How I Spent My Evening

the sea tender.jpg
First, I went to the crimewriters’ dinner meeting, which was great.  Then I came home and was looking through some old pictures I want to hang up and found this pic, above. This is me on the deck of an old round oceanfront cottage in South Nags Head on the Outer Banks. The picture’s from the late eighties. The house was on the market for 75K, low even at that time because it was doomed to be taken by the next storm or the one after that. The septic tanks were often the first to go in those old beachfront homes. Once that happened, the tank couldn’t be replaced and the house would no longer be habitable. My ex and I toyed with the idea of buying it, gambling on how much rent we could collect from vacationers before the sea took it, but we were just fantasizing. Which was a good thing, because the house was gone the next time I made it to the Outer Banks.
All that is to say that this is the house that inspired my Work-in-Progress. The Sea Tender, the old condemned oceanfront cottage that used to be home to my characters Andy, Maggie and their mom, Laurel, is based on the house above. So tonight I scanned the picture into Adobe Photoshop and turned the house into The Sea Tender! I’m no artist, so my perspective is not so hot, but I love having this picture to inspire me as I write. (This took me HOURS to do! My mouse hand is about to fall off, but it was a fun break from writing).
The Sea Tender 3001.jpg


  1. Margo on May 10, 2007 at 8:48 am

    Artistically, you did a GREAT job Diane! In an earlier blog you talked about the Sea Tender being a round cottage which fascinated me. What you have portrayed with this image is exactly as I pictured except for 1 factor…I thought the characters were living in the cottage and didn’t realize it was a place where they use to live. But, even the color gray is just what I thought it would be. I could definitely see myself living in a bungalow like this! I can hardly wait for this book to come out…I’m sure there are all kinds of secrets and mystery surrounding this intriguing beach house…can you give us a hint?

  2. Diane Chamberlain on May 10, 2007 at 9:55 am

    Thanks, Margo. Actually I realized the “before” pic i had up was a couple of steps into the changes, so I just replaced it now with the original.
    The cottage in my story is condemned, so no one lives in it. However a couple of characters make it their secret place. . . .

  3. Margo on May 10, 2007 at 3:53 pm

    Diane, this book is impossible to wait for! If I haven’t said it before, thank you for sharing your WIP. It makes the wait a little easier to bare. (-:

  4. Robin Pruitt on February 15, 2020 at 8:55 pm

    This round house looks very familiar to me. I believe it may have been next door to our little shoebox. Ours was condemned so many times. Finally Dare County condemned it for good around 1988. Was your house located on Altoona St in S.Nags Head ? We met the owners in 1976. They soon sold and moved to California. Our house was O.C. 1 Lee Fletcher .mile post 21

  5. Robin Pruitt on October 11, 2022 at 8:42 pm

    After reading over my dates are incorrect. Our family purchased the house in 1969 and condemned in 1988. We met the owners of the round house . They had it for about a year. They went through one hurricane and that was enough. They moved to California. The round house went in the ocean first.

  6. Robin Pruitt on October 11, 2022 at 11:10 pm

    I would love to buy a copy of” How I spent my evening. “

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