Each Story is Different

Today, please welcome Diane Burton as she relates how she came up with the idea for her most recent release, NUMBERS NEVER LIE, and why it took so long from idea to finished product.

Thanks, Maris, for inviting me to your blog today. Ever since we met, twenty-some years ago, I’ve thought of you as my mentor. I’ve appreciated all your help and support.

You are welcome. So tell me about this new book.

Every time I release a new book, someone asks how I came up that story. You would think after eleven published novels (and many more that will stay unpublished, LOL), I would answer the same. Nope.

Some stories write themselves. The idea pops in my head, the words flow, I’m in the zone, the Muse cooperates. What a fabulous feeling. Of course, that doesn’t happen often. When it does, I seize the moment/day/week and let it rip.

Most of my books take a different route. The idea pops in my head, usually when I’m half-asleep in that twilight between awake and dozing. I want to get up to write it down but afraid that I’ll lose the train of thought, and/or I want to let my subconscious keep streaming. Wonderful, you say. Yes, but. Do you think I dash to the computer, open a new file, and write away? I would except . . .

  • Reason #1: I’m finishing the final edits on a book to be released the following week.
  • Reason #2: I’m under deadline (self-imposed but still a deadline) and I’m 2, 3, 4 weeks behind.
  • Reason #3: I promised son/daughter I’d babysit. I love being with my grandkids and want to spend as much time as possible with them while they’re young.
  • Reason #4: We’re on vacation, and Hubs pointedly asked before we left, “You are leaving your laptop home this time?” Since I let writing take precedence over “his” time, I try not to ignore him on vacation.

So, what do I do with this fantastic idea for a new book that will make me a best-seller once it’s published, and I don’t have time to write it? I take a few minutes and jot down the idea. I have a special file for “ideas” that’s so filled with beginnings of stories I will never run out of stories to write. Making the time to actually write them is the challenge.

For all of those reasons and more, a partial story will lie dormant for years. That was the case with my new release, NUMBERS NEVER LIE, a romantic suspense. The story began over fifteen years ago with an idea that I jotted down. I brainstormed, wrote, brainstormed more, and wrote more Then, Life took a turn at thumping me in the head. I always say family is the most important. Life said “prove it.” Our mothers, who lived an hour and a half away, needed more help. Our daughter (five hours away) just had a baby, our first grandchild. We were the poster kids for the Sandwich Generation.

That story became a casualty of all that stress. Set aside until later, it languished in the idea file until this winter. I’d remembered the story was almost completed. Why not finish it up and release it? Should be quick. Wrong. My memory inflated how far along I was on the story. Worse, it was on several floppy disks. Yes, it was that old. Back then, I saved chapters as separate files. Finding all those files and transferring them to my laptop became a real challenge.

I’ve often said that rewriting a story is harder than writing something fresh. Too true. Updating the story took time. NUMBERS changed from my original idea to one much better. In the end, though, it was all worth it. The story just needed to rest for a while before it matured.

Now that it’s published, I can pick up another idea that’s been percolating for months. I’m over 20,000 words into it, and the story is writing itself.

Hahaha. Don’t I wish.

A Romantic Suspense
By Diane Burton
Release Date:  July 9, 2018
Length: approx. 80,000 words
Available at Amazon
Free with Kindle Unlimited


[dropshadowbox align=”none” effect=”lifted-both” width=”auto” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ] BLURB

A shocking secret brings danger to Jack Sinclair and his sister Maggie.

As kids, they were the fearless threesome. As adults, Jack’s an accountant; Drew, a lawyer; Maggie, a teacher and camping troop leader. Upon returning from a weekend camping trip, Maggie receives horrifying news. She refuses to believe her brother Jack’s fatal car crash was an accident. If the police won’t investigate, she’ll do it herself. Convincing Drew Campbell to help is her only recourse.

Drew Campbell was too busy to return his best friend’s phone call. Too busy to attend a camping meeting important to his teen daughter. Too busy to stay in touch with Jack. Logic and reason indicate Jack’s accident was just that—an accident caused by fatigue and fog. Prodded by guilt, he’ll help Maggie even if he thinks she’s wrong.

A break-in at Jack’s condo convinces Maggie she’s right. Then her home is searched. What did Jack do that puts Maggie in danger? [/dropshadowbox]

Here’s an excerpt from NUMBERS NEVER LIE

Slinging the laptop case/briefcase over his shoulder, Jack checked the room assigned to him for the audit to make sure he hadn’t left anything out. He shut off the lights and locked the door behind him. He still had much to do. Sure, Ben said he would finish the audit. That wasn’t the way Jack worked. When he started something, he always finished.

“Working kinda late, arncha, Mr. Sinclair?”

Startled, Jack looked over his shoulder.

The janitor leaned on his mop. “It’s after midnight.”

“No rest for the weary, Max.” Jack pocketed his keys.

“You be careful going home, Mr. Sinclair. Fog was rollin’ in off the lake when me and the missus drove in to work.”

