Jodi Bowersox has been an actress, seamstress, designer, business owner, homeschool teacher, choir director, and artist. Her romance novels span genres from faith fiction to suspense to time travel to sci fi, and she also has written children’s picture books, stage productions and a Bible commentary. She lives in Colorado Springs with her husband.
Tell us this book’s backstory. What inspired you to write it? Where did the story/theme originate?
“The Diamond Diva Vendetta” is the second book in what I’m calling my Anonymous series that started with “Cinnamon Girl Explains It All,” so I already had a character all set up for her own story, even though I wrote three other complete book series before I started to write it.
Even with a character set-up, however, I still pondered what to do with (protagonist) Rita for weeks while I stopped everything and sewed nearly a hundred facemasks during the early part of the pandemic.
I wanted to get her out of Kansas City where she’d gone through an ugly divorce—someplace exotic perhaps—a place where a person could get lost and easily get into trouble. And weirdly, Rio de Janeiro just kind of popped into my head. I had a friend who was living there at the time, so I thought that would be perfect. I’ve never been to Brazil, but he could help me with believability details.
Each week, The Colorado Sun and Colorado Humanities & Center For The Book feature an excerpt from a Colorado book and an interview with the author. Explore the SunLit archives at coloradosun.com/sunlit.
The theme of vengeance that clouds all rational thought grew out of the premise that Rita was mistaken for the head of a Brazilian diamond smuggling ring called the Diva De Diamante or Diamond Diva. This woman, who had mysteriously dropped out of the diamond scene a year earlier, was responsible for the death of another diamond smuggler’s brother. And he will stop at nothing to make sure she pays for that crime.
Place this excerpt in context. How does it fit into the book as a whole? Why did you select it?
I chose the beginning, because the prologue gives the reader a jolt of what’s to come, and a peek into Rita’s character. Chapter one introduces several of the characters who will turn her Brazilian vacation into a nightmare.
Tell us about creating this book. What influences and/or experiences informed the project before you actually sat down to write the book?
Since I have never been to Brazil, I immediately began to research Rio de Janeiro and Saõ Paulo. I spent time looking at Google maps and cell phone coverage maps and watching YouTube video walking tours of the cities and the rainforest. I researched the food, drinks, language and animals. Oh, and blood diamonds. I needed to know about the illegal diamond trade and the brutality of the Rio police and the colorful, yet sorely lacking slums, called favellas that run up the hillsides.
But even with all my research, it was my son Tristan who discovered the iconic Rio mosaic sidewalks that he featured on the book cover. (“The Diamond Diva Vendetta” was also a finalist in Colorado Authors League’s Cover Design category as well as Action/Adventure.)
Once you began writing, did the story take you in any unexpected directions? If so, how would you describe dealing with a narrative that seems to have a mind of its own?
All my books have minds of their own! I’m not one of those people who can see the end from the beginning. The light of my inspiration only shines so far ahead. But that’s half the fun! Yes, it means you often have to readjust earlier chapters to fit your new genius ideas, but it’s all just part of the process.
What were the biggest challenges you faced, or surprises you encountered in completing this book?
The pandemic, itself, was such a terror-provoking mind game in the beginning, (I have a son with cystic fibrosis) that it put a real damper on my usually active imagination. I felt frozen and kind of guilty just going on with writing when so many peoples’ lives had been turned upside down. It took me a while to shake that off and let myself get lost in the story and my characters.
Walk us through your writing process: Where and how do you write?
Once I start a new book, I usually write nearly every day. I love writing, so that’s no hardship! I write at my desk, usually with a cat in my lap or sleeping in front of my monitor. One is there right now, along with one on a chair next to me, and one sacked out in the doorway.
Who is your favorite character in The Diamond Diva Vendetta?
Will Yarnel is an ex-military Australian who has dedicated his life to finding trafficking victims and returning them to their families. Often chewing on a toothpick and infusing conversations with Aussie slang, he charms the ladies and annoys the heck out of his partner. He charmed me so much throughout the book that I decided he needed to be in the next one, too.
Tell us about your next project.
“Red Rabbit on the Run,” the third book in my Anonymous series, will be published before the summer is gone. All through “The Diamond Diva Vendetta,” there is the side story of a search for a missing woman who is a trafficking victim. Red Rabbit on the Run is her story.
Book Four (something about a “Blue-Eyed Devil”) is still just a bunch of hazy thoughts and ideas percolating in my brain while I take a break and tackle some landscaping projects this summer. I’m also in the process of having some children’s picture books illustrated, and working on one I’m illustrating myself about cats. I publish my children’s books under the name J.B. Stockings.