Novel of Friendship and Truth
The Country Bookshop is hosting award-winning author Diane Chamberlain Thursday, May 12, at 7 p.m.
With a spot-on ability to create characters whose relationships feel authentic, Chamberlain has legions of fans who will gladly sacrifice a night or two of sleep to continue reading her intricately constructed, fully believable stories.
Her books, complex stories about love, compassion and forgiveness, with a good amount of mystery and suspense thrown in, have often been set in Southern locales.
Her latest work, her 20th novel since 1992, “The Midwife’s Confession,” takes place primarily in Wilmington. Chamberlain’s novel focuses on three women, best friends, who believe they know everything there is to know about each other and each other’s lives. As the story unfolds the “reality” of the women’s’ friendships, the “truth” of their extended relationships is shockingly revealed.
The author indicates she got the idea for this new book from a dream and “would like it to happen more often as it’s such a gift to wake up with the idea for a story.”
Chamberlain recounts how the dream gave her a seedling of an idea: “What if you knew something terrible about a friend, something that would alter her life in the most shocking way? Would you tell her?”
Chamberlain knew she wanted to explore these questions in her new story and began outlining the plot. But she says that when the character of Noelle, the midwife, came to life and hijacked the storyline with her secrets, “I gave her her lead” and now Chamberlain says she sometimes feels as though “Noelle and I co-wrote this book.”
Born and raised in Plainfield, N.J., Chamberlain attended Glassboro State University for her undergraduate studies and received a master’s degree in clinical social work from San Diego State.
Prior to her writing career, she was a hospital social worker and a psychotherapist in private practice, working primarily with adolescents. Her background in psychology, as well as her work in hospitals, has given her a deep understanding of people and the insight necessary to create real, believable characters.
Unfortunately, in the mid-1990s Chamberlain was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, and the illness has impacted the way she works. While it is now well-controlled with medications, she sometimes needs to type using voice recognition software.
With her spirit unbowed by her diagnosis and her sense of humor intact, she can regale her fans with hilarious stories of “miscommunication” between the software and herself.
Chamberlain feels fortunate that her arthritis is not more severe, and that she is able to enjoy everyday activities, in addition to maintaining a busy work and travel schedule.
When not writing, she enjoys fixing up her house, playing with her three-legged Bernese Mountain Dog, getting together with her friends, grown stepdaughters, three grandchildren and finishing work on her 21st novel.
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