When we think of the phrase “career author,” one of the names that immediately comes to mind is internationally bestselling author, Diane Chamberlain. With 22 novels published in more than a dozen languages, she has clearly made a name for herself in the world of publishing. And with her latest novel, NECESSARY LIES, out this month we thought this was a perfect time to sit down with her and learn more about her impressive career.
We’ve got a copy of NECESSARY LIES up for grabs today. Leave a comment on this post and you’ll be entered to win.
Update: we’re thrilled to announce that the winner of this book is Lana. Thanks to all who entered! And don’t forget to check back soon. We have lots of great giveaways lined up for the rest of this year.
She Reads: The South is such a colorful, romantic place, filled with history and secrets. How has living here informed your fiction?
Diane: I’ve lived for long periods of time in New Jersey, San Diego and Northern Virginia, and every one of those regions has its unique personality, but you’re right about the colorful nature of the South. I now live in North Carolina. I love adding a bit of a Gothic touch to my stories, and the North Carolina setting–with its intriguing history, lighthouse-dotted coastline, fields of tobacco stretching to infinity, and trees hung with Spanish moss–makes that easy. I’ve enjoyed exploring the South in my novels.
She Reads:You’ve been honest about your health struggles with rheumatoid arthritis. How has this made you a better and/or different writer?
Diane: Having RA definitely makes life more difficult. I lose at least a day every six weeks when I receive an infusion drug, and I need a very unattractive brace to be able to walk, but I’m so grateful for the drugs and the brace. When I first got sick, I had neither, and everything was much more challenging and painful for me. But I believe that having RA has made me a better person in general. I see people on a deeper level than I used to, aware that so many of us are grappling with something in our lives, whether that something is physical or emotional. I try to pick one day each month as an “Other People’s Skin” day, during which I imagine myself inside every person that I see. For that day, at least, I’m changed. I take that same sensibility to my characters. The deeper I get to know them, the deeper my readers will know them. And that’s a good thing.
She Reads: You have amassed an impressive body of work since that first book started while waiting in the doctors office. How do you stay disciplined to write… And keep writing?
Diane: I’m not very disciplined. I’m a procrastinator who loves getting to know my readers via social media, so I’m constantly having to bring my attention back to my work. As I really get rolling on a book, however, it’s easier for me to stay focused. At that point, my characters feel nearly as real as my friends and family, and I want to know what happens to them. That’s what keeps me writing. I love when I hit that point in a book.
She Reads: After twenty-two novels, does the process ever get easier? Or does it feel like you’re starting from scratch every time?
Diane: It hasn’t gotten any easier. Few of my books are connected, so for each one I need a fresh idea, a new setting, new characters, and a new dilemma to throw them into, and I must do all of that on a tight deadline. I never want my readers to feel as though I’m “phoning in” a book. I want each novel to be at least as engrossing as the one before it. It’s a huge challenge, but I would rather write a book than anything else I can think of. I absolutely can’t imagine not having a story in the works!
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After losing her parents, fifteen-year-old Ivy Hart is left to care for her grandmother, older sister and nephew as tenants on a small tobacco farm. As she struggles with her grandmother’s aging, her sister’s mental illness and her own epilepsy, she realizes they might need more than she can give.
When Jane Forrester takes a position as Grace County’s newest social worker, she doesn’t realize just how much her help is needed. She quickly becomes emotionally invested in her clients’ lives, causing tension with her boss and her new husband. But as Jane is drawn in by the Hart women, she begins to discover the secrets of the small farm—secrets much darker than she would have guessed. Soon, she must decide whether to take drastic action to help them, or risk losing the battle against everything she believes is wrong.
Set in rural Grace County, North Carolina in a time of state-mandated sterilizations and racial tension, Necessary Lies tells the story of these two young women, seemingly worlds apart, but both haunted by tragedy. Jane and Ivy are thrown together and must ask themselves: how can you know what you believe is right, when everyone is telling you it’s wrong?