Amazing Research Trip, part II

I spent most of today (once I finally got out of bed. . . ) copying over the pages and pages of messy notes I took on my trip to Topsail.  I also thought of new ways to make certain facets of my story work, since my research told me that some of my previous plans were flawed. I still have a few things to think through. I hope I can simply dream some solutions overnight, since tomorrow is another art show and I won’t have time to think, much less plot.
Some more info on Topsail Island: it’s a 26 mile long barrier island containing three towns/villages. It’s very “uncommercialized,” which is part of it’s appeal. There’s one stoplight on the entire island! North Topsail Beach is where I stayed in the condo and where my characters will live. There are a few restaurants and that’s about it. Surf City is the largest town in the center of the island, and some of the “action” will take place there, most notably an horrific fire. The lone stoplight is in Surf City. Topsail Beach is the southernmost town and home to the turtle museum. I don’t think much of my story will be set there, although I must mention The Quarter Moon bookstore, which I drove the length of the island twice to visit!
fireguys.jpgMy last research visit yesterday was to the Surf City Fire Department, where Fire Marshal Ken Bogan (left) and firefighter Kevin Head spent a couple of hours helping me figure out part of my story and giving me tons and tons of great information. Like everyone else I met, they were simply super. I’ll be sending you guys some books, so watch your mail box! 


  1. Cheryl on October 6, 2006 at 9:26 pm

    Diane, Thanks for sharing all the great pictures. I love the round house in the other post.
    Also, I got my books today! Thanks.

  2. Brenda on October 9, 2006 at 7:45 pm

    Diane’s research and books-I have been off line for a couple of days-some SERIOUS medical tests (more later) and a lovely drive to the Amish Country in Ohio to meet my son for our birthdays-dinner, chocolate factory, Thomas Kinkade store, and of course, the winery…
    I knew that I had to rest an evening and a day before some of the med tests-I splurged and read all three of Diane’s books. Mycomments:
    Diane-ironic-your character Jon and now you have a JOHN.
    The books are timeless (as some are not.)
    Hope I remember the characters’ names. Claire-I love her–human-strong-caring…
    Jon-wow!!! (I won’t talk about him and ruin the suspense)
    KIM-what nerve-and how that book applies to so many mothers today..those are the two that stayed with me-and I couldn’t put the books down-even set the alarm and got up in the middle of the night to read-no kidding.
    As to the covers-I like the book covers on your new books better-but who cares?? What inside was fantastic.
    Diane-your writing reminds me of the woven baskets…so many stories woven together-causing me to wonder where the story was going-making me think…and in the end-there is the finished product. I loved these books, and as soon as I can, am going to order the two hard backs. (By the way-thanks for signing the books.)
    As to my life-teaching and grad school still killing me. I get emails, letters, and personal comments in public about my little column each week-and I wonder how anyone can like it because it is just coming from my head as I email it as quickly as possible.
    I will list the books and let you girls know which to read first. 🙂

  3. Brenda on October 9, 2006 at 7:49 pm

    BRASS RING–so many stories in one-so deep…Claire is a memorable character…as is Jon…Went on a trip in this one-and hated to reach the end.
    Diane-there is another story there.
    THE ESCAPE ARTIST-this one was also intriguing…I liked it so much. A gutsy character, Kim…one that I won’t forget…This one took much research also.
    This author amazes me-she was that good even back THEN (Whenou’ I was wrapped up in mother’s dying, my divorce, becoming a teacher, and traveling…) How did I miss those books?
    FIRE AND RAIN-This one taught me much about things I don’t know…I liked the characters but I have to say that Carmen won my heart…that’s all folks!!!
    Order the books ASAP-don’t miss these…

  4. Brenda on October 9, 2006 at 7:50 pm

    Diane-Harper’s Ferry is a lovely place (in one of the books)
    Morgantown is where Jack and I travel several times in the fall to WVU football games-about 2 l/2 to 3 hours each way-no kidding…a College (university) town-much changed since you wrote the book-as to the other little WV town in one of the books-not sure where that is…
    You are great.

  5. Diane Chamberlain on October 9, 2006 at 8:24 pm

    brenda, thanks for the great reviews! to those of you who might be confused, brenda ordered some of my old out of print books on my website. i’m glad you felt those books still hold up, brenda. if I had a chance, i’d redo them adding cell phones for everyone! that’s how old they are. here’s an irony: part of the story in THE ESCAPE ARTIST came to me when i bought an “open box” (returned) computer from circuit city, only to discover the previous owner had left lots of fascinating, and somewhat incriminating, stuff on the computer. it made for fascinating reading and immediately gave me a storyline.

  6. Brenda on October 10, 2006 at 5:01 pm

    I loved that part of the story.
    As to cell phones-some of the folks had car phones-so they weren’t that old.
    I personally believe these stories are timeless… It is a shame that they are not readily available to the public.
    Claire and Jon-now that’s a couple.
    Kim and her child-another story…
    The computer returned-intriguing…
    The fire and rain…wow!
    I can’t wait to read them again…slower.
    Right now-I am finishing Memory Keeper’s Daughter…some twists in that one.
    Also-Diane-you surprised me with some twists in these books too…

  7. Diane Chamberlain on October 10, 2006 at 6:07 pm

    Brenda, i look forward to your thoughts on Memory Keeper’s Daughter. (that’s not one of my books, if anyone’s confused!)

  8. Brenda on October 12, 2006 at 5:40 pm

    Memory Keeper’s Daughter-not one of DIane’s-but she is so gracious and kind that we often discuss other books on this BLOG. It is an intriguing book with a story that is amazing. Ironically, a friend of mine (her mom was one of my junior high and high school teachers) has the same name as the author, had twins (with similar circumstances…both her boys are delightful. Won’t say anymore and give away the story…
    Now-my two grad classes are causing huge amount of stress-off to work.

  9. Diane Chamberlain on October 13, 2006 at 12:32 am

    How odd about that coincidence, brenda. i’m glad she and her boys had a happy ending. . . or beginning as the case may be.

  10. Brenda on October 13, 2006 at 5:06 pm

    One of her boys…is gifted in every way…the other one–similar to the story.

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