My Panicky, Enlightening, Educational, & Gustatorial Trip to Wilmington


The past few days are nothing but a blur, though a very nice blur–even if I did start out in a bit of a panic. John and I arrived in Wilmington, North Carolina Wednesday afternoon. We went out to dinner on the river, which was lovely (broiled grouper), but I was already getting anxious because I was operating on a mega sleep deficit and knew I had to get up at 5am Thursday morning to do a TV interview. With my deadline looming (yes, I’ll be saying those words “deadline” and “looming” for another month. . . ), I’d really been pushing myself–working late, early, and in between. So I planned to go to bed early Wednesday night and get a good night’s sleep.

But then the panic happened.

I’d decided to pack very lightly for this trip. I packed my outfit for the Thursday night booksigning (white pants, white shell, print blouse) and my traveling clothes (truly junky ragamuffin khaki cargo pants and an old black t-shirt). I knew I couldn’t wear a print on TV, so I figured  (brilliantly, I thought at the time), I’d pack my green shirt to wear over my white shell on camera. While laying out the outfit Wednesday night, it suddenly hit me: White shell? White pants? White on TV? Major no-no (and not just because it makes you look fat). John had to talk me out of my panic. (I’ll spare you the grisly details. Suffice it to say that I showed up at the TV station in my green shirt and my khakis and t-shirt, both of which had been ironed within an inch of their lives.) Once I made the decision to wear my junky clothes (like I had a choice?), I went to bed with plans to get a good night’s sleep. But then I  started reading Diane Setterfield’s The Thirteenth Tale — big mistake. I finally closed the book around 2am. I set three alarms (clock radio, travel alarm and my Blackberry alarm) plus arranged a wake-up call with the front desk (I’m not joking. I am not a morning person!)

The TV interview was brief and I barely remember it, but I think it went well because it drove at least several people to the signing that evening. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

After the interview, I returned to the hotel to find that John was out taking pictures, as usual. He loves that early morning light. I worked for a couple of hours. 

Then my publicists, Tori and Kim, picked us up and took us to the Wilmington NPR station, WHQR, where John snapped this pic of me as I was getting ready for the interview. The host of the program, Jemila Ericson, is one of those people who. . . Well, it’s hard to describe. If I had no spiritual side, I’d say that in thirty seconds, she had my number. But since I do have a spiritual side, I’ll say that in thirty seconds, she touched my soul. She’s gifted at what she does, and I’m willing to bet she gets magic from most of her interviewees. It was like chatting with an old friend, and I left the station feeling high. You can listen to the interview here.  

Next, Tori, Kim, John and I went to the Caffe Phoenix for lunch (yummy soup and salad). We love that place! Then back to the hotel where I could finally put on my white clothes for my signing at Two Sisters’ Bookery in the Cotton Exchange. What a charming bookstore, and I loved getting to know one of the owners, Brooks. Isn’t that a great name for a woman? Wilmington is the setting of my work-in-progress, and I was able to pick any number of brains as I signed. It was wonderful!

Back at the hotel after the signing, we indulged in room service (fabulous burgers!), and I wish I could say that I went to bed early, but that Thirteenth Tale kept me up again. I did, however, sleep like the proverbial log.

In the morning, we drove to the airport, where about 35% of my work-in-progress is set. I know that seems like a weird setting for one of my novels. You’ll just have to trust me on this! I’d been totally wrong about this airport in my imagination, so I was so very glad I visited it. You’ve got to love an airport that’s filled with rocking chairs!

rockers john.jpg
We arrived home last night to two very happy-to-see-us pups. Today I revised three chapters. I’ll have to work very hard the early part of this week, because Thursday I’m off again, this time to a signing at Quarter Moon Books  on Topsail Island, July 3rd. Join me there if you can! I’ll be the woman wearing white.  


  1. Julie on June 28, 2009 at 11:14 pm

    Oh, you silly. In spite of sleep deficit, your clothing crisis, etc., you look GORGEOUS in your photos as always!
    I laughed, because this is so what I do when I know I have to be up early. I cannot fight the force to stay up late reading and make myself nearly sick doing it.
    I think they had rocking chairs at the San Diego airport, too. I thought that was awesome, though I didn’t have time to sit a spell.

  2. Margo on June 29, 2009 at 8:06 am

    Needless to say, even tho there was lack of sleep you look marvelous in the pics Diane!!
    I’m so intrigued with your WIP…we don’t know much but these little clues you’re giving have me pretty excited about it…35% in the airport…wow!!…and I LOVE the rocking chairs!! This is just one more reason why I love your novels…no two are alike…all are very unique and that’s what makes the wait so exciting.
    This book your reading must be really, really good if you’re up all hours of the nite with it…I’m going to look up THE THIRTEENTH TALE and see what it’s about…I don’t believe I’ve seen it out…
    Deadline is near?…omigosh, when is the release date for this one?…you are one busy woman!!

  3. Denise on June 29, 2009 at 8:58 am

    You look fabulous in the photos, Diane, so the lack of sleep and clothing fiasco obviously did not hurt a thing. Lol

  4. Diane Chamberlain on June 29, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    The Thirteenth Tale is so different, Margo. I don’t know if you’d like it, but I’m adoring it. It’s a unique story, that’s for sure, and fun to read.

  5. Diane Chamberlain on June 29, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    I forgot to respond to your question about when my work-in-progress will be published. It’s on the schedule for June 2010 and is titled The Lies We Told, which I hope will stick. You know how my titles tend to change! It’s set in the Wilmington, NC area after two terrible storms. The evacuees are in the airport, but a few members of the medical team working with the evacuees are the focus of the story. In addition, one of the doctors ends up trapped in the backwoods with some interesting folks. . . I can’t wait to see what happens!

  6. Margo on June 29, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    I wondered how the 35% airport scene played into the picture…oh Diane, this sounds SO GOOD and another unique story as usual…it’s going to be so hard waiting another year for this to be released…I’ll look forward to the reissues of BREAKING THE SILENCE and SUMMER’S CHILD…of course I will buy the new editions and reread them…(-O:

  7. brenda on July 1, 2009 at 12:28 am

    You look great. I can relate. Since June llth, I have flown to Miami Beach from my home, flown to Washington/Idaho…returned to Miami Beach…and we drove (my son drove) from Miami Beach to San Jose, CA–3100 miles-(We drove that in 4 l/2 days…whew…we are worn out…I will stay awhile and then fly home and do some other trips…I am spending my two months traveling…it is exhausting but so rewarding. One of the things on my list to do in my life: drive across the nation…I did that, and I will do a few others this year…what do some of you plan to do??? I think it is fun to make up lists of must-do things…Diane=yours for now is to finish that book.
    I would like to know something about the characters.

  8. brenda on July 1, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    You amaze me…I’ll be looking in bookstores here in San Jose and there abouts for your books–put them out front if they are not…I have checked bookstores across the country…they are in some of them…great…

  9. […] me. Not sure how “bright” I was), I was interviewed on WWAY, a Wilmington TV station. Last year, I had a wardrobe malfunction prior to that interview, and this year the same thing happened. Well, […]

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