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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Fantasy week seven and playoffs: Create your own scene

11 Dec

This is the seventh week of Jane Austen fantasy — and the playoffs! Congrats for making it to the end — and the end of 2011. I can’t believe it’s almost a new year.

Everyone should name their five characters for the week on the previous post. The seventh scenario is below.

You have all week to pose your response!

Here’s the point system to keep in mind and then the scenario below.

The scoring system:

5 points per character that you play each week that I use in the scene

10 points if you respond to the weekly scene

15 points if a character you played “wins” in the weekly scene

20 points if I pick your response for the weekly scene

I’m feeling sassy (and OK, perhaps a bit lazy), so for the playoffs, I’m not going to create a scene, per se. You are!

You all have been so creative, so feel free to throw it all out there. Is there something you’ve wanted to write during the past few weeks that you haven’t been able to fit into a previous post? You know your style – humor, twists, letters, or dialogue. Pick what works for you and throw it at me.

This time, instead of giving you characters to play, I’ll give you points if you can incorporate the 5 players you named for this week’s scene. Maybe this is my twist for the end? I hope you like it!

Good luck! Thank you so much for playing with me. This has been a blast, and I hope to think up more competitions in the future. It has been fabulous to meet you and read your creative thoughts! I’ll post a final response next weekend (let’s be real, probably Sunday) to announce the final winner. I’ll e-mail you to ask for your address so I can send out the prize!

Austen fantasy week six: Winners and heading into playoffs

11 Dec

I didn’t announce that week six was the second to last week, and this week is the last! I’m quite excited to send out the prize. We had four lovely scenes this week, go read them here.

All of the scenes were fabulous for various reasons! I love that both Mary and Kirk referenced Army versus Navy. Cinta’s scene included a letter and the complex emotions of impatience, tension, and jealousy, while Kirk’s scene provided laughs, modern references, wit, and a dance between the author and Tom Lefroy. Who wouldn’t love that? Nicole continued her epic story with intensity, and Mary provided lovely description and several emotions. I gave everyone 10 points for these reasons and 20 to Mary for being this week’s winner!

Don’t forget to pick your 5 players for week seven/the playoffs!!

—-

The scoring system:

5 points per character that you play each week that I use in the scene

10 points if you respond to the weekly scene

15 points if a character you played “wins” in the weekly scene

20 points if I pick your response for the weekly scene

—-

Here are the point totals for this week:

Cinta: 210

Kirk: 190

Mary: 180

Nicole: 175

Irene: 150

Sarabeth: 75

Rebekah: 25

Karen: 20

Andrea: 15

Alysa: 10

Jen: 10

Susan: 5

Betsy: 0

Life in Labels: 0

Now it’s time to put your team in for week seven. The playoffs!!

Don’t forget that you’re playing for a leather-bound copy of Austen’s works, which I will buy and ship during the week of Christmas!

Interview with Michelle Franklin, author of the Haanta Series

9 Dec

Hey Austenites,

I took a small hiatus from interviews for a few days, but now I’m back! Today I’m hosting Michelle Franklin, who wrote the Haanta Series. It’s a bit different when you think about “Austen fiction,” so read ahead!

Carolyn Crist: What sparked you to pursue creative writing?

Michelle Franklin: I was so horrid at everything else, I felt as though I didn’t really have a choice but to write. I have been forever writing since my first taste of storytelling in grade 4. I wrote a horrendous story about cat people. From there, however, I moved onto the bigger and the better, and have never stopped since.

 

Carolyn: What ideas led to the Haanta Series?

Michelle: Everything has always been giants and warriors and kings with me. I just finally had the good sense to put it all together. I was also laid off work during the recession and had little else but myself, the computer, and the walls to furnish me. That helps creativity: when one is left with nothing but one’s own imagination. I began writing stories of a woman and a giant, and eventually their relationship blossomed into 30 books and over 100 characters.

The series begins when Commander Boudicca MacDaede must make a last stand to defend her kingdom. She finds Rautu imprisoned in the armoury where she is stationed and asks him to help her turn the tide of the war being fought between her nation of Frewyn and the neighboring nation of Gallei. They win the current battle and Rautu is asked to stay to win the war. Thus begins the first book in the series.

 

Carolyn: Why do you describe it as “Austenesque, with giants”?

Michelle: Many critics describe my style of writing as Austenesque. This is probably due to the fact that the only books I enjoy are classics. Classical style narrative is all my delight, which is very much discouraged in authors nowadays. I haven’t enjoyed a book that was published after 1950 in some time, and therefore my style reflects the books I enjoy most, Jane’s work being of the highest on my list.

 

Carolyn: What characters draw your attention?

Michelle: Characters who have the heart of their authors. TH White’s character of Lancelot from Ill-Made Knight is an excellent example: a character that at first we sympathize with and then is dragged through unutterable hell but is ultimately redeemed in the end. Most of Jane’s characters are the same, I feel: they begin in a mess and then are all reconciled by the end. I do my best to reconcile all my characters. They are my family, and I cannot let them suffer for long without having myself suffer in return. Any character who is worthy of redemption draws my attention.

 

Carolyn: What intrigues you about Jane Austen?

Michelle: Jane often went her own way, and her style is so unique that it’s maddening to think so little else is like to it. She does very well to delve into the mind and describe sensibility as no one else can do. Many authors are taught this rule of “show and don’t tell”, but Jane tells us a great deal, and her only enemy on this point was Mark Twain. She knows more about love and the female mind than anyone else in the literary world. I can only contrive to discover a fraction of what she knows.

 

Carolyn: How do you support yourself financially while writing?

Michelle: I live on a small income, as most great hermits of the world must do. I have much support from family and friends, and pity from readers who are so good as to buy and read my books.

