My Curious Readers

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Today I received an email jam-packed with questions from a reader, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to answer her questions along with some of the others I’ve recently received. Here we go!


Q. I love your books and when I tell my friends about them, they ask what category they are in and I never know how to answer. Do you think they fit in a category such as mystery, romance etc? I never know what to say when I’m asked this question.

A. That makes two of us! My books don’t fit neatly into any one category. I usually say my books are “part mystery, part suspense, and 100% family drama.” However, a fan recently came up with an even better description when she said “Your books are about good people who screw up.” I like that definition!


Q. When I go to the bookstore to look for your books, they only have a couple of titles. Why is that?????

A. This is, quite honestly, an improvement! It used to be that most bookstores only carried my most recent title, so I’m delighted to hear that your bookstore carries more than one. This should only continue to improve as more of my books are reissued. Remember that you can always order any of my in-print books for free through your bookstore.


Q. When I ask for your older books, the bookstore tells me they are out of print.

A. My earliest seven books (published by HarperCollins) are indeed out of print, and until recently, many of my older Mira books were also out of print. Please check the printable list of books on the book page of my website to get a current list of what is available. Every single one of my books, with the exception of those first seven, is available, so if your bookstore tells you differently, well. . . they’re wrong. The more recent books are also available in e-format.  


Q. If some of your older books are being reiussued, does that mean you’re not writing any new books? I am worried that I will run out of Chamberlain books if you are done writing!!!

A. Oh, my goodness, where did you get that idea? I’m writing new books faster than ever and I have no plans to stop.


Q.   I just finished Secrets She Left Behind, which was amazing, as was Before the Storm. When I tell friends they should read Before the Storm first, they wonder why it isn’t mentioned as a prequel. Why is that?

A. For the long answer to this question, visit my June blog and scross down till you reach the Sequel Dilemma Revisited post. But here is the short answer: each of these books was written to stand alone, so that a reader could enjoy one without reading the other. This was also true of my Keeper of the Light trilogy. You’re correct, though, that readers who read the two books in order will probably maximize their enjoyment.


Q. A friend of mine has Secrets She Left Behind in hardcover. How can I get a harcover edition?

A. Your friend must have purchased her book through the Doubleday Bookclub, which is the only place the hardcover editions are available.


Q. I love Jodi Picoult’s books and your books are even better than hers! Keep writing!

Q. I hate Jodi Picoult’s books and wish your publisher wouldn’t compare your books to hers. Yours are so much better. Keep writing!

A. LOL!!


Thanks to all my readers who write to me with comments and questions. I read every single email myself and try to repsond within a couple of days. If you don’t hear from me, it means your email was swallowed by my spam filter or went astray some other way, so be sure to resend. I love hearing from you! 



  1. Lindsay on June 15, 2009 at 12:44 am

    I agree with the latter comment re: Jodi Picoult. I had never heard of you when I was reading her novels a couple years back. I read three total and I have no intention of ever picking up another of hers.
    Jodi, like you, can draw you in and writes really well keeping you interested and wanting to know what happens
    The difference between you, Diane, and Jodi is that you know how to write a satisfying ending. Jodi can’t salvage a decent ending it seems from the 3 chances I gave to her.
    I was so happy to discover your books and get that suspense plus a satisfying conclusion that makes sense.
    So I definitely agree that you should not be compared to her as being as good as her, because imo you are incredibly better.

  2. Margo on June 15, 2009 at 9:02 am

    Omigosh Diane, the question from your reader ‘if some of your older books are being reissued, does that mean you’re not writing any new books’…I think we would all be devastated if that were true!!…I’m so happy reissues are happening but happier still that we have new Diane Chamberlain books to look forward to!!…this blog keeps us all informed to your WIP’s thank goodness…(-O:

  3. ronnie on June 15, 2009 at 10:43 am

    I agree with Lindsay’s comments and just want to add that the reason I enjoy your books so much is because your books are unique.I think you are being portrayed as a “Southern Jodi Picoult” because of the books centering around family dynamics but her books are much darker than yours. I also agree with Jodi Picoult not knowing how to end a book. But I digress, this is not a Jodi bashing blog, Diane your books are wonderful and if I ever grow up I want to be just like you!(just wanted to end on a positive note)

  4. Ashley on June 15, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    Apparently, I’m the odd one out :P. I love your books and I love Jodi’s books.. for different reasons of course. My take on you being portrayed as a “southern Jodi Picoult” is that she is a more known name- what with “My Sister’s Keeper” coming out as a movie etc- in the “good people who screw up” category. Even saying that, I don’t like endings to begin with.. but if a story never ended, we’d never be able to start on another one.
    But I do agree in that if I ever grow up, I want to be just like you!
    Still waiting on my bookplate, but thank you again!

