The Midwife’s Confession
by Diane Chamberlain
Pomegranate Books, May 6th
One of my favorite topics in novels and memoirs alike is the concept of fear. How does one confront that which terrifies her to the core and gather strength to overcome it? It’s a theme I’m addicted to because it’s so relatable, no matter the phobia. There is not an individual on this planet that is not afraid of something. For me: needles. I could watch a Great White Shark from within a metal cage undersea, hold a python and even stare downward from atop the Empire State Building, but do not attempt to give me an I.V. It’s something I don’t want to imagine.
Emotional reactions to phobias and the physiological trip we take to face them reminds me of renown North Carolinian author Diane Chamberlain. Known best as a writer that selects themes that resonate with us, such as how one manages to cope with overcoming fright, Chamberlain decided to speak with encore book worms first about her upcoming novel, “The Midwife’s Confession.”
“My stories are often filled with mystery and suspense,” she says. “I don’t think of a book as a mystery or suspense. I always think of my writing as a relationship story. I hope they also tug at the emotions.”
An insatiable reader as a child, Chamberlain grew up in Plainfield, New Jersey, spent her summers at the Jersey Shore (two settings that frequent her novels) and for a brisk period of time, she wrote for popular daytime TV shows, like “One Life to Live”
“Relationships,” Chamberlain continued, “between men and women, parents and children, sisters and brothers—these are always my primary focus. I can’t think of anything more fascinating than the way people struggle with life’s trials and tribulations. Both together and alone.”
Within “The Midwife‘s Confession” college friends, Tara and Emerson, thought they knew everything there was about their dear friend Noelle. Yet, her sudden suicide and an unfinished letter strikes at the very heart of their world. Noelle‘s calling as a midwife, her passion for causes, her love for her friends and family proved her to be a woman they thought embraced life. Now Tara and Emerson begin questioning everything they thought they once knew. Noelle’s unfinished letter is the only clue they have to uncover the truth about someone who once touched their lives.
Centered around love, treachery, empathy and told with thoughtfulness and insight, “The Midwife’s Confession” promises to keep readers page-turning with fury. Its premise begs the question: How much is too much to forgive? Like many talented novelists—ahem, Stephen King—Chamberlain’s vision for the tale was born from a single dream.
“This rarely happens to me,” she recalls with a chuckle. “I was taking a nap and dreamt of a group of friends living together at UNCW. I started playing with it when I woke and thought, Should we tell our friends this terrible thing that we know that will alter our life forever?”
In similar occurrences, during the mid-nineties, when Chamberlain was 45 years old, she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, a painful and all-too-often debilitating chronic illness. However, it didn’t scare, stunt or stop her creative mind from flowing. With the use of voice recognition software, Chamberlain has continued writing, churning out reads like “Summer’s Child” and an appropriately titled piece of work, “The Courage Tree.”
“My disease progressed really quickly,” she says. “I was in a lot of pain a lot of the time. Then I joined a mindfulness group where you practice meditation. I realized, no matter what happened, my body is just a shell. What really mattered was who I was inside this shell. This doesn’t mean I don’t get angry about it; it just shifted my perspective. It’s so individualized, but the important thing is to find the things you can do.”
Today, because Chamberlain’s passion rests with fiction writing, she readily admits North Carolina (where she lives with her other half, photographer John Pagliuca), is the state that inspires her work. Importantly, our own Port City is the muse for Chamberlain’s, “The Midwife’s Confession” due out April 26.
Readers who are gearing up to travel within her world for the first time, Chamberlain simply requests: Hang on to your seats! Oh, and mark your calendars well in advance. She’ll be at Pomegranate Books May 6 at 7:30 p.m.
“Keeper of the Light,” a story which debuted in ’91, is currently in its third printing and available now for fans everywhere.