The first thing to know about my writing habits is that I’m a grumpy hermit who hates noise. Actually, that’s two things.
Third thing to know: I bite and howl if I can’t find things. So I have to be organized.
Since I’ve been married—33 years and counting—I’ve insisted on having my own office. My husband knew it came with the territory when he married me.
Our first, smallish house, built in the early 1920s. had separate garages that opened, carriage-style, on an alley. The attached room facing the back of the house had probably once been a tool shed and later a laundry room. I exiled the washer-dryer to an outside nook under a cover. Trashy-looking, but necessary.
There was a tiny window and the door opened directly into the yard, so I left it open for ventilation. Once while I was home alone, a lizard invaded my territory. When it flashed across my field of vision, I screamed. To my embarrassment, a neighbor came running.
The lizard and I both survived.
In this small room, I wrote some books that never sold, and then the first of my published novels, including half a dozen Regencies now available in digital editions (A Lady’s Point of View is priced at 99 cents). I later wrote mysteries and romances for Berkley, St. Martin’s Press, William Morrow, Harlequin and others.
Eventually we moved to the bigger house where we’ve lived for about twenty years. Ultimate luxury: five bedrooms, two of which became offices (my husband now works at home, too).
I commandeered an upstairs room where the previous owner had installed built-in cabinets and cabinet-style bookshelves. My desk sits underneath—I keep the overhead doors shut so that in case of earthquake here in California, hopefully no books will fall on me. To my left sits a printer stand that holds reference books as well as the printer.
There’s a window but I don’t face it when I write. Too distracting.
On the desk, flanking my computer, are stacks of plastic drawers sized to hold 8.5x11 sheets. That’s where I put photos of my heroes and heroines, printed-out notes, and newspaper and magazine clippings for research. Since I write the Safe Harbor Medical miniseries for Harlequin American Romance, I do a lot of medical research. My dad was a doctor, and I’ve always been interested in the field, although not as a practitioner.
Also, on the desk, there’s a phone. I snarl when it rings. But I try to answer politely. It might be my mother.
Taped to the shelves above my computer I keep a calendar, notes and reminders. A Projects page includes book deadlines, scheduled publicity (like this blog), and a list of the Safe Harbor Books with titles and ISBNs for quick reference. The eighth book, The Baby Dilemma, comes out this month, and book Number Nine, The M.D.’s Secret Daughter, is due in September. I’m currently writing Book Number Ten, which will be my 91stpublished novel. (Huge congrats to Jacqueline Diamond for 91 books!!!)
Could I have written these on the kitchen table or in an Internet café? No doubt. But having a private office is a lot easier on my temper. And on my husband, too.
The author of 90 published novels, Jacqueline Diamond recently signed a contract with Harlequin to write three more books in her Safe Harbor Medical miniseries for Harlequin American Romance. A former Associated Press TV columnist and recipient of a Career Achievement Award from Romantic Times Magazine, Jackie has been revising some of her early books for digital editions. These include half a dozen Regency romances, such as Lady in Disguise; a fantasy, Shadowlight, the paranormal romance Touch Me in the Dark, mysteries including Danger Music, women’s fiction (By Leaps and Bounds, about a former ballerina), and romantic comedies. Jackie also authored How to Write a Novel in One (Not-so-easy) Lesson. You can find her website at www.jacquelinediamond.com, and follow her on Twitter @jacquediamond.