The Diary of An Almost Down Under Diva — FIONA BRAND

I’m thrilled to introduce to you all the wonderful Fiona Brand, who very nearly was a Diamonds Down Under Diva. Fiona is one of my favourite auto buy authors and her current trilogy, DOUBLE VISION, KILLER FOCUS and BLIND INSTINCT, is garnering rave reviews from readers and reviewers alike. Seriously, the prospect of working with Fiona was one we all leapt at… but I’ll let her tell the story~~Yvonne


Diamonds Down Under: six books, dazzling concept—fabulous group of authors—and more fun and debate than you can poke a stick at.   


I’ve just received the first book in the series, Vows & A Vengeful Groom by Bronwyn Jameson.  It’s sitting on my desk as I type.  Thank you Bron!  It arrived two days ago.  I felt such a rush of warmth when I realized what it was.  You see, way, way back I almost became part of the continuity but, owing to tight deadlines, I had to bow out.  


But that few days of tossing ideas around and formulating a story—which I later had to chuck away!–was exhilarating, and the most writing fun I’ve had in years.   After spending so much time writing in isolation, being part of a group and hearing everyone else’s take on how to put together a story was invigorating—and time consuming.  I couldn’t wait to read my email, and I had a new appreciation for editors.  It was hard enough getting my head around one story, let alone six.  Especially since, in the few days that I was an Almost Down Under Diva, the story lines, to put it politely, were fluid.  And every time there was a change someone would say, “Oh, but that impacts on my story!” so we would all try to juggle the wildly varying elements and come up with a mix that suited everyone.   


To get to the point, you may have noticed that I said I had to jettison a story.  No big deal, really.   Except that I’d begun to get attached  


Writers are an eccentric lot.  There’s something about the rush of getting the basic elements of a story established.  Like getting behind the wheel of a car, you know you can take it almost anywhere, as long as—in the case of Silhouette Desire—you don’t drive off the romance road map.   That moment when you step into your fictional world can be both powerful and scary.  The story can be fraught with difficult characters, structural flaws and plot holes.  Worst of all, it could be boring.  


The great thing about the Diamonds Down Under story line was the inbuilt conflict between the Hammonds and the Blackstones.  Opportunities for the characters to be ruthless, manipulative and downright conniving were rife.   I was given a story that had no chance of being boring.  I had a lawyer heroine with a secret agenda, a ‘back from the dead’ character, a lost diamond mine with a legend attached, and a really rich, tough hero.  How cool is that?  I already liked him.  


I had a lot of my research in place.  My hero was going to have a mining background, as well as being as rich as Croesus.  (Did I mention he was about 6’ 3” with green eyes, dark hair and a great tan?)  Luckily for me my Dad had done some mining in Western Australia, mostly digging up tourmalines, amethysts, garnets and gold.  I had maps of the outback stations, pictures of the Kimberleys.  I had holidayed in WA a couple of times.  I could practically feel that WA red grit between my toes.  I was so ready to write that book.  


But…all is not lost.  I didn’t get to do that particular story, but I got so hooked on the fun of writing short contemporaries, that I did eventually put together one of my own.   A rich Italian hero, a marriage of convenience, that Western Australian setting and plenty of interesting conniving…    


But, in the meantime, I’m opening Book #1 in the Diamond series to find out what interesting things those girls ended up doing with their plot lines.    


Hmmm….Ric Perrini’s demanding total surrender.     


There goes my night’s sleep. 



BREAKING NEWS! Fiona has generously offered a book prize to one randomly chosen comment (well, to the person who makes the comment, of course) on her blogpost of a double pack of DOUBLE VISION and KILLER FOCUS. The winner will be announced at the end of this week!


27 Responses to “The Diary of An Almost Down Under Diva — FIONA BRAND”

  1. Fioan… I love your Silhouette Intimate Moments books 🙂
    It is always nice to have an author’s point of view on a book…

  2. That is a nice post… Bronwyn, you must be flattered… or did you also send some chocolate with the book 😉

    Fiona… almost part of the continuity… I was wondering how the authors were chosen… and you all come from the same part of the world… is it a coincidence or not… and do you meet to talk about the series in general and the direction you want it to go!!

  3. Lily, I agree with you on Fiona’s SIMs. I still love Cullen’s Bride and Blade’s Lady the best.

    Nathalie, basically, when Melissa Jeglinski contracted Maxine Sullivan and Tessa Radley she floated the idea that since she had six Down Under authors (at that stage–Bronwyn Jameson, Nalini Singh, Jan Colley, me (Yvonne Lindsay), Maxine Sullivan and Tessa Radley) that maybe we should think about a down under based continuity. We started brainstorming but unfortunately Nalini’s other contract commitments prevented her from coming on board and we invited Fiona (already a Silhouette author.) As you can see from the above, Fiona’s deadline commitments also forced her to withdraw and at around the same time Paula Roe sold to Desire and we were back to six again! Because three of us are based in New Zealand and three in Australia we did most of our brainstorming through an email group, although sometimes we IMed between two or three of us to discuss links between our stories to keep the continuity in the continuity ;-).

