Home From Topsail

chers room.jpgSorry about being so quiet the past few days. I’m having some blog snags that I hope will be cleared up soon. Meanwhile, my friend Cher and I had a great trip to Topsail Island. Here are pictures of us in our respective rooms at another friend’s adorable little cottage, just footsteps from the beach.  
my room.jpg I’m getting down to the nitty gritty on the research now, filling in all those blanks I left in the manuscript as I wrote it, so it was great to spend a few days figuring out exactly where the fictional church fire would be, the location of my main characters’ houses, etc.
the bogans and me.jpgThe best part was having dinner with Ken and Angie Bogan. Ken is the Fire Marshal for the Surf City fire department and his wife Angie is a volunteer fire fighter. Since two of my central characters are fire fighters and since an arson fire and its investigation play such an important role in the book, I had many many questions for them. 45 questions, as a matter of fact! We had dinner at Sears Landing, where the manager, Chip, made us feel very welcome despite the fact that he’s hobbling around on crutches and a shattered leg (four wheeler accident). Afterward, Ken and Angie took me back to the fire station so I could see some of the equipment they’d told me about firsthand. They were a huge help!
topsail house.jpgFinally, I got another look at the condemned houses on the beach in North Topsail. I imagine the fictional round house (The Sea Tender) in my story to be in the location of this house, and in equally sad shape, having survived one too many storms. It stands so isolated and vulnerable on the beach, with the water inching too close.
So, now I’m home. Cher, who’s a college prof in California and who has been a good friend since our own college days, leaves tomorrow after a too-short trip. We had quality catching-up time, though. Now it’s back to work for both of us.


  1. Margo on April 13, 2007 at 9:18 am

    Wonderful pics Diane! It must be soooooo hard to leave Topsail when so much of your heart is there and going into this book. Without a doubt, this is going to be an incredible novel.

  2. Kathy Holmes on April 13, 2007 at 11:42 am

    Wow – I agree – great pics and what a fabulous-sounding book. I can’t wait to read it!

  3. Diane Chamberlain on April 13, 2007 at 1:57 pm

    Thanks Margo and Kathy. It WAS hard to leave the beach, but I’m glad to be home, sitting on the porch, typing away on my book. Kathy, I’m going to pop over to your blog and see what’s up.

  4. Brenda on April 13, 2007 at 3:49 pm

    Love catching up.
    Just spent Spring Break in the north with 2 feet of snow-I read and read and read…
    Am finishing grad school by early May-reading a great book about Jane Austen and read about 12 mysteries…great…
    The weather was too windy and cold to do much…am now trying to get caught up-love reading and looking at your pictures…
    Hopefully, my son will eventually move to where it is warmer AGAIN…
    Take care-I like Sara and am trying to get used to her name-sounds great.
    Am reading Jodi Picoult’s latest…

  5. Brenda on April 14, 2007 at 1:20 pm

    Am assuming Cher is not the singer of “If I Could Turn Back Time” or “Believe” which are two of my favorites.
    Your characters—we remember your characters, Diane. They are lasting…Annie, Cee Cee…
    Just finished the latest in the detective series of Sarah Shaber–Professor Simon Shaw…I get started on a series and don’t want to stop-do I remember and know the characters in this series? Not a lot.
    Just finished l9 Minutes by Picoult-were the characters haunting? This is a read for everyone even if it is about a Columbine tragedy…you will sympathize with the mothers especially in this book.
    I am finding it difficult to get used to going to the library (and having the library order from another branch) my favorite authors-but it will last awhile.
    Sara-we will get used to that name and remember her…already we know much about her…remember ROBERT in Bridges of Madison County? Of course we remember characters in the classics such as Austen, Bronte, Poe, Hawthorne, Hemingway, etc. etc. but for us to remember characters from books today-unusual-now I know why–you work so hard to KNOW YOUR CHARACTERS…
    Great work.

  6. Diane Chamberlain on April 14, 2007 at 1:29 pm

    Brenda, glad you’ve returned from the arctic weather. You’ve made me want to hurry up and get the latest Picoult, which I’ll do tomorrow. As for Sarah Shaber’s latest (SHELL GAME)–I’m reading and enjoying it now. There are some books “designed” to create memorable characters and others designed for pure enjoyment. I put Sarah’s in that category. This is only the second of hers I’ve read, but I really like the Simon Shaw character, even if he will never haunt me the way a Picoult character might.
    On that note, I thought it was interesting as I read MARCH by Geraldine Brooks, that I could remember so much about Mr March’s daughters, Jo, Meg, Beth and Amy, even though I read LITTLE WOMEN a good forty some years ago.