  5. Diane Chamberlain on June 15, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    Ashley, you definitely should have received your bookplate by now! Please email me your address again and I’ll send another one. Thanks for letting me know.
    As for Picoult, I’ve enjoyed several of her novels, even those with endings that made me want to throw the book across the room. LOL. I can understand the comparison, and it’s probably won me more readers than it has cost me. But we definitely ARE different writers, with different themes and executions. That’s one of the best things about books, isn’t it? There’s something for everyone.

  6. Margo on June 15, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    I’ve never read Jodi Picoult but I will say this…Diane, you are 1 in a million and I don’t think you should be compared to anyone!! Noone writes like you…noone…your characters can be good or bad, saints or dark and somehow you weave a story where we care about them all, at least I do. For the ones who are dark I still find a glimmer of hope in them (well, maybe a few are hopeless)…in the words of Mira publishers, your novels are ‘riveting’ and in MY words, you are gifted and a phenomenal author who is a genius at plot, characterization and sense of place. If anything, other writers should be compared to YOU not vice versa…but then as I said before, noone writes like you. (-O:

  7. Gina on June 15, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    I am a HUGE Jodi fan and a HUGE Diane fan. Like you said Diane, you and Jodi have different writing styles and for me I got the best of both worlds with with reading her books and yours.
    I’m glad you were able to share the answers to some of the fans questions, it certainly helps to understand the publishing side of things.

  8. brenda on June 15, 2009 at 5:18 pm

    I am reading, resting, eating, and sitting by the ocean-the life…we fly to Washington/Idaho on Thursday for my son’s Ironman, and then back here to drive to CA-where he is moving. I looked at the library here and found tons and tons of books to read-but in the new books-no D.C. yet…
    As to the comparisons to Jodi Picoult–I have said all along-there is no no no comparison to the two of you-two different genres…however…I like some of her books…but they are totally dark and so depressing. Yours are not like hers…I have often heard people in bookstores tell me that when they see her name on the front cover, they are turned off-but who knows? Others may like that…after all-I love so many different authors…I think Jodi’s last book just put so many authors off, but after all, every book can’t suit every person…
    Diane-did I miss a BLOG about the latest WIP?
    Diane-you are unique in your writing…I am glad the old books are being published again.

  9. Diane Chamberlain on June 15, 2009 at 5:31 pm

    Margo, I feel like I should put you on my payroll! Thanks for all the sweet compliments.

  10. Diane Chamberlain on June 15, 2009 at 5:33 pm

    Brenda, I haven’t blogged about the work-in-progress yet, at least not in any detail. Right now, I’m too busy writing it! I’m so glad you’re getting some wonderful time to relax.

  11. Denise on June 15, 2009 at 9:45 pm

    I liked 3 or 4 of Picoult’s books (including My Sister’s Keeper and The Pact) but after reading a few that I really didn’t like, I stopped reading her. I especially disliked Plain Truth which I thought was a cheesy attempt at a mystery. Lol I like Diane’s novels much much better.
    (By the way, is anyone as dissapointed as I that Cameron Diaz is playing the role of the mother in My Sister’s Keeper? Yuck.)
    Thank you for sharing those questions and answers, Diane!

  12. Lindsay on June 16, 2009 at 1:25 am

    Denise- I actually think Cameron Diaz might surprise everyone in the movie and do a great job with the role. I’m not a fan, I just feel like she’ll do well with it. Guess we’ll see soon enough.
    Of Jodi’s novels I read: My Sister’s Keeper (which felt anticlimatic to me and I’m interested to see if the movie ‘changes’ the ending as I’ve heard they did). I also read Salem Falls which I think is the better of the 3 I read. And I also read Nineteen Minutes which was the first one I read and there’s just one part of the storyline and how it’s wrapped up that left me with such a sour taste, when I know that the rest of the book is perfectly fine. Just that one tidbit at the end didn’t sit right with me because it was not how things would go realistically.
    I’m not trashing her writing at all because I do think she can write very well and be suspenseful, I just think she needs to work on having more satisfying and logical endings.
    What’s everyone reading right now? I’m working on the 4th Anne of Green Gables novel (Anne of Windy Poplars i believe it’s called). I have the entire set but I’ve never read the 4th-8th books so I figured I’d work on those.
    One of my other authors that I anxiously await new releases from has a new one out tomorrow. Jennifer McMahon “Dismantled” so I’ll probably picking up and starting that one asap.