Thank you, Michelle!

Mini Jane Austen adventures: Bonding with Billy

7 Dec

Jane and Shakespeare explore the living room.

Jane Austen and Shakespeare box

Jane Austen and Shakespeare on jar

Jane Austen black dressJane Austen purse

Shakespeare in video case

Mini Jane Austen adventures: Exploring the kitchen

7 Dec

Jane takes an evening walk around the kitchen. Yes, I understand my roommate and I are a bit silly.

mini Jane Austen crock pot

Jane Austen glass

Jane Austen in blender

 

 

Mini Jane Austen adventures: A journey into the dryer

7 Dec

Yes, into the dryer she goes. No clothes to find, but plenty to climb.

 

mini Jane Austen dryer door

 

mini Jane Austen on dryer

mini Jane Austen in dryer

Fantasy week six: Hearts and emotion

4 Dec

This is the sixth week of Jane Austen fantasy! Almost at the end!

Everyone should name their five characters for the week on the previous post. The sixth scenario is below.

You get points for whoever you play. When you post your response to the scenario, you can use anyone in the scene, even if you didn’t play them from your team.

You have all week to pose your response!

Here’s the point system to keep in mind and then the scenario below.

The scoring system:

5 points per character that you play each week that I use in the scene

10 points if you respond to the weekly scene

15 points if a character you played “wins” in the weekly scene

20 points if I pick your response for the weekly scene

This weekend, I’m feeling emotional and pensive, so I’m going to incorporate that into this week’s scene.

Create a scene with a strong emotion and several Jane Austen characters. This can be happy, sad, angry, positive, negative, whatever you want. I just want to see the dynamics of the characters.

Remember, you can use anyone in the scene, but this week you will get points for playing: Mr. Darcy, Mr. Bingley, Mr. Knightley, Emma Woodhouse, Col. Brandon, Fanny Price, Mary Crawford, Catherine Morland, Admiral Croft, Charlotte Lucas.

Let’s get back to the winner idea. Last week, I couldn’t award points for that because the scenes didn’t really include a winner. Let’s rack up the points! Ha ha.

Austen fantasy week five: Winners and picking teams a few more times

4 Dec

Hey guys,

Can you believe it’s December? We’re in the holiday season. Crazy! Only two scenes posted this week, but they’re great, so go check ’em out.

Cinta is the winner this week. I love her clever endings and twists, especially the delayed explanation of what was in the letter. Weren’t you on the side of your seat, in agony about what you would read?

Don’t forget to pick your 5 players for week six!

—-

The scoring system:

5 points per character that you play each week that I use in the scene

10 points if you respond to the weekly scene

15 points if a character you played “wins” in the weekly scene

20 points if I pick your response for the weekly scene

—-

Here are the point totals for this week:

Cinta: 175

Kirk: 150

Nicole: 145

Irene: 140

Mary: 140

Sarabeth: 75

Rebekah: 25

Karen: 20

Andrea: 15

Alysa: 10

Jen: 10

Susan: 5

Betsy: 0

Life in Labels: 0

Now it’s time to put your team in for week six.

Don’t forget that you’re playing for a leather-bound copy of Austen’s works, which I will buy and ship during the week of Christmas!

Interview with C. Allyn Pierson, author of Mr. Darcy’s Little Sister

2 Dec
Austenites,
I hope your December is starting out well! I have a fun feature for today. Carey Allyn Pierson agreed to do an interview about her book, Mr. Darcy’s Little Sister. You can find her on her own website, her blog, and the Austen Authors site.

Carolyn Crist: What sparked you to pursue publication as an author?

C Allyn PiersonC. Allyn Pierson: I read a book that retold Pride and Prejudice from Darcy’s point of view. It was the first fan fiction I read and I selected it because of it’s good reviews, and I enjoyed reading it, but there were a couple of parts of the storyline that I didn’t agree with. I found myself saying “No! That’s not how it happened. That character would never do that.” Eventually, I realized that I had a specific vision of what “really” happened after the original ended. My eldest son had just gone off to college and I had a bit more time, so I started writing. I did not tell anyone, not even my husband, what I was doing because I did not know how far this would take me.

 

Carolyn: What ideas led to your books, especially a story about Darcy’s little sister?

Mr. Darcy's Little SisterCarey: I actually wrote my original book as a continuation of Darcy and Elizabeth’s story after their marriage, but Georgiana was a big part of that since she is living with them and she is preparing to make her debut. As the editing process went on, her story became more and more important. When I sold the book to Sourcebooks it was on the condition that I rewrite it as Georgiana’s story and from her point of view. I liked the idea that I could rewrite the book using the things I had learned from self-publishing and make it the book it should have been.

 

Carolyn: What characters draw your attention?

Carey: I was interested in Elizabeth and Darcy and how they adjusted to marriage, but Georgiana was very interesting- intelligent, talented, but desperately shy and malleable enough for Wickham to convince her to elope, even though she knew it was terribly wrong. She is at a critical point in her development when P&P takes place, and I thought it was interesting finding out what influences her to become she person she is as an adult.

 

Carolyn: What intrigues you about Jane Austen?

Carey: Jane Austen is the only author of the pre-Victorian era that writes about real people and how they interact. She doesn’t put in melodrama or Gothic details for excitement. Because of this she is very readable even today.

 

Carolyn: How do you support yourself financially while writing?

Carey: I am a physician, as is my husband. I work part-time since I was doing the primary parenting in our family, and that included raising a son with autism. So, basically, the answer to that question is that my husband’s eye surgery supports me and allows me to do whatever I want with my time. And no, I am not willing to share him!

Thanks, Carey!