  7. Brenda on April 14, 2007 at 2:22 pm

    I reread L Women yearly…they are my favorite characters.
    As to Simon Shaw…my problem with this type of series is that at first-we know so much-and then the books turn into novellas…However…I will be looking forward to what he is doing next…I am seeing this happening with many of my favorite authors…I spoke with one of my friends who is in Library BUSINESS (has many degrees but still enjoys the reading I like too)…she tells me that if an author is really popular–they have to get so many of her/his books whether or not they stay great–at that time-another person who was with us–gave some examples of authors who are writing on their “names”…
    One who is not: Mary Higgins Clark-never ceases to amaze me…
    I agree there are some books that are for pure enjoyment…and then there are others…
    However, I am becoming more discerning and just because an author is “that” author, I am not LOVING each page…

  8. Diane Chamberlain on April 14, 2007 at 2:30 pm

    >>However, I am becoming more discerning and just because an author is “that” author, I am not LOVING each page…

  9. Brenda on April 14, 2007 at 2:38 pm

    Some of the books we chose on my online bookclub-that’s where I “MET” D. Chamberlain…One of the girls chose D. for our monthly book…(Our bookclub consists of women across the USA-the one thing in common-they all know me-and the other thing-we love to read) (I started this several years ago)
    Year of Magical Thinking-Didion
    Pride and Prejudice-Austen
    Letters from Vietnam
    Song of Solomon
    Dinner with Anna Karenina
    The Piano Man
    *Authors can be found when you google Amazon )
    Susannah’s Garden (Debbie McComber-a great author)
    East of Eden
    Cee Cee Wilkes (This was not the first one–the first one was Annie)
    My Sister’s Keeper-Picoult
    Memory Keeper’s Daughter
    Cage of Stars (Jacquelyn Mitchard)–her books are TERRIFIC
    Carlene Thompson-any of hers
    The Thirteenth Tale (Satterfield)
    Nicholas Sparks
    TOO MANY TO Mention-but these are a few…
    Jacquelyn Mitchard never fails to come through…Even though Sparks’ books are light reading-they are good.

  10. Brenda on April 14, 2007 at 3:00 pm

    My last-I promise
    Barbara Delinsky is, of course, one of my favorites..COAST ROAD-ladies-unbelievable-as are most of her books.
    Also-be sure to get UPLIFT (Breast Cancer survivors’ book)

  11. Diane Chamberlain on April 15, 2007 at 11:06 am

    Brenda, I jotted down the titles I haven’t already read from your list. I was really taken by THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING (Didion). I’m considering suggesting it to my bookclub, but most of them members are young women and I’m not sure if it would resonate with them. What do you think?

  12. Brenda on April 15, 2007 at 4:47 pm

    I think it would be wonderful…what Joan Didion went through-and was able to continue writing…true relationships can last…and when they don’t we are strong enough to get through.P.S. Be sure to email me about your writing workshop-I am hoping that next year it is after school is out (after June 12 or so) because I am not going to go through life without coming to one of YOURS and meeting you and learning from the best.

  13. Brenda on April 17, 2007 at 4:10 pm

    How great-one of my students showed me a new book today (students seldom read any more…) It is LITTLE WOMEN…she took my advice. I told her and some of the other girls that if they want to read it and discuss it, we can do it at lunch (lunch is 30 minutes but I work in the writing lab during that time so my students can type…) This is exciting…

  14. Diane Chamberlain on April 17, 2007 at 4:50 pm

    How old are your students, Brenda?

  15. Lottie Koenig on April 21, 2007 at 4:38 pm

    Hello Diane,
    you were here on Topsail Island and didn’t call me! 🙁 just kidding…..
    We are in the office across the street now, next to Bert’s Surf Shop. I have a nice, new office upstairs, love it. So…..next time you’re here…..stop in and we’ll lunch again 🙂
    Can’t wait till you’re finished with the book. When do you think it’ll be?
    I still smile when I remember meeting you, what a nice surprise when you stopped in our office…..
    Business is picking up, more buyers are on the island….it’ll be a good spring.
    fondly, Lottie

  16. Diane Chamberlain on April 21, 2007 at 4:53 pm

    hi lottie! believe me, i thought about it. every time i drove past intercoastal realty, i was tempted, but i was already dragging my tolerant (and sick) friend all over the map, so decided i would have to give up the idea. i’ll catch you next time for sure.
    the topsail island book will be out June 08, followed in january 09 by its sequel (i think).
    glad to hear people are buying again. have a lovely spring!

  17. brenda on April 22, 2007 at 11:38 am

    Are you saying that the book you have been writing will be out JUNE 8??????
    Wow! I have lost something in the process of all of this–you have really gone quickly…I thought your deadline was June 1st?

  18. brenda on April 22, 2007 at 11:41 am

    I teach high school and always have-but this year went to a Middle School-for a year-wanted to work on my Master’s and finish…these girls will be in 9th grade next year. (I am returning to High school next year as I really enjoy that more.)
    Remember-I started teaching as an OLDER TEACHER and my first year was 7th-I immediately went to high school and stayed there (in S. Carolina first and then WV) I have studied Shakespeare at The Folger’s (D.C.) London, and Shakespeare and Co. in Mass. (l month usually at the Folger’s and in Mass…only the week in London) Thus, I really enjoy that…
    These girls are exceptional students–very good-most of my students in middle and high DO NOT READ for enjoyment–

  19. Diane Chamberlain on April 22, 2007 at 12:26 pm

    >>Are you saying that the book you have been writing will be out JUNE 8??????

  20. brenda on April 22, 2007 at 6:57 pm

    D., I thought you had finished quicker than you thought. June 2008 sounds more like it… 🙂 🙂
    I am the same when I do emailing…I don’t worry about mistakes-just do it and finish.

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