“Thanks for the heads-up.” Jack saluted the affable worker and headed down the hall. The doors to the other offices were closed. Only the cleaning crew remained.

Hazel, Max’s wife, stopped dusting the receptionist’s desk. “’Night, Mr. Sinclair. You best be careful. Noticed you parked all the way down at the end of the parking lot. The light there is out. Saw that when we came in. The company that takes care of our lights won’t come out ‘til Monday. You want Max to get a flashlight and walk out with you so’s you can find your car? What with the fog and all?”

Jack forced himself to smile. In the five days he’d been auditing the books at the plant near Muskegon, he often worked so late that he ran into the older couple. “I’ll be fine.”

“’Night, then. You be careful, now. Ya hear?”

Even before he pushed open the heavy glass door, he saw that Max and Hazel were right. The solitary light at this end of the parking lot barely penetrated the fog. Maybe he should have taken Hazel up on the offer of a flashlight. He wasn’t worried about finding the Blazer in this pea soup. It would be a wonder he didn’t trip on the curbs.

The flashlight on his cell phone. Duh. He should’ve thought of that. Jack clicked it on, but it only shone a foot or so in front of him.

He heard a soft skitter near the dumpster. Rats? He shuddered and clicked his remote. From fifteen feet away, his head- and taillights barely penetrated the mist.

It would be a slow drive back to Grand Rapids. He should get a motel room for the night. Finding a vacancy anywhere along the Lake Michigan shoreline would be next to impossible in the summer and even more so late on a Friday night.

Weary beyond belief, he dragged himself to his car. He needed to return tomorrow—make that later today. He had to do more digging in the company’s files. He couldn’t believe what he’d discovered so far. This went way beyond anything he imagined. The implications—


Startled by the familiar voice, he dropped the keys. His phone slipped out of his fingers and skidded away. The fog gobbled up the light, and he lost sight of it. He peered in the direction of the sound. The figure stepped away from the dumpster’s hulking shape.

“We need to talk.”


Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides writing science fiction romance, she writes romantic suspense, and cozy mysteries. Diane and her husband live in West Michigan. They have two children and five grandchildren.

For more info and excerpts from her books, visit Diane’s website: http://www.dianeburton.com 

To participate in her her giveaway, go to: Giveaway


Connect with Diane Burton online
Blog:  http://dianeburton.blogspot.com/
Twitter:  http://twitter.com/dmburton72
Facebook:  http://facebook.com/dianeburtonauthor
Goodreads: Diane Burton Author
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/dmburton72/
Sign up for Diane’s new release alert: http://eepurl.com/bdHtYf

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26 Responses to Each Story is Different

  1. Diane Burton says:

    Thanks for inviting me, Maris. I really appreciate your support.

  2. Your description of getting squeezed between so many demands felt very familiar, but I’m glad you made it to the end of the tunnel. Your story sounds intriguing, and I look forward to reading more.

  3. Alicia Dean says:

    Enjoyed the post. I love hearing how authors come up with their ideas. I have some ideas languishing as well. Maybe I’ll write them some day. 🙂 Best wishes…love the book!

  4. Joy Dent says:

    Love reading about your process, Diane. And I agree, it’s always different for each book. Congrats on your release!

  5. Melissa Keir says:

    You are better than I am about keeping those beginning ideas. I am in bed almost asleep and thinking of something great only to lose it in the morning!

    All the best with your latest release!

  6. I think it’s good to keep ideas percolating for a good deal of time. If the characters and plot continue to live on in your mind, it’s a sure sign they are worth pursuing. Congrats on your new novel. Like you, I like to write romantic suspense mysteries–as well as reading them. Best wishes!

  7. Great post as usual, Diane!
    Good luck and God’s blessings

  8. So glad you were able to recover and finish it!

  9. Hey, my friend. How delightful to meet again and read about your technique of putting a story together. I also sleep-walk a story that comes in the night and must begin the very next morning before I lose the gist. Best always in your reach for the pinnacle.
    Love, Charmaine

  10. Kara O'Neal says:

    Great post. I loved reading about the story. I really like stories that are about people who have known each other before.

  11. Lucy Kubash says:

    A great excerpt and hook! You’re so right about it being easier to write a fresh, new story than to rewrite an old one. Been there. I also pulled out a book I’d started years ago, that was based on a short story I wrote even longer ago. I finally finished it, and it will be released by The Wild Rose Press. Which proves we shouldn’t ever give up on the stories we love.

  12. Maris Soule says:

    Diane, what a pleasure it’s been to have you as a guest on my blog. I’m so glad so many people had a chance to learn a bit about you, your writing process, and your new mystery, NUMBERS DON’T LIE.

  13. Carole Price says:

    Congratulations! Your book sounds interesting. I totally understand ideas coming to us in the middle of the night. But they fade fast if I delay writing them down. I’m usually too cold or too lazy to get up and look for pad and pen.