    I tell you, it’s been an amazing process, and we’ve all gotten to know one another pretty well as from initial concept through to production it has taken about two years of hard work. Our continuity is unusal in that it is author led, i.e. we came up with the concept, expanded the ideas, developed the interlinked characters and the threads of the story that linked from one book to the next. And we really hope you all enjoy it.

  4. Hi Fiona (waving across the Tasman.) Great post. It was so much fun having you as a DDD. Even though it was for a short time, it was during that vital story-building phase when we got so much done. Anyway, our loss turned out to be Desire’s gain and I am looking forward to placing your Italian squillioanire next to Cullen and Blade and co. on my keeper’s shelf.

    Lily, have you taken a look at Fiona’s latest series? It’s WONDERFUL, riveting stuff. Can’t wait to read the final book!

    Nathalie, indeed I am flattered to know that an author whose writing I admire so much is reading one of my books. No chocolate bribery was necessary. 🙂

  5. WOW – I have just finished Vows And A Vengeful Groom! Did you have to leave it on such a hook? I can’t wait till next month. I read this in two sittings, which is somehting I rarely get to do… but I couldn’t put it down. So much sexual tension, so much external conflict and plot twists. I’m so proud to be an Aussie! Thanks gals…

  6. Did you have to leave it on such a hook?

    Since you can’t wait until next month, yes, I did… 😉 So glad the hook worked for you, Rachel, and thanks ever so much for the lovely words. They’re very welcome tonight as I pore over a scene which refuses to cooperate.

  7. Fiona, it’s fabulous to see you here. We were so thrilled to have you as a Down Under Desire Diva, and so disappointed when commitments proved too much and you had to withdraw. Of course, we loved having Paula take your place and everything worked out fine in the end.

    Thank you so much for all the help you gave us at the time. Your insight, suggestions, and generosity were very welcome and appreciated.

    And I’m glad all was not lost. Please let us know when your book is on the shelf. I’d love to read it.

  8. Ditto for me, Fiona. That was a pretty wild time, ideas for Africa and six points of view. It was a massive committment, one which I’m not sure I would have tackled at this early stage of my career if I knew then what I know now I don’t think any of us envisaged the time and dedication required in an author-led project.
    It feels pretty good to be on this end of it, though!
    Best of luck with your new releases!

  9. Patti Fischer Says:

    Wow, I love Fiona’s books! Great site, ladies. 🙂

  10. Hi Fiona, your new series sounds great! I love your other books and hope your new books will find their way over here to Finland some day…

  11. I enjoyed your fascinating post. Your books are a pleasure to read and give me hours of enjoyment.

  12. I have really enjoyed this post. I haven’t read any of your books yet, but am dieing to. They look fantastic. From what I have read here I can’t wait to get started on one of your books.

  13. Me! Me! Me! I neeeed to win these books. No seriously I do!


  14. Great post. Your series is compelling and it would be wonderful to read the books. Best of luck and success in 2008. Thanks.

  15. Crystal B. Says:

    Hi Fiona. Great post. I love your books. This new series sounds great. 🙂

  16. Crystal B. Says:

    Hi Fiona. Great post. I love your books. This new series sounds great. 🙂

  17. Hi Fiona!
    It’s too bad that you didn’t have time to participate. I will definitely check out your latest.

  18. Great post. Your series looks so appealing and wonderful. I look forward to enjoying these books.

  19. Hi Fiona,
    Your hero sounds so fascinating. I’m afraid I haven’t read any of your books yet. But I’d really love to read any of them 🙂

  20. Patricia Cochran Says:


    You have whetted my interest with hints about your almost-Diamonds
    Downunder connection. I’ll be interested to know if you do bring an
    Autralian-background book into being. That’s a book I will want to

    Pat Cochran

  21. It’s getting closer to the end of the week and the double book prize to be drawn. Good luck, everyone!

  22. Here to draw the winner of Fiona’s fabulous giveaway. Drumroll, please…

    And the winner is: comment #13, Caitlyn Nicholas.

    Congratulations, Caitlyn!

  23. Fiona Brand Says:

    Hi everyone. My apologies for coming in so late to answer all the wonderful comments above. Unfortunately, I’ve had a distressing personal situation that took out most of the week. Thank you to Yvonne, Bron, Jan, Maxine and all the Down Under Divas, you are magnificent and I wish you every success with the series! And thank you to everyone who wrote in–I enjoyed reading every comment immensely. Congratulations to Caitlyn for winning the books. I’ll post out the prize as soon as I get your address.


  24. Congratulations to Caitlyn! I’m sure you’ll enjoy Fiona’s books.

    Fiona, again, thank you so much for contributing to all this and I hope your personal situation eases soon. Hugs.

  25. Hi Fiona and :::hugs:: that things are going to get better for you.

    Thanks for all those writing commitments . And I’d still love to hear that your almost-DDU book will be published in the future, it sounds like a real goer! (and waaay different to what my book turned out to be!)

  26. Teresa W. Says:

    I’d love a chance for a copy!

  27. Rhonda Barnes Says:

    Hi Fiona,
    You’ve made me even more anxious to read Bronwyn’s story and, in fact, all 6 books! Of course, I’m a fan of your stories, too!

    Rhonda :0)

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