Interview with Jacqueline Diamond, author of 6 Regency novels

14 Dec
Austenites,
Today I’m hosting Jacqueline Diamond, author of several Regency novels. She recently reissued her out-of-print Regencies in digital editions. It’s a thrill for her to reconnect with the Janeite community, so she agreed to answer a few questions!
Carolyn Crist: What motivated you to pursue publication as an author?
Jacqueline Diamond: At age 4, I made my brother teach me to read when he came home from school each day. At age 5, I wrote my first story (it was one sentence long). I don’t honestly remember a time when I didn’t intend to be an author.

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After college, I received a one-year playwriting fellowship, which I spent traveling in Europe and writing a play (never produced, but I learned a lot). Then returning to reality, I moved in with my very patient brother in California and got a job with a public relations firm, after which I went into journalism (two newspapers and the Associated Press). At the age of 32, I sold my first novel, a Regency romance. Lady in Disguise is now available for Kindle and Nook.
Carolyn: What sparked the ideas for your books?
Jacqueline: I’ve always felt as if the characters and stories actually exist, but without me their tales would never be told. My challenge hasn’t been getting ideas but shaping and developing them and learning the fiction skills that most writers struggle with: point of view, exposition, story structure, and so on.
Carolyn: How did you first decide to write Regency novels, and why did you decide to reissue them recently?
Jacqueline: I was working at the Associated Press and had been writing novels and plays for ten years after college with no notable success. Then Masterpiece Theatre aired Pride and Prejudice (the series with Elizabeth Garvey). I fell in love with all things Jane Austen. After reading her books, I was in the library one day and discovered Regency romances. Devouring dozens of them inspired me to begin doing researching and writing my own. I wrote two—Lady in Disguise and Song for Lady—before selling them to Walker and Company in hardcover.
Once they went out of print, I requested that all rights be returned to me. Although my agent was able to sell some foreign rights to these, there was no other market until Amazon and Barnes and Noble enabled authors to post their own work. At that point, I had the books scanned, reedited them and put together new covers.

Carolyn: How did you support yourself financially while writing?

Jacqueline: As mentioned above, I worked for about a year in public relations and then for about ten years in journalism. Since I sold Lady in Disguise, I’ve gone on to sell 90 novels. Some years I earn a fulltime income and some years not. Contrary to what the public often assumes, romance writers don’t necessarily rake in big bucks, and I’ve continued to receive rejections.
In fact, some of my favorite non-Regencies, including the paranormal romance Touch Me in the Dark and the darkly funny murder mystery Danger Music, took years to sell. I’ve reissued these for Kindle and Nook also.

To finish answering your question, I also teach writing (through LongRidgeWritersGroup.com). And my husband of 33 years, an IT business analyst, brings in his share of the income. We have two sons in their twenties.

Carolyn: And what are your next steps?
Jacqueline: A big fan of Grey’s Anatomy, I’m currently writing a series of medical-themed romances, Safe Harbor Medical, for Harlequin American Romance. The sixth book, The Surgeon’s Surprise Twins, came out in October 2011 and the seventh, The Detective’s Accidental Baby, is due (pun intended) in February 2012. An earlier release, Falling for the Nanny (book number five), was just nominated for an award by Romantic times. Next, I need to put together a proposal for another three books and hope Harlequin buys them!
Also, since I own the digital rights to eleven of my early Harlequins, I’m reediting and updating them. These are contemporary romantic comedies. So far I’ve reissued Old Dreams, New Dreams, about a hairdresser pursuing her dream of working in Hollywood.
There’ll be more romantic comedies after the first of the year. I hope people will visit my website at www.jacquelinediamond.com, where I post free writing tips and updates on my books. I also provide tips and publishing industry news on Twitter as @jacquediamond.

Thanks, Jackie! You’re an inspiration.

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