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Danielle Jackson: On Characters Taking Control of the Story

Author Danielle Jackson shares the surprising and blunt advice that helped her through writing her new romance novel, The Accidental Pinup.

Danielle Jackson is a contemporary romance author, avid reader, lackluster-yet-mighty crafter, and accomplished TV binge-watcher.

Once upon a time, she was a publisher publicist and continues to cultivate her love of books and reading by chatting with the best authors in the business as the Editorial Manager of FreshFiction.com and co-host of the Fresh Fiction podcast. Danielle also moderates industry panels, interviews authors, and hosts a romance book club.

Danielle lives in Chicagoland with her very own romance hero husband, darling daughter, and two tempestuous cats. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Danielle Jackson: On Characters Taking Control of the Story

Danielle Jackson

In this post, Danielle discusses the surprising and blunt advice that helped her through writing her new romance novel, The Accidental Pinup, what she learned in the process as a self-proclaimed plotter, and more!

Name: Danielle Jackson
Literary agent: Ashley Herring Blake, Rees Agency
Book title: The Accidental Pinup
Publisher: Berkley
Release date: July 19, 2022
Genre/category: Romance/Contemporary
Elevator pitch for the book: A Chicago-based boudoir photographer finds herself in front of the camera instead of behind it in an inclusive, body positivity lingerie ad campaign, and the photographer hired to take the photos is her biggest professional rival… Will they be able to work together with their careers—and their hearts—on the line?

Danielle Jackson: On Characters Taking Control of the Story

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What prompted you to write this book?

I’ve always loved photography, I’ve always loved Chicago (I grew up outside of the city), and I’ve always longed for gorgeous lingerie that not only looked good but was actually supportive and functional. All of these things morphed into The Accidental Pinup.

How long did it take to go from idea to publication? And did the idea change during the process?

I started actively working on The Accidental Pinup in the fall of 2019 and wrote the bulk of it during NaNoWriMo. I spent the rest of the winter finessing it and went into 2020 with every intention of finding a literary agent and hopefully getting a book deal. When the pandemic hit, I was unsure of how things were going to go, but thankfully, because I was cooped up inside at home anyway, I had time to participate in a couple of online pitch contests, which is how I found my agent.

We worked together on perfecting the manuscript and went out on submission in the Fall of 2020. A week before Thanksgiving 2020 we had the book deal with Berkley and the official announcement went up in January 2021. And now the book is out July 2022. So, about three years from the very start to publication.

The idea–as well as the title–stayed the same. The overall storyline also stayed the same, but some side plots and additional character arcs were added.

Were there any surprises or learning moments in the publishing process for this title?

I have to say, I did not realize how many times I’d re-read this book. I knew there would be rounds of revisions and looking over pass pages and things like that, but seriously, I’ve read this book SO MANY TIMES.

Danielle Jackson: On Characters Taking Control of the Story

Were there any surprises in the writing process for this book?

I had always heard about characters taking control of the story but didn’t really think I’d experience this because I’m a plotter (some may say I’m an over plotter). And while my characters do ultimately end up at the ending I had in mind, there were definitely some re-routes that my characters decided to take instead of my initial plans.

What do you hope readers will get out of your book?

I hope they relate to these characters, have a fun time, and are inspired to celebrate what makes them unique, and know that everyone deserves to be loved.

If you could share one piece of advice with other writers, what would it be?

Back when I started writing The Accidental Pinup, at some point in the process I was stuck and I absentmindedly complained out loud to my daughter, who was five at the time. She looked up at me and said “Mama, just write the book,” in that perfect little kid, matter-of-fact kind of way, like it was no big deal. So, I did!

My advice to other writers is to write the book—whatever that ends up meaning to you.

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