Speaking at Quail Ridge Books

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I always love speaking at Quail Ridge, one of my two favorite Independent Bookstores (the second being Quarter Moon Books in Topsail Beach). Quail Ridge does a good job getting the word out and it has a wonderful setup for the audience. I had such a good time. My favorite part of a speaking engagement is always the Q and A, because I love knowing what’s on people’s minds and there were lots of good questions from this audience.

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know I’ve been angsting over how to talk about Secrets She Left Behind without giving anything away in both this book and the prequel, Before the Storm. I think I pulled it off, but it was dicey! On the way to the store, I told John the things I planned to say and when I was finished, he said, “but you left out the danger!” I realized that I did. I’d left in the sort of warm cuddly parts–the introspection, the heartfelt struggles of my characters, but omitted the suspense that’s so much a part of the story. If I spoke about the danger, though, I thought it would give too much away, so I simply told the audience “. . . and there’s danger, too!” I think they got the point. I believe Secrets She Left Behind is a suspenseful book, not only because of the literal, physical danger inherent in the story, but also because of the emotional and psychological danger the characters must overcome.

By the way, I don’t know if anyone besides me cares about Dr. Jakes in the book, but he is one of my favorite characters. I think he’s the first therapist I’ve written about, and having been a therapist myself, I loved his scenes. I hope I was half as wise as he is.

I’ve heard from many of you that you’re enjoying the book, and I’m so happy about that. When you write a book, racing toward deadline, you begin to wonder if it’s any good at all. Then those reviews and reader comments start rolling in and you breathe a sigh of relief. Can you hear me sighing right now? 


  1. Denise on June 10, 2009 at 8:47 pm

    I hear you sighing, and I hope they are sighs of relief. SSLB is terrific!
    I’m so glad your talk went well last night!

  2. Ann on June 10, 2009 at 9:34 pm

    Diane, you do not need to worry at all about your books not being good!!! They are some of my favorite books and I have not read one yet that I did not enjoy very much. Go ahead and “sigh away”.

  3. Margo on June 11, 2009 at 8:21 am

    I hear your ‘sigh’ Diane…there should be no worries at all…this book is fantastic, just like all the others…I love the suspense and yes, I absolutely love Dr. Jakes!!…because I’m purposely a slow reader, I have not finished yet and am about halfway. I’m dying to find out things but as usual, I don’t want the story to end. I’m taking my time and savoring every word…for those who’ve finished the book, thank you for not giving anything away.

  4. ronnie on June 11, 2009 at 9:35 am

    Diane I heard the “sigh’ all the way to Florida. I thought it might be one of those tropical depressions, but it is the complete opposite of a depression. SSLB is an amazing book, Dr. Jakes is a fabulous character. I would love to see him spawn off into a novel of his own (hint hint).
    You must have been a phenomenal therapist. It shows in all your books and your development of your characters. A lifetime ago I was going for my masters in social work and it was something that I had wanted to be since I was a young girl. I thought I would have been good at it too, but then I started questioning myself and thinking was this something I really wanted to do. I then decided one day that I didn’t think I could deal with the negative aspects of being a social worker. So I withdrew from the program, now I wish I could have been 1/2 the therapist you must have been. You seem to me, to have uncanny insight into people, amazing listening skills and you are unbelievably empathetic. So Diane I lift my imaginary glass of champagne to you and thank you for all the enjoyment you have given your readers and to all the people you have helped in your previous career, and anyone who is fortunate enough to call you a friend is very fortunate.

  5. Diane Chamberlain on June 11, 2009 at 10:11 am

    Ronnie, what sweet things to say. I think I was a very good therapist in most situations, less so in others. We all have our strengths and weaknesses in whatever we do. For example, my heart was really in working with adolescents and women. I don’t think I was as effective with married couples because at the time I thought my marriage was so perfect and had trouble understanding why these folks just couldn’t pull it together. When my marriage ended abruptly after 20 years, it really opened my eyes. I think I would be an even better therapist now, with much more life experience under my belt. I adore having the wisdom that can only come with age. The times that I went into therapy myself, I always sought out older women therapists for that very reason.
    But I digress. I hear what you’re saying about being unable to handle the negative aspects of working with people. I am so soft and so pained by the bad things in life, but something happens when you put on that professional hat. The protective shield goes up between you and the person you’re helping. . . otherwise you’d be of no help at all. The hardest work I ever did was in the ER working with families of people who had died suddenly, especially when the person who died was a child or infant. Yet those are the cases that will forever stay in my mind because of the honor of being able to touch someone’s life during his or her most painful and vulnerable experience. Those people have long forgotten the young social worker who sat with them in the ER, but I will never forget them. It was those experiences that influenced the bond between Maggie and Madison in Secrets She Left Behind.
    Didn’t mean to write a book here! You would have made a great social worker, Ronnie, especially with your sense of humor. As for me, I really lucked out with having two wonderful careers.

  6. ronnie on June 11, 2009 at 10:23 am

    I understand what you are saying, but I first did a one year internship in a nursing home and then i was suppose to do my next internship in another nursing home. When I approached my advisor and told him my reasons for not wanting a second internship in a nursing home I was placed in a children’s hospital. I think I was not emotionally equipped to handle that at the time. I was way too young (only 22)and in those days the system did not offer any services to help “students” get through the process.
    As far as my sense of humor, thank you for acknowledging it, but it has gotten me through many things and when things get too tough it is good to hide behind.

  7. Lindsay on June 11, 2009 at 10:43 am

    Glad your talk went well!
    Before reading your books, i never desired to visit North Carolina but I would love to visit it someday now. That interest in the area has only grown with each of your books, and as I read your blog.
    SSLB is definitely suspenseful, as are all your books. I love reading books that I have a hard time putting down and your books are excellent for that!
    Received my bookplate this morning- Thanks Diane!

  8. brenda on June 11, 2009 at 11:45 am

    Diane you deserve good things–you spend so much of your valuable time on this blog with us…I am off today for the summer…will check in when I have Internet…thank goodness for laptops…

  9. brenda on June 11, 2009 at 11:47 am

    Besides loving Andy–like the boys in my school-I could relate to the burn victims and families…I was burned pretty badly as a child-still have scars…one does not get over that…

  10. brenda on June 11, 2009 at 11:49 am

    Has anyone read Melissa Gilbert’s memoir?

  11. Margo on June 11, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    Brenda, you’re such a strong woman…I can’t imagine what that must have been like for you as a child.
    Have not read the memoir…still reading SECRETS which is impossible to put down.
    Have a wonderful trip B!!

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