Some Pictures from the Topsail Research Trip

a-porch.jpgAs promised a couple of posts ago, here are some photos from my recent research trip to Topsail Island. I mentioned the wonderful pre-release dinner Glen Pierce hosted for me at Sterling Bryson’s sound-front home. Here I am with my new friends on Sterling’s porch. L to R, Craig and Dawn Brannon, Fred Beasley, John Brock, Brenda Sellers, me, John, Cynthia Harris and Glen Pierce. And here’s dinner, which I’m still dreaming about! This beef was to die for, and the pasta salad was absolutely amazing. Sterling was the chef.  “Two-Shot Ray” Barwick took these photographs.


The next day, after visiting the turtle hospital, we stopped by Quarter Moon Books, where I’ll have a signing July 3rd, to say hi to owner Lori  Fisher, bookseller Sarah, and the pup who was incredibly sweet but whose name I’ve forgotten — which is very unusual for me. I usually remember the names of dogs more easily than the names of people. She was very good about allowing me to get my dog fix.


lori, sarah.jpg

My friend Susan let us use her adorable cottage as our home base while I did my research. Every room is just as cozily decorated as this one below. The cottage has a BIG Margaritaville theme at work, thus John and his new best friend!

rouse cottage.jpg

my room.jpg

john and friend.jpg

Here I am near the northernmost tip of the island in North Topsail Beach, in front of the condemned beachhouse that inspired the setting in Before the Storm. This is one of a handful of uninhabitable houses that are in grave danger of being swallowed by the sea.
 doomed cottage.jpg

And finally, after having the island nearly to ourselves all week, it was Saturday and the beach was suddenly full of people. We had a few hours on the pier, watching dads fishing with their sons and the surfers, sunbathers and kiteboarders below, and then it was time to head for home. What a great week!
topsail crowded beach.jpg


  1. Gina on May 4, 2008 at 5:37 pm

    Diane, thank you so much for sharing your pictures. I love your white room! That’s so beautiful and cozy. Glad you had a wonderful week, even though you had research to do. You probably made some wonderful memories and friendships that will never be forgotten. Thanks again for sharing, I love looking at the photos.

  2. brenda on May 4, 2008 at 6:43 pm

    Love the pictures. I am a hat person-I wear them all year round…love yours…
    Love John with the bird…Looks like a fun place to visit…

  3. Margo on May 5, 2008 at 8:59 am

    I feel like I’ve been to the Beach! Thx so much for sharing all these wonderful pics Diane…even tho you have been swamped with deadlines, research and writing, writing, writing you still manage to include us and I love that about you…and you also look GREAT in these photos, even tho you are probably exhausted. What you love to do definitely shows. (-:

  4. Diane Chamberlain on May 5, 2008 at 10:27 pm

    Glad y’all enjoyed the pictures. Brenda, i love that hat, because you can scrunch it into a suitcase and it pops back into shape. thanks for the compliment, Margo. I only put the good pixes on, of course. 🙂

  5. Liz on May 7, 2008 at 10:13 am

    I have loved the recent websites with pictures of your life – your husband and friends. I’m a very concrete person, so when I see pictures, I am better able to imagine the life and what you write about. Some friends have recently returned from Hawaii and were enchanted with the stories of sea turtles. My husband was surprised I knew a little about the endangerment and efforts to protect them. He said, “How do you know so much about it?” I said, “I don’t always read nonsense – much of my reading is fiction, with lots of history and research tied into a story.” Hope you’re finishing up without too much stress.

  6. Ann on May 7, 2008 at 7:52 pm

    Diane, I love the pictures. I am at North Topsail Island now and went to Quartermoon Book Store yesterday. I also “met” the sweet dog. Her name is Jill.

  7. Diane Chamberlain on May 7, 2008 at 8:29 pm

    Oh yes, Jill! I hope you’re having the same beautiful weather down there that we’re having here in Raleigh, Ann.
    Liz, glad you enjoyed the pictures.

  8. Denise on May 10, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    I loved the pictures so much!
    Tell us more about that pasta salad…I love pasta salads.
    I love your white room! It is the perfect beach room.
    I am oh-so-jealous. All we are having in Illinois are clouds and rain.
    By the way, just finished “Bay at Midnight” and loved it! I was glad it had a good crying part towards the end. Haha I am going to start another of your books as soon as I finish Maria de los Santos’ new one!

Leave a Comment