Today it's my pleasure to introduce you to Jacqueline Diamond.
This woman is prolific. Read on, then lift your jaw from the floor :)
Welcome to An Indie Adventure, Jacqueline. Tell us, what inspired you to write The Case of the Questionable Quadruplet?
Since this is my 101st novel, you might think I’d be running out of ideas, but that’s not the case at all. Plus, after years of focusing on romance, I’ve been eager to return to mysteries. I love the puzzle aspect of plotting and the chance to take characters in unexpected directions.
But how could I create a series with an angle that hadn’t been done a zillion times?
It’s hard for me as a reader to find contemporary mysteries featuring a doctor who isn’t a medical examiner and doesn’t stumble across frighteningly evil conspiracies. I prefer lighter mysteries such as cozies, as long as they’re well-researched and the investigation is credible.
Once I chose a doctor as my main character, the twists and turns flowed from there!
How do you use setting to further your story?
Great question! In developing my ideas, I saw that I’d need not only my hero and his family, friends and close associates, but also an entire community, including the town’s police and the staff of the medical center where he practices.
For the past half-dozen years, I’ve written medical romances set in my fictional town of Safe Harbor, California. In the course of creating 17 books, I’ve developed the multiple layers and locations you’d find in a real town. How rewarding to be able to revisit this familiar place from an entirely new perspective.
Although Harlequin published the Safe Harbor Medical® romance series, I own the copyright to the setting and characters and have legally registered the trademark for the series name. That’s what the circled R stands for, as you probably know. So I was free to use these for mysteries.
Readers familiar with Safe Harbor from my romances will feel at home, while new readers can enjoy the sense that this place and these people are real. I’m careful to involve only those aspects that are needed, avoiding what my kids call TMI (too much information).
I chose to self-publish the Safe Harbor Medical mysteries for the freedom to write exactly as I please. Of course, this means I’m also responsible for ensuring accuracy, good editing and on-target plotting, but that’s true for any indie novelist.
How do you construct your characters?
I start with a few specific characteristics and some general ideas about him or her, then work back and forth as I plot and as I develop other characters. Ages, personal histories, goals and eccentricities have to resonate and feel natural. They also have to fit in with the overall story.
I ask a lot of questions. For instance: Why would he or she do this? How would he react to a certain situation and why? What does she think of a certain other character?
My character file for the Safe Harbor Medical series (including individuals who don’t show up in Questionable Quadruplet) runs to nearly 100 pages.
How is your main character completely different than you?
Obstetrician Eric Darcy is a doctor; I’m not. He’s a man in his mid-thirties; I’m a woman several decades older. As a surgeon, he has skills and natural abilities I lack, such as great depth perception and a steady hand.
There are many more differences, from marital status to how he relates to the world. For example, he doesn’t notice that many people defer to him instinctively, both because he’s a tall, handsome guy and because he’s a doctor. Of course, it’s fun when his best friend, a homicide detective, and his sharp-tongued sister-in-law, a private investigator, cut him down to size.
Why did I pick a man as my central character? Simply because he’s the one who showed up in my brain and demanded to be written about.
Tell us something about yourself we might not expect!
I’m a breast cancer survivor (five years so far). Because I was already interested in medical topics, I researched many aspects of my illness and treatment on-line. This was helpful in making choices along the way.
For anyone interested in a fascinating history of cancer and the pursuit of cancer treatments, I highly recommend the Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee. It fascinated me from start to finish.
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.
For her 101st novel, USA Today bestselling author Jacqueline Diamond launches the Safe Harbor Medical® mystery series with The Case of the Questionable Quadruplet. A former Associated Press reporter and TV columnist, Jackie has sold mysteries, medical romances, Regency romances and romantic comedies to a range of publishers. The parents of two grown sons, Jackie and her husband live in Southern California.