Penn Grad, Laura Nicole Diamond goes on tour with her debut novel, Shelter Us and we want to hear all the details!
Tell us about your ties to Pennsylvania. “Even though I grew up in California, I always wanted to experience the East Coast. I loved my four years at Penn (class of ’91), especially being part of the theater community with Quadramics, Penn Players and Art House Dance. Five years after graduation, I ran into Christopher Heisen (also Class of ’91, and a Mask & Wig member) at an alumni event in Los Angeles. We started dating…and this year we will celebrate our 17th wedding anniversary. Christopher’s family had deep ties to Pennsylvania, and his mother, father, and grandfather all attended Penn. He grew up in Yardley, and most of his family lives nearby in Philadelphia, Bucks County, Main Line, and New Jersey, so we spend many wonderful visits here. Some of my favorite things to do are walking along the Canal in Washington Crossing, attending the Franklin Institute, ice skating at Penn’s Landing on New Year’s Eve, and eating at Reading Terminal Market.” Was there any ONE defining moment where you just knew you were going to be a writer? If so, tell us about it. “It snuck up on me. I kept a journal on and off for many years, and I knew that I loved writing to express myself, or record memories. When I decided to stop practicing law and be home full-time with my then-2 ½-year old son, I realized that I would have more time to write. That was when I began writing more about daily life, which developed into stories like the ones I published in Deliver Me: True Confessions of Motherhood. One day I started making things up, about a young mother with two little boys, and I followed that thread into a fictional world that became my novel, Shelter Us.” What are some of your stops on the book tour? “I will be at Barnes & Noble Rittenhouse Square on July 16, 2015 at 7pm. In New Jersey I will be at Words Bookstore in Maplewood on July 7th, 7pm, and Watchung Booksellers in Montclair on July 12, at 7pm. More dates are on my website, and I’m adding places all the time.” lauranicolediamond.com How long has this novel been brewing in your head? “I began the first draft in 2008, which I declared to be “the year of the novel!” It took a lot longer than that, but I did complete the first draft in a little over a year.” If you weren’t a writer or a lawyer, what dream job would you hold? “That’s easy. I’d be a star in Broadway musicals. If only I could sing.” When you’re not writing- what are you doing? (for fun and just life in general) “What am I doing most of the time? Being a mom to two boys, and since January an 18-year-old foster daughter – which means making dinner, going to the market, helping with homework, cheering on basketball games and martial arts classes, doing dishes and laundry. Repeat. My two favorite appointments every week: Torah study, with my brilliant, progressive rabbi (educated at Philadelphia’s own Reconstructionist Rabbinic College), and Hip-hop cardio funