In the Beginning

I hope all you parents are making readers out of your children. When I think back to my own childhood, it’s full of books. My Dad was a school principal, and nearly every day after work he’d stop in each of our bedrooms and toss two things on our beds: candy and books. We may all have bad teeth, but we love to read. For two of us, that led to a love of writing as well. In my case, that writing started very early.

I’m pulling together pictures to be used in a video presentation at a May event celebrating my twenty years as an author. While doing so, I stumbled across the cover for Witchville (or–ahem–Whitchville), the first book I wrote. What really cracks me up about this book is the synopsis on the flyleaf. Except for the spelling and sentence structure, the plot sounds like it could be from one of my current novels, doesn’t it? I may have grown as a writer, but my imagination appears to be stuck in 1961 (as is my typing ability, I’m afraid).

So are you nurturing some excellent readers? Perhaps some future authors? I wonder what form your kids’ books will take? Will we be able to hold them in our hands and store them on our bookshelves, or will they all be on Kindle-like devices or on little chips we have implanted in our ears? No matter how anxious I feel about the future of publishing, I have no anxiety whatsoever about the future of storytelling. We’ll always need stories, and I hope you’re sharing plenty of them with your children.





  1. Gina on March 2, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    OH Diane! How precious!
    I’ve been reading since I can remember. It’s pure joy for me. And, I’m so proud to say that both my nieces and my nephew love to read.
    Today is Dr. Seuss’s birthday too! All Hail to Dr. Seuss.

  2. brenda on March 2, 2009 at 7:56 pm

    I have read forever. My children were taught by me…early on…my three grandchildren love love books…I think the answer to my children-television-we didn’t do cable, and all they had was a tiny little television…they were almost in junior high when we broke down and bought a larger television…
    My grandchildren live in Indy-no cable-just a few channels…that has been the secret-they do get DVD’sold television shows, etc…but they love the books. Unfortunately, most of my students HATE books and hate reading…so so so sad…

  3. Denise on March 2, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    My dad and favorite aunt were voracious readers, and I have always loved to read. I have the very first ‘chapter book’ I read when I was 7 – a Bobbsey Twins book given to me by my aunt. On the inside cover, I wrote my name in purple crayon; both of the ‘E’s’ are facing the wrong way. Lol
    I was always writing stories as a child and thought I would write a book some day. Sigh.
    Diane, I love your cover art and synopsis!

  4. Margo on March 3, 2009 at 8:18 am

    Diane, Gina took the words right out of my mouth…how precious! I love that you saved your 1st book and the artwork is amazing!…you could be a painter also! When I was 14 years old I wrote a story about a mermaid who fell in love with a human named Eddie…amazingly, I grew up collecting mermaids…somewhere I still have the story with cover art painted by me.
    My mother read to my sister and me ALWAYS…everynite was storytime and she put lots of emphasis in her characters…Saturdays she took us to the Library and then the store to buy a precious book of our choice. As a result, my sister and I LOVE to read and it’s our biggest joy. It’s so important for parents to instill this in their children…after reading Brenda’s comment that her school kids ‘hate’ reading, it makes me so sad…books give us new ‘friends’ and fill our lives with knowledge, insight, passion and hope.

  5. Diane Chamberlain on March 4, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    Actually, Margo, if it had been left up to me, I probably would have tossed those early books when I hit my teenage years. They would have embarrassed me. But my mother carefully wrapped each of them in saran wrap and tucked them away. She must have known I’d have a use for them again some day. Wise woman!
    Brenda, it’s so sad to hear that your students hate reading. I see so many young people with the Twilight series or, a few years ago, Harry Potter, that it gave me hope.

  6. Emilie Richards on March 4, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    Diane, that’s flat out adorable. I love the illustrations and the plot line. I don’t have a single child of my four who reads the way I do, devouring books. But every one of them loves storytelling, only they get their fixes from audio books, movies, etc. It does make me wonder if all those books we read out loud to them were setting them up for a life time account at, but since I love hearing books read out loud, too. I guess they come by it honestly.
    I love your blog. It’s so, well, Diane!

  7. Margo on March 5, 2009 at 8:10 am

    Thank goodness your mother had the insight to save them Diane! She must have been so proud of you and knew that your art and stories were keepers. My mother saved some of my early artwork and I’m thankful today that she did…
    Diane, I’ve seen lots of young people buying and reading the TWILIGHT series also…when I was in Border’s over the holidays, parents were buying those books like crazy for their kids…let’s hope that children always continue to explore bookstores and libraries and never give up on old fashioned storytelling.

  8. Diane Chamberlain on March 5, 2009 at 9:35 am

    Emilie, I bet you have some of your “early work” stashed in a box in the attic somewhere.
    Margo, when I look at how thick the Twilight books are and imagine teenagers devouring them, it does my heart good!

  9. Rob Lopresti on March 5, 2009 at 10:02 am

    Great memories, sis. You know, I don’t remember our parents reading to me, although I KNOW they did. But I could give you a list of dozens of books Dad brought home to me.
    A name from the past… The Sidehill Gouger Twins?

  10. Diane Chamberlain on March 5, 2009 at 10:56 am

    You have a great memory, Rob. Yes, I still have The Sidehill Gouger Twins here, carefully wrapped in saran wrap. I also have The Tonsil Twins which I wrote for you and our cousin Jean when you both had your tonsils out. Remember that?

  11. Rob Lopresti on March 5, 2009 at 11:57 pm

    I sure do. I remember thinking they were going to cut through the BACK of my neck. Who would think to explain it to a kid?

  12. brenda on March 6, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    I had great hope with H. Potter and Twilight series…but the majority of high school students do not want to read-complain often.
    So so so so sad.

  13. Hope on March 11, 2009 at 9:58 pm

    Hey, Diane, what does the “V” in your name stand for??

  14. Diane Chamberlain on March 11, 2009 at 10:35 pm

    Victoria. It was my confirmation name. Of course, you’re supposed to take the name of a saint, but I chose the name Victoria because it was the same name as my then favorite TV star’s wife! I don’t use it any more. Just plain ol’ Diane Chamberlain since the mid seventies.

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