The Long and the Short of It is very excited to have Jacqueline Diamond with us this week. Jacqueline is a former Associate Press reporter and television columnist. She also has eighty romance and mystery novels published. I asked her about her writing schedule.
“I aim to be at my desk by 8:15 a.m.,” she said. “ Do I always make it? Well, close! No excuses, since I rarely hit traffic on the staircase between my kitchen and my second-floor office.”
She does have a confession, however. Working at home, she also takes the opportunity to do some chores at the same time. “I usually run laundry in the morning, so when I take a break for coffee, I switch it to the dryer unless my husband (who also works at home, in the real estate field) beats me to it.”
Her day continues. “At around noon, after reading email and handling business-related matters, I break for lunch. On a busy day, I’ll put in two afternoon sessions of about an hour and a half each, and when there’s a deadline crunch, I’ll work another hour in the evening. Sometimes I add a few hours on Saturdays as well.”
Given her structure when it comes to writing, I was interested in how she goes about developing her novels. “I start with a situation, then build around it by asking questions,” she told me. “What kind of characters would get involved in this scenario? What are their dreams and goals? Their strengths and weaknesses? How do they react to the situation, and where does that lead them? As you can see, by this point I’m developing the plot!”
When a case of writer’s block comes up, she has a method for dealing with it. To her “writer’s block is a sign of either burnout, in which case I need a break or a nap, or confusion about where I’m going with the story. In that situation, I review my notes and try to figure out what’s missing or where I’ve gone off track.”
Jacqueline admitted to hating the way she looks in pictures. She told me, “I wear glasses, which are devilishly hard to photograph, but without them, I’m blind. Also, in our society, we’re surrounded by photos of beautiful women, often at the peak of their youth and attractiveness. We authors (with a few lovely exceptions like Jackie Collins) tend to be on the plain side. The good news is that my mother still thinks I’m beautiful!”
She made me laugh when she told me something she wished scientists would invent, because I could definitely identify with it! “I think automobile designers should come up with a car,” she said, “ that has potty seats and its own sewage system so women can drive comfortably for hours.”
And, a little known fact about her… it depends on where she is whether or not she likes thunderstorms. “When I’m visiting my mother in my home state of Tennessee,” Jacqueline said, “I enjoy sitting in her octagonal, glass-walled living room during a thunderstorm. The rain sheets down all around, the lightning puts on a fabulous display behind the trees and hills – who could ask for more?” It’s different when she’s at home, however. “In California… thunderstorms scare the heck out of me because they’re so rare. Also, the rumble reminds me of the infrasound right before an earthquake hits – scary!”
One sad note injected itself into our interview, however. Her favorite animal, her cat Blue Eyes, has been diagnosed with incurable cancer. Jacqueline and her family are trying to make his last days as comfortable as possible. Jacqueline, our prayers and best wishes go out for your family and Blue Eyes during this time.
Please visit Jacqueline at her website.