Award-winning author Diane Chamberlain pays me a visit to answer my questions and talks about her latest novel, “The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes”.
Hi Diane! For those who don’t know you yet, please introduce yourself…
I’m Diane Chamberlain and I’ve written sixteen novels. I like writing about relationships of all sorts, but I also like having an intriguing plot with surprises for my readers. My background is as a social worker and psychotherapist.
Astrology question: what’s your sign? Do you match your sign’s description? I’m a typical Pisces–introspective, creative, sensitive. Many of my writer friends are also Pisces.
Can you tell us more about your latest book, “The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes” ?
When CeeCee is a teenager, she’s seduced by an attractive older man and gets drawn into a plan to kidnap the governor of North Carolina’s pregnant wife. While CeeCee is guarding her, the wife delivers a baby and dies during the delivery. Panicking, CeeCee takes the baby and goes on the run, changing her name and starting her secret life. She eventually becomes a happy and productive wife, mother and student counselor. But her new life is threatened when her past comes back to haunt her, forcing her to make a difficult moral choice that will hurt not only herself, but her precious family as well.
What do you want to “say” when you write a book ?
Although I don’t set out to “say” anything in particular, I find that my books often have the themes of forgiveness and embracing life in the present. They are full of hope.
How (and when) did you start writing ?
I started writing more than twenty years ago when I was kept waiting for a doctor’s appointment. I thought of my writing then as a hobby. I never dreamed I’d go on to be a published author.
You say you loved reading when you were a child, do you remember which book gave you that love ?
My favorite childhood novel was CHARLOTTE’S WEB. I still have it on my bookshelf. The theme in it, sacrificing oneself for the good of another, is reflected often in my stories.
Could you describe your writing process ?
I try to write ten pages each day, no matter what draft of the book I’m on. That includes weekends and so-called vacations. I write both by hand and at the computer, depending on which seems to be working for me at the time. I often listen to movie soundtracks while I write because the highs and lows of the music inspire me.
You mainly write Romance. Did you ever want to write in another genre ?
Actually, I don’t consider my books romance, except for the first two. They are more Contemporary Women’s Fiction. Often a romance is part of the story, but not always. THE SECRET LIFE OF CEECEE WILKES is not a romantic story at all.
Why do you love writing in Starbucks ?
Because I’m away from the phone, the dogs, the laundry, and email, so I get a lot done. Besides, I’m hooked on their coffee! I think they put some kind of highly addictive substance in the interior of their cups that gets activated when it comes in contact with the coffee. 🙂
Can you tell us more about your next book?
You’ll have to follow my blog for information on the next book, because I am not certain yet what it will be!
Do you already have other projects?
Yes, I’m working on a memoir, as well as a lighter novel that is not yet under contract, and a photographic essay book entitled GENERATIONS with my boyfriend. I also have a contract to write two novels this next year. I just don’t know what they will be yet.
And now the nothing-to-do-with-books question : you’ve just found 100 $ in your pocket, how will you use that money?
Get a massage 🙂
“Tea or Coffee?”
Saturday night. Going out or reading a book ?Actually, watch a movie in my living room on the big screen TV.
Holidays. Beach or Mountains ?Beach, though I’d be happy with either.
Country or City ?Suburbs.
Watching a movie. Comedy or Drama (or something else ?) ?Drama, unless I need to be emotionally lifted up. Then comedy.
Shy or Easy-going ?I used to be VERY shy, now I’m VERY easy-going.
Serious or Funny ?Mostly serious, although I can be funny spontaneously. Not if I try to plan it, though.
Traveler or not ?I love to travel, but it’s gotten more difficult with Rheumatoid Arthritis. I still manage, but can’t go places where I have to do a lot of walking.
Sporty or not ?Is typing a sport?
The leader in the group or not ?Writing group–definitely the leader. Other groups, it depends on how active I want to be. I tend to be a leader, but often choose to be more laid back because I don’t want to be over committed.
TV show: The Sopranos, Deadwood, Project Runway
Movie : A Beautiful Mind
Book : a recent favorite: THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE
Music : Springsteen, Clapton, gospel, classical, blues, rock –almost anything other than jazz or rap.
City : my new hometown, Raleigh NC
Favorite place to write: Starbucks
Quote or motto : Pain is a given, Suffering is optional
Thank you, Diane!
You can visit Diane’s site http://www.dianechamberlain.com/