New York Times  Bestselling Author

Keeper of the Light is Back

I know you’re not supposed to love some of your children more than others, but I can’t help it. Keeper of the Light has always been one of my favorites of my books. It was originally published in hardcover in 1992 and mass market paperback in 1993, then reissued about ten years ago in trade paperback. As of today, it’s back again by popular demand,  once more in trade paperback, and it will be available as an e-book for the first time on April 1st. I’m thrilled! The first book in the Outer Banks trilogy, Keeper will be followed this fall by the second book, Kiss River and in the spring by the third, Her Mother’s Shadow. You can read the first chapter of Keeper of the Light here.

As I tried to think of what to tell you about Keeper that you may not already know, I created a long checklist. There’s so much I could say about this book, but I thought I’d begin by telling you something very, very personal about it.

Keeper of the Light was my fourth novel and I consider it the last one I wrote when I was not battling writer’s block. Since I’ve written seventeen books since then, that might sound crazy, but it’s true. You can read about my battle with writer’s block here, (as well as my lack of sympathy for anyone who gripes about it). I was married to my first husband (we’ll call him Homer, just because that sounds like a good name for an ex) back when I wrote Keeper of the Light. It was a charmed twenty-year marriage, or so it seemed to me. My husband and I loved the Outer Banks and he accompanied me on many a research trip there as I explored the setting for Keeper of the Light.  I was working as a therapist at the time, but since my writing was becoming more and more time consuming, we’d decided I would terminate my private practice and I’d write full time. I wasn’t making much money as a writer yet, though, so we’d be quite dependent on my husband’s income and that was fine with him. He was my champion and biggest supporter.

I’d kept my dedication in Keeper of the Light a surprise from my husband, and when I received my author’s copies, I excitedly showed the dedication to him: To Homer, for remaining now and always, my very best friend. He didn’t react as happily as I’d expected. I found out why the very next day: He’d fallen for another woman, a story as old as humankind. He was obsessed with her and I was devastated. Utterly. Not to mention terrified about the fact that I’d now terminated my practice and would soon have to support myself on my writing income alone. 

First things first: I scrambled to change the dedication. Then I began a life-altering grieving process, during which I made new and loving friends and discovered strength inside myself I never knew I had.  I met and fell in love with a man who had a fourteen-year-old daughter (he also had seventeen- and twenty-year-old daughters too, but for now, I’ll just talk about the fourteen-year-old). My writing friends, familiar with the story of Keeper of the Light, began looking at me strangely. Hmm.  I’d written a book about a woman, Olivia, whose husband Paul leaves her after becoming obsessed with a woman, Annie. Olivia then starts a relationship with Annie’s husband, Alec, who has a fourteen-year-old daughter. Could I have had some subconsious knowledge of the twists my real life was about to take as I wrote Keeper of the Light? No, I don’t believe that, but it was spooky and I’ve been careful with what I write about ever since! That fourteen-year-old and her sisters became my stepdaughters, and although I’m no longer married to their Dad, they (now well into their thirties) remain three of my most precious friends. The second bonus to the ugly turn my life seemed to have taken when my marriage crumbled? Keeper of the Light did very, very well, and for the first time I was well able to support myself as a writer. It’s a book that continues to give back to me and more importantly, to my readers, as they let me know how much they love it. I can’t wait to hear what my newer readers think about this evergreen story. I hope you all love it as much as I do!

(In a day or so, I’ll tell you the history of Keeper’s many covers. Stay tuned!)

15 Comments

  1. Karen Underwood on March 28, 2011 at 11:48 pm

    Wow..Diane that was interesting! I haven’t read Keeper of the Light yet but after reading this I am sure it will be my next book that I buy.

  2. Diane Chamberlain on March 29, 2011 at 12:10 am

    i hope you enjoy it, Karen.

  3. Ann on March 29, 2011 at 7:41 am

    Karen, I promise you that you will love Keeper of the Light! It is one of my favorite books.

