John and I just got home from our weekend on Topsail Island. I'll add more pictures soon, but for now I wanted to share a bit about the party. To recap, at the beginning of the year I asked all of you how I could celebrate my 20 years as an author with my readers. Frequent commenter, Glen Pierce, who has since become a friend, immediately responded, "we're havin' a party!" He went on to suggest the amazing contest which just ended. Saturday was the party, and Glen, who owns Topics Internet Cafe, and his friend, realtor Sterling Bryson, threw a fabulous bash for me at the welcome center in Surf City , the Topsail Island setting of my last book, Before the Storm and my May 26th release, Secrets She Left Behind. Several businesses helped sponsor the party and Islanders turned out to munch and sip and laugh and chat. I loved getting to meet so many new-to-me folks and rekindle old friendships. The warmest people live on Topsail Island, and I hope none of their lives are ever as complicated and challenging as those of my characters!
The highlight for me came when Jean Beasley, director of the Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center, presented me with a certificate from the mayor of Surf City, proclaiming May 16th "Diane Chamberlain Day." Can you imagine? I was so moved, and that proclamation will have a special place on my office wall. That's Jean with me in the top picture, and Sterling and Glen with me below. I'm so grateful to all of them, to the sponsors, to Mayor Zander Guy, and to Topsail Island for embracing me in such a meaningful way. I wish I could set every one of my books on my favorite North Carolina island!