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Sunday, October 27, 2019


Mendenhall Glacier Gardens
Crafts come in all different mediums, including ones you'd never suspect. Today we have a return visit from USA Today bestselling author Jacqueline Diamond, here to talk about the inspiration behind her latest Safe Harbor Medical Mystery. Learn more about her and her books at her website

From Strange Trees, a Mystery Grows
In the course of writing more than a hundred romances and mysteries, I’ve drawn inspiration from many sources. Sometimes I get the sense that there’s a key plot twist waiting for me, if I look in the right place... and that I’d better grasp that fleeting bit of inspiration before it escapes.

How to account for this instinct? I consider it a partnership between my conscious and subconscious. That’s what happened when my husband and I took our first trip to Alaska.

In my Safe Harbor Medical Mysteries, a young widowed physician in a small California town teams with his detective sister-in-law to solve murders that affect patients, colleagues and friends. There’s danger and humor, centered on the hospital where he works. 

The dramatic landscape of Alaska hardly fit into the picture. Yet I kept sensing that it might.

We were touring Mendenhall Glacier Gardens, a strikingly landscaped setting created in the aftermath of a landslide, when some remarkable trees caught my eye. They were upside-down, with the roots serving as a kind of flower basket.

Our guide explained that, while one of the owners was clearing away rocks and trees that had tumbled down a mountainside, an expensive piece of rental equipment was damaged. Frustrated about the large repair bill in store, he used the equipment to yank up a tree by its root ball, invert it and slam it down.

Instead of shattering as expected, it lodged in the mud. Struck by a vision of the roots as a petunia basket, he filled the root ball with netting, soils, mosses and flowers. The result was so beautiful that, each year, he creates about 75-100 of what he calls Flower Towers, to the delight of visitors.
photo copyright Dmitriy Raykin,
licensed from Shutterstock
As I snapped photos, I imagined the face of a woman peering at me from one of the trunks. Who was she?

My brain whirled into action. Suppose seeing those unusual trees sparked a memory in a girl who didn’t know she’d ever been here before? Suppose that discovery led to the unearthing of a woman’s murder, with clues that pointed to my hero, Dr. Eric Darcy?

In constructing the mystery, everything had to be turned around so that the reader learns of events through Eric’s point of view. Being falsely accused of murder forces him to unravel the truth behind the disappearance of a woman from his past, and to the stunning realization that he might have a daughter he never knew about.

WhileThe Case of the Long-Lost Lover is the fourth mystery in the series, it stands on its own. It’s an old-fashioned puzzle mystery, with fast pacing, clues for the reader to follow, and carefully researched medical and forensic details.

After the initial spark, the hard work of writing a novel lies in developing a story with twists and turns, and characters you care about. But in this case, the mystery was literally rooted in the inspiration!

The Case of the Long-Lost Lover 
A Safe Harbor Medical Mystery, Book 4

When Dr. Eric Darcy is suspected of killing his former girlfriend, the young widowed physician teams with his PI sister-in-law to uncover the truth. Can they succeed before a murderer closes in on a child who might be his? USA Today bestselling author Jacqueline Diamond’s new Safe Harbor Medical mystery is guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat until its shocking conclusion!

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