  13. Denise on June 16, 2009 at 8:11 am

    Lindsay, you are probably right about Diaz. I don’t really care for her but I think she will probably do a good job with the role. I guess I just didn’t picture her in that role at all. I pictured someone more ‘motherly.’ I also didn’t picture Alex Baldwin in the role of the lawyer. I think the roles of the girls and father were cast perfectly, though.
    I didn’t hear that they changed the ending! I actually liked the ending in the book.
    I have been on Third Reich reading binge since December when I read Jenna Blum’s THOSE WHO SAVE US, reading both fiction and non-fiction in that regard. I loved Jenna’s novel, and SARAH’S KEY was fantastic, too.
    I’m going to be starting THE HELP this week which I’ve heard was terrific.

  14. Margo on June 16, 2009 at 9:01 am

    I finished SECRETS SHE LEFT BEHIND last nite…omigosh what an amazing and powerful book…Diane, I’m absolutely in awe at how you create such dramatic and intense situations…with complex people we love and some we don’t always like; but care about all the same…
    It’s hard for me to pickup another book after reading this but to answer Lindsay’s question, I did start OWL ISLAND this morning…this novel was written a few years ago by Randy Sue Coburn and since she has a new book coming out soon I thought I’d give this a try…looks wonderful!! (-O:

  15. Margo on June 16, 2009 at 9:15 am

    Brenda, enjoy your summer vacation…you’re so lucky to be on the beach right now!!

  16. Diane Chamberlain on June 16, 2009 at 9:51 am

    Margo, I’m so glad you liked Secrets!
    Wow, I didn’t realize Cameron Diaz was cast as the mother in My Sister’s Keeper. I like her quite a bit in comedic roles, so it will be interesting to see what she does with this one. I hope the script is good. I can’t stand it when a script is so bad it makes you cringe. As for the ending: it would be hard to pull off the same ending that’s in the book, both logistically and in a way that doesn’t have viewers throwing their shoes at the screen. I liked the ending but I have friends who LOATHED it. If you like being jerked around by an ending (in a good way), try Bohjalian’s The Double Bind, which I just read (especially if your a fan of The Great Gatsby). I really liked it. I also just finished The Help, which I loved. I’ll be curious to know what you think of it, Denise. Now I’m reading Summer’s Child to find any changes I want/need to make in it before it’s reissued. Although I remember the major “twist” in the story, I’m baffled by some of the other goings on. LOL. I suppose if the author herself can’t figure out what’s happening, that’s a good sign the reader will be drawn in as well.

  17. Ashley on June 16, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    YAY! Don’t worry Diane, I checked the mail after posting yesterday and my bookplate was waiting for me 😛
    I think I may be in trouble with some of your reissues.. just because my bf and I just bought a house and he’s trying to tell me we have to save money, which i understand, but I need books! (his defence is “you already have them”… but not with the new cover, or ‘what if there are changes??’) Jeez, sometimes guys just don’t understand 😉

  18. ronnie on June 16, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    Diane I am so glad you loved The Help. It is Katherine Stockett’s first novel and I hope she has more to come. I have to say that aside from your books, it was the best book I have read this year.

  19. brenda on June 16, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    I agree with those of you who like Sister’s Keeper, Pact…but not so many of the others…however, she is still a great writer. When I said “put authors off” I meant readers. We get so we expect certain things from certain authors-when they change, we don’t like it…my favorite authors with Diane and Barbara D. at the top along with Siddons, Monroe, Frank…Thompson, etc…they never fail…I could mention (and choose not to) several mainstream authors who started out so so great-but have not maintained their professional writing technique-becoming more commercial. Diane-you have not done that…you have a style that I call CHAMBERLAIN technique…really good…
    I have read about l0 books these past few days…some really good ones-some not so…one writer who is a CREATIVE WRITING teacher had a good story, but it was as if she stopped at certain words-went to her dictionary/thesaurus to change the word…I know that as I have taught C. WRiting…drove me bananas in the book…
    I am glad I did not miss any comments on the WIP…I always admire you, Diane, for the amount of time youspend on this BLOG…
    I am off to do some lesson plans for fall-have to work a little bit…

  20. Diane Chamberlain on June 17, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    I’m glad you received the bookplate, Ashley. The US postal service comes through again! (I do think, despite all the complaints people make about it, it’s rather remarkable).
    I’m now reading Alexandra Sokoloff’s THE UNSEEN. I don’t usually read thrillers/horror, but I started reading her books because she’s a friend only to discover that she’s really good. I love her writing style. I think this one’s her best. Alex, like her character, is a California girl transplanted to NC, and since I moved east after spending 12 years on the west coast, I’m getting a chuckle as I remember how disorienting it can be.

  21. brenda on June 17, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    I like thrillers like Patterson (old ones), Tami Hoag (older ones)…are her books like that or are they science fiction horror???

  22. Diane Chamberlain on June 17, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    Paranormal, Brenda. This book is based on the ESP experiments at the Rhine Institute at Duke U in the first half of the 20th centuray.

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