselling author Jacqueline Diamond’s award-winning Safe Harbor Medical romance series.
Links for The Would-Be Mommy:
USA Today bestselling author Jacqueline Diamond has sold romantic comedies, medical romances, Regency romances and mysteries—more than 100 titles. A former Associated Press reporter and TV columnist, Jackie is known for her Safe Harbor Medical romances and mysteries. Jackie has been honored with a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award and is a two-time Rita Award finalist. Please visit her website at http://www.jacquelinediamond.net to sign up for her free newsletter!
Page one of The Would-Be Mommy:
Everywhere he looked, Ian Martin saw babies. Around the plush hospital lobby, giant photos of babies hung on the walls. Between the designer couches, life-size dolls beamed from their carriages at the throng of local press and small-town dignitaries. Now, if a few Uzi-toting toddlers in camouflage pj’s would burst in, that might be interesting.
As if he weren’t already on infant overload, Ian noticed two women in advanced stages of pregnancy posing for photographs. Presumably they’d both conceived with the high-tech help of the doctors here at Safe Harbor Medical Center, whose six stories of state-of-the-art equipment were detailed on a large wall chart.
Honestly. Didn’t these people have anything better to do? He certainly did.
Although Ian had covered wars from Africa to Afghanistan, his editor seemed to think he had a gift for human-interest stories. So, as he was already in Southern California with a free Friday evening, he’d been dispatched to cover the official reopening of this updated, expanded maternity hospital. He’d much rather be digging into his main investigation of a federal judge accused of taking bribes, or even poking into the Hollywood divorce scandal that was his secondary reason for descending on the area.
Across the room, he exchanged wry glances with cameraman Pierre Fabray, a coworker from the L.A. bureau of Flash News/Global. With a shrug, Pierre returned his attention to a mom-to-be who, judging by the size of her, must be pregnant with triplets.
Idly, Ian dropped a couple of entry tickets into the raffle box in front of a display of expensive baby furnishings. He’d parted with twenty bucks for them, since the raffle raised money for needy families, the kind that could never otherwise afford these luxurious surroundings. If he won—and Ian had remarkable luck—he planned to donate the gear to charity.
That task accomplished, he gazed around for power players he might be able to prod into saying something provocative. There had to be a story here somewhere. If Ian couldn’t find it, he’d stir one up by asking questions somebody didn’t want to answer.
First obvious player: hospital administrator Mark Rayburn, a father-knows-best-type obstetrician in his late thirties. Second possibility: a lady from the corporation that owned the hospital. From her spiked heels to her mask of makeup, she looked like she breakfasted on nails and spat them out machine-gun–style at anyone who crossed her.
Neither of them was likely to yield more than an irritable quote or two. Better to locate the inevitable gadfly. There must be a doctor who’d worked at the facility prior to its transformation from a community hospital and who was less than thrilled to see it turned into a haven for the moneyed.
Ian didn’t see anyone fitting that description hanging around, shooting his mouth off. He needed assistance, and from what he’d seen of the public relations director, talking to her wouldn’t be painful at all.
He located Jennifer Serra outside the auditorium. Dark hair tumbled appealingly from a knot atop her head, and the exotic tilt to her dark eyes intrigued him, as did a hint of sadness that made him wonder what secrets she harbored. But although he was known as much for digging into personalities as for rooting out facts, Ms. Serra wasn’t his target tonight. Too bad.