With more than twenty novels under her belt, Diane Chamberlain seems as though she’s spent her entire working life as an author. However, this isn’t actually the case: for many years Diane’s focus was on social work, completing her postgraduate studies in the field and going on to work as a hospital social worker before beginning a private psychotherapy practice working with teenagers. With such a hectic work schedule, Diane found her writing relegated to her spare time–until she began to get serious about being published. But when her publishing dream became reality, Diane had to make a difficult decision regarding balancing her social work and her writing life. Today Diane chats with us about how closing her private practice influenced her writing, and whether she has any regrets about doing so:
When I first started writing, I’d hoped to continue my private practice, but as the demands of my writing career grew, it quickly became clear I would have to pick one or the other. I loved them both, but my dream of being a writer went back to my childhood. Plus, I knew how hard I’d worked on my books and how fortunate I was to be published. I couldn’t give that up.
It was very hard to end my practice. I’d published three books by that time, but my identity had still very much been connected to being a clinical social worker. Plus, my practice had been primarily with adolescents and I would miss working with them so much. Many of my clients touched my life as much as I touched theirs. I still hear from a few of them and it’s wonderful to see them grow into a happy adulthood and know I had a small part in that.
Obviously, I believe in following your dreams, but I also believe in making enough money to keep a roof over your head and food on the table. In my case, my husband of twenty years was willing to carry the main financial burden as I built my writing career—or so I thought. The very week that I ended my practice, however, he told me he’d fallen in love with someone else, and just like that my “perfect marriage” was over and with it, my financial support. It was a panicky time in many ways. However, I signed a wonderful new contract and for the first time, I actually could support myself writing. That was sheer luck, though, and I don’t advise quitting your day job without a safety net. The bottom line for me is that I feel very blessed to have had two careers that have allowed me to touch people in a positive way.
Diane’s latest book is The Good Father, which I’ll be reviewing later today. Until then, here’s a snippet from the book and some more information about it to tide you over.
“I’m fine,” she said. “I picked up an OJ for Bella.”
I knew–and had known from day one–that it was Bella she was into and not me. That was fine. Perfect, actually. “Okay,” I said. “Thanks.”
I ordered my coffee and a muffin and a cup of water for Bella. When I went to pick up the water from the counter, I knocked the damn thing over with my not-so-fine tremor.
Blurb: A beloved daughter. A devastating choice. And now there’s no going back. Four years ago, nineteen-year-old Travis Brown made a choice: to raise his newborn daughter on his own. While most of his friends were out partying and meeting girls, Travis was at home, changing diapers and worrying about keeping food on the table. But he’s never regretted his decision. Bella is the light of his life. The reason behind every move he makes. And so far, she is fed. Cared for. Safe. But when Travis loses his construction job and his home, the security he’s worked so hard to create for Bella begins to crumble…. Then a miracle. A job in Raleigh has the power to turn their fortunes around. It has to. But when Travis arrives in Raleigh, there is no job, only an offer to participate in a onetime criminal act that promises quick money and no repercussions. With nowhere else to turn, Travis must make another choice for his daughter’s sake. Even if it means he might lose her.
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Diane will also be chatting about her new book The Good Father on the BookTrib website on the 31st of May. See below for more information!