I Feel Like I'm in a Time Machine…

. . . traveling back to the early eighties.

I’ve started rereading my first novel, Private Relations, as I get it ready to publish as an ebook. It will join the five other out-of-print books I’ve turned into ebooks–Secret Lives, Reflection, The Escape Artist, Brass Ring and Fire and Rain. (Check them out here). I asked my readers if I should reissue my two earliest books even though they’re very different from my later novels and the answer was a resounding YES!, so I’m going to do it. But I have to say, rereading this book is a strange experience.

All my older stories lack cell phones, laptops and other technologies we take for granted, but that’s not all. If you’re a female, I’m curious to know if your OB/GYN is a man or woman? I haven’t been to a male gynecologist in about thirty years…and that’s when I started writing Private Relations. Back then, I worked as a social worker in a maternity unit and we had exactly two female docs and about a zillion guys. So when my character, Kit, doesn’t bat an eye about going to a male OB/GYN, it seems odd to me now, but in the context of the era, it made sense. Kit is thirty-one, by the way, and she’s thinking about how incredibly hard it is to change careers at that advanced age! She’s a baby, for Pete’s sake.

Then there’s the writing itself. I actually think it’s pretty good, but it’s quite different from the way I write now, with regard to both ‘voice’ and the way I tell the story. For example, I start more slowly as I set up the situation in Private Relations and introduce you to the characters, and I use more description than in my current novels. I also tell a chonological tale instead of zipping from present to past and back again, the way I frequently do now.

Finally, this is a romance, although not a “typical romance” in any way, because I’d never read a romance novel before I wrote it and had no idea that was what I was writing. I believe that’s what made it unique enough to win the RITA award for best contemporary novel the year it was released. 

So in spite of male gynecologists, corded phones and juicy love scenes, I am fond of these characters and feel for them as they make their way through the story. I hope you’ll feel that way about them too. If you’re an ebook reader, watch for Private Relations to join the rest of my novels in a month or so.


  1. Margo on June 20, 2011 at 8:00 am

    Diane, I read PRIVATE RELATIONS years ago after reading KEEPER and also SECRET LIVES. I loved it then, and love it now. Yes, your writing has changed somewhat but the feelings you evoke today are still in that novel. I could ‘feel’ the deep friendship between those sharing the house on the beach and I can still remember the entire story including Kit and some of the other names. Your passion for writing from your heart was evident then and shows the same emotions in your novels today.
    I cherish my original copy of PRIVATE RELATIONS and think it is a terrific read.

  2. Laura on June 20, 2011 at 8:34 am

    My first child just turned 12, and my second child is about to turn 2 (yes, finding out I was pregnant again; well, it was a …gasp-inducing moment, to say the least). But my daughter was born while I was active duty military and I had a male ob/gyn. My son was born here in a small town, and I had a male ob/gyn then, as well. Didn’t bat an eye either time, honestly. Had not a single option in the world with my first pregnancy. My second pregnancy ob/gyn was AMAZING. Would have chosen none other.

  3. Debra Hearne on June 20, 2011 at 10:56 am

    Looking forward to reading it! To answer your question about OB/GYN, mine is a WOMAN! She understands me!

  4. Sheree Gillcrist on June 20, 2011 at 11:53 am

    I had a male OB/GYN way back in the day. He was a looker and there we all sat in his wating rooms, nine months pregnant and drooling..lol. Can’t imagine having a male one now but times have changed and so have we all. No cell phones sounds good to me Diane. I sometimes wonder whatever happened to going for a walk where the only person you had to talk to was yourself..lol

  5. Diane Chamberlain on June 20, 2011 at 11:59 am

    Another dated item in this book which I think I will play down in (gently) revising it is the uniqueness of men and women friends living together. This book came out before The Big Chill and Friends, and it seemed unusual to have three men and two women living together. Today, not a big deal.

  6. Chantal on June 21, 2011 at 6:36 am


    Of course I want to read private relations. I just finished the midwife’s confession, and just started one of your older ones fire and rain that I read on my IPad as an e-book. When is it gonna be available? By the way my ob/gyn had always been a woman, I’m more comfortable with her.

  7. Rossy on July 7, 2011 at 11:59 pm

    Almost missed this news! Not sure why, but your blog feed is not coming through goodreads since March?

    • Diane Chamberlain on July 8, 2011 at 12:20 am

      thanks for the heads up, Rossy. I’ll get it fixed.

  8. Karla on December 27, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    Please do make this an ebook. It was the first book I ever read written by you. I was a Naval officer on an aircraft carrier in the middle of the North Sea and wasn’t allowed to biting too much with me. Nowadays, we can put so many books on an electronic device and I’d love to have this book with me always. It’s my favorite book; my paper copy is old and well-read. I need a back-up. Thanks!

    • Diane Chamberlain on December 27, 2012 at 8:39 pm

      Oh my, Karla, that really touches me. However since writing this post, I’ve decided not to reissue this old book. It needs far too much work for today’s audience, and I don’t have the time right now. Maybe if I ever retire…dubious…I’ll rework it. But you really did make my day!

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