Diane Chamberlain is an award- winning author. Prior to her writing career, she was a psychotherapist, working primarily with adolescents. Diane’s background in psychology has given her a keen interest in understanding the way people tick, as well as the background necessary to create real, living, breathing characters.
Several years ago, Diane was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, which has changed the way she works: she occasionally types using voice recognition software. She feels fortunate that her arthritis is not more severe and that she is able to enjoy everyday activities as well as keep up with a busy schedule.
When not writing, Diane enjoys fixing up her house, playing with her three-legged Bernese mountain dog and getting together with her friends and grown-up stepdaughters. Find out more about Diane and her books at www.mirabooks.co.uk/dianechamberlain
THE LOST DAUGHTER
The Bay at Midnight
In memory of my grandparents,
Thomas and Susan Chamberlain,
For giving us so many memorable summers
down the shore.
Do you miss some special place from your childhood and wish you could return there for a while? When I was a child, my family had a summer bungalow on the Intracoastal Waterway, also known as the Point Pleasant Canal, in New Jersey. I miss those childhood summers in Bay Head Shores, so I decided to revisit the area by setting a story there—although the setting is the only autobiographical aspect of
Many people helped me add a dose of reality to this fictional world. I drew upon the memories of my siblings, Tom Lopresti, Joann Scanlon and Robert Lopresti, as well as those of my childhood fishing-and-hayride buddy, former Bay Head Shores resident Rick Neese. Lieutenant Robert J Dikun of the Point Pleasant Beach Police Department was an invaluable source of information as I explored the aftermath of Isabel’s murder. Rodney Cash gave me insight into the 1962 world of the Lewises, the African-American family who fished on the opposite side of the canal—and a world away—from the Bauer family. My ex-college roommate and Westfield native, Jody Pfeiffer, helped me with the details of her home town. Ahrre Moros gave me information about the Coffee with Conscience concerts. I am also grateful to fellow writers Emilie Richards and Patricia McLinn, my online friends at ASA, and John Pagliuca for their various contributions and emotional support. Special thanks go to the staff at Happy Tails who provided hours of quality care for my energetic pup, Keeper, as I raced toward deadline!
Thanks to everyone at MIRA Books, where I am always encouraged to write whatever is in my heart. I am grateful to Amy Moore-Benson, the editor with whom I started
A special thank-you to my former agent, Virginia Barber, along with my best wishes for a glorious and fulfilling retirement!
All children make mistakes. Most of those errors in judgment are easily forgotten, but some of them are too enormous, too devastating to ever fully disappear from memory. The mistake I made when I was twelve still haunted me at fifty-three. Most of the time, I didn’t think about it, but there were days when something happened that brought it all back to me in a rush, that filled me with the guilt of a twelve-year-old who had known better and that made me wish I could return to the summer of 1962 and live it over again. The Monday Abby Chapman Worley showed up at my front door was one of those days.
I was having a productive day as I worked on
The house was blissfully quiet. My daughter Shannon, who’d graduated from Westfield High School the Saturday before, was giving cello lessons in a music store downtown. The June air outside my sunroom window was clear and still, and because my house was set on a curve in the road, I had an expansive view of my New Jersey neighborhood with its vibrant green lawns and manicured gardens. I would type a sentence or two, then stare out the window, enjoying the scenery as I thought about what might happen next in my story.
I’d finished Chapter Three and was just beginning Chapter Four when my doorbell rang. I leaned back in my chair, trying to decide whether to answer it or not. It was probably a friend of Shannon’s, but what if it was a courier, delivering a contract or something else that might require my signature?
I peered out the front window. No trucks in sight. A white Volkswagen Beetle—a convertible with its top down—was parked in front of my house, however, and since my concentration was already broken, I decided I might as well see who it was.
I walked through the living room and opened the door and my heart sank a little. The slender young woman standing on the other side of my screen door looked too old to be a friend of Shannon’s, and I worried that she might be one of my fans. Although I tried to protect my identity as much as possible, some of my most determined readers had found me over the years. I adored them and was grateful for their loyalty to my books, but I also treasured my privacy, especially when I was deep into my work.
“Yes?” I smiled.
The woman’s sunny-blond hair was cut short, barely brushing the tops of her ears and she was wearing very dark sunglasses that made it difficult to see her eyes. There was a pretty sophistication about her. Her shorts were clean and creased, her mauve T-shirt tucked in with a belt. A small navy-blue pocketbook was slung over one shoulder.
“Mrs. Bauer?” she asked, confirming my suspicion. Julianne Bauer, my maiden name, was also my pseudonym. Friends and neighbors knew me as Julie Sellers.
“Yes?” I said.
“I’m sorry to just show up like this.” She slipped her hands into her pockets. “My name is Abby Worley. You and my father—Ethan Chapman—were friends when you were kids.”
My hand flew to my mouth. I hadn’t heard Ethan’s name since the summer of 1962—forty-one years earlier— yet it took me less than a second to place him. In my memory, I was transported back to Bay Head Shores, where my family’s bungalow stood next to the Chapmans’ and where the life-altering events of that summer erased all the good summers that had preceded it.
“You remember him?” Abby Worley asked.