  4. Margo on March 29, 2011 at 10:02 am

    I believe the year was 1992 and I walked into my fav bookstore looking for something new to read…I was interested in finding a new author…I walked along the fiction wall and noticed a hardcover book facing out with the most beautiful cover…it was called KEEPER OF THE LIGHT by DIANE CHAMBERLAIN. I did not know the author and knew nothing of the book, but I grabbed it from the shelf, bought it and drove home in a snowstorm. I quickly put on my pajamas and curled up in front of the fireplace with my new book in hand. I was completely and utterly captivated from the very first page and practically stayed up all night reading this haunting, unforgettable novel.
    The rest is history…Diane has been my favorite author since I first set eyes on the book, and KEEPER OF THE LIGHT remains my favorite novel of all time.
    Diane, I’ve always felt there was something mystical about KEEPER OF THE LIGHT, but to now hear the story of your personal struggle and the strange, parallel connection with your new found love and family is definitely something I would call destiny. I do not believe in coincidences and think that life has many roads mapped out for us if we just have the courage to take the right path…your journey has definitely been one that touches us all.

  5. Diane Chamberlain on March 29, 2011 at 10:20 am

    Margo, you just put tears in my eyes! I’m SO GLAD you found Keeper on that snowy day.

  6. Margo on March 29, 2011 at 10:46 am

    Me too Diane!…KEEPER brings out so many emotions and I never get enough of it…I know I’ve read it at least 10 times which is why I’ll be buying this gorgeous new copy tomorrow…my original hardcover needs tender loving care now, and should probably not be handled any longer…’she’ has the spotlight on my bookshelf, and there she will stay.

  7. Lisa on March 29, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    Thank you for sharing some of the background on Keeper. I went on vacation in 1991 to the Outer Banks and was happy to be able to picture the places you were writing about. I also loved the book and didn’t realize it was a trilogy, so I’m going in search of the next books–after I reread Keeper. I’m a librarian and I read a lot as a part of my job…sad to say most become a jumble after a while. Not this book. Almost 20 years later I remember it well!

  8. Diane Chamberlain on March 29, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    That’s a wonderful compliment, Lisa. Thank you!

  9. Debbie hearne on March 29, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    Diane thank you once again for sharing so much of yourself with us. You are an inspiration and a KEEPER!!!

  10. Chantal on March 29, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    I also discover you with keeper of the light and the two that follows I can’t say that it’s my favorite because your novels are all so good that I can’t choose. You’re such a great author. Continue your fantastic work!,

  11. Margo on March 30, 2011 at 9:06 am

    Lisa, I assume you know the order to read the trilogy but I’m going to mention them so anyone who’s not sure will have the list:
    KEEPER OF THE LIGHT
    KISS RIVER
    HER MOTHER’s SHADOW
    The best trilogy ever written, in my opinion. (-O:

  12. Diane Chamberlain on March 30, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    Thanks for doing that, Margo. Readers can always find out about linked books, duplicate title books (ugh) etc on the printable book list on my books page, too.

  13. Melissa on September 3, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    I have been trying to find this book since a friend strongly recommended it to me many months ago. I am in Spain and use a kindle, and have finally found it on the US amazon sight. I will now be trying to obtain it via them, but just in case, any idea when it will be available in Europe?

  14. Melba Enriquez on August 12, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    Dear Diane,
    I can’t seem to put your books down! I just finished reading your trilogy and absolutely loved the characters, plot development, setting, mood, everything! The characters became so real to me, I even had a dream about Rani last night! Needless to say, I’ve become a fan of yours. Do you think we’ll be reading more about the O’Neils and their extended family and friends in the future?
    I look forward to reading more of your books.
    Warm regards,
    Melba

    • Diane Chamberlain on August 13, 2012 at 5:23 pm

      I’m so glad you’re enjoying my books, Melba! I think I’ll leave the O’Neills alone for a while, but there were twelve years between the first book in the trilogy and when I wrote the other two, so you never know what I might have up my sleeve twelve years from now!

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