Monday, February 01, 2010

An Author's Life

People sometimes ask, How does it feel to have written more than 80 novels?

The truth is, I don’t sit around thinking about those 80-plus books (thanks to a new three-book contract my editor just offered, the total is now 87). If I had all those heroes and heroines running around in my head, I’d never get dressed in the morning.

Come to think of it, I’m wearing a purple top with turquoise socks and blue jeans. Never mind.

But the point is, I forget what’s in most of those books, a fact that was brought home to me last week when, unexpectedly, I received proofs in the mail. Seems that By Leaps and Bounds, a Harlequin American Romance published in 1990, is being reissued for direct sale. That means via the Web site, I think.

The editors were kind enough to give me a chance to update the 20-year-old text. Good idea. A lot has changed since 1990, even in a story about a former ballerina locking horns with the police detective dad of her prize student. Seems he doesn’t want his teenage daughter heading to ballet school in New York. He doesn’t like her boyfriend, either.

Okay, not much has fundamentally changed in the world of ballet, but still, I wanted to take the time to do this right. Here’s another thing about authors: contrary to rumor, we don’t lead a life of leisure.

So last Tuesday afternoon, in a rainstorm of near-biblical proportions, I found myself sitting on a bench inside Costco, waiting for new tires to be installed on my aging Honda Accord (it’s a ’93, three years younger than By Leaps and Bounds).

Above, rain whomped the super-high ceiling. Below, with pages spread across the bench, I frantically gave people cell phones and changed references to a videotape to read DVD. See, the girl’s boyfriend shot this controversial tape that might implicate him in a crime…

Well, I got the job done. Now I’m preparing to go over the copy-edited version of my August release, His Hired Baby, while publicizing my February Harlequin American, The Would-Be Mommy. It’s the first book in my Safe Harbor Medical miniseries.

Next week, I plan to start writing my next book, the fourth set at Safe Harbor Medical Center. That’s the fun part. More heroes, more heroines. More cell phones too, probably.

So how does it feel to have sold more than 80 novels? I’ll let you know when I come up for air.


Pamela Stone said...

Hi Jacqueline,

Great post. I've only sold two books, but I do understand what you're saying. I tend to write in sweats or even my comfy PJs some days. Such a glamorous life.

87 books! Wow, congrats! I'm impressed. Since the subject is An Author's Life, do you mind me asking how many books you average per year?

Marcie said...

At least you were able to edit the text - you might gain new readers with an up-to-date storyline! I read a NYT bestselling author who had a reissue - apparently the pub didn't give her the opportunity to edit. VHS tapes were mentioned a few times!

And to piggyback on Pamela's question - how long does it take for you to write the first draft of a story? And how has your process changed?

Stacy said...

It was a delight to work with you on the (tweaked) reissue of BY LEAPS AND BOUNDS. I just found out where readers can get the book, which is out from Harlequin's DTC division in June.

They can order from or call Customer Service at 800-873-8635.

Great post!

Estella said...

Great post!

Eighty plus books--awesome.

Lois said...

Wow-wee, more than 80 books! :) Can't imagine writing one, let alone 80. Reading, sure, exceed that every year, but wow, congrats! :)


Linda Warren said...

Congratulations! What an accomplishment. I'm in awe.


Linda Henderson said...

It's really great that they are reissuing your book. Do you get to count it twice then ?

Jacqueline Diamond said...

This is scary -- an editor is reading this blog! (Thanks for the info, Stacy) I better be careful what I say.
To answer some questions, my Harlequin Americans take about three months to write. I can write four per year, but with the time it takes to get ideas approved, I can't always sell that many (although my last contract came through quickly).
As for changes in my process, I outline more now.
I have a section of writing tips on my website,, if anyone's interested.
Thanks, everybody!

linda s said...

Eighty seven books is an incredible accomplishment. And... after eighty seven books the fun part is still the writing. How wonderful!