Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Jackie Braun - Deadlines, Sleep and Starvation!

Marrying the Manhattan Millionaire is my 14th Harlequin Romance and my 18th book published through Harlequin Enterprises.

I wish I could say the process has gotten easier with each book I’ve written, but it hasn’t. I still struggle with my characters, the plot, pacing, you name it, every single time.

Don’t tell my talented and endlessly patient editor this, but I’m still not sure I know what I’m doing.

My husband, an engineer by trade, recently asked me why I always start working evenings and weekends in a frantic push to finish a book when my deadline begins to loom.

To his very logical mind I should be able to set a page count per day, hit that number in my allotted time, and have things wrapped up before my quiet home office is invaded by a pair of energetic boys in the afternoon.

Ah, if only it were that simple for me.

Some days I have been known to turn out more than a dozen in record time. On others, I can spend hours to eke out a few pages that will require major revisions.

I adore my husband and was only marginally offended by his question. After all, hunger probably motivated it. See, the closer I get to deadline, the more likely it is my family will be eating cold cereal for dinner. (During a recent deadline we actually ran out of cereal, milk and clean bowls and spoons.)

While writing this book, however, I recall cooking my share of decent meals at crunch time. In fact, making meals didn’t prove to be as big an issue for me as getting sleep, especially at the start.

During the proposal stage, I sent my editor an idea that didn’t quite fly. I planned to revise it, but then, in the wee hours of the night, I awoke with a totally new story in mind. I hopped out of bed and jotted down notes.

That story became Marrying the Manhattan Millionaire.

I may not know what I’m doing, but when it comes to my priorities this much I’ve figured out: My love of story-telling will outrank making meals and getting the doctor-recommended eight hours of shut-eye every time.


  1. Oh Jackie - thank you for that post. I'm struggling with Book #2 for Romance and kicking myself that it's not coming easier. Your post just told me to stop kicking myself because I'm not alone. I can't tell you how much that helps.

  2. Oh, that they would all come out pretty and perfect! I remember the same thing about my book 2, and just worrying about getting it right.

    But you will and it'll be fab.

    Great post Jackie!

  3. And this, my friends, is why takeout food was created! Have a great day! back to my own struggle, with the Christmas novella...

  4. Oh Jackie - I think every writer on the face of the planet will relate to this! So pleased I'm not alone.

    I'm even more eager to read 'Marrying The Manhattan Millionaire' now.

  5. Jackie, by the time I reach my deadline there isn't an ironed shirt in the house (I can stuff things in the wash but ironing involves me-time), we're living on take-outs and the house is a tip.


    And every time I promised myself that the next book won't be like that. I'll do my pages every day and turn in my ms on time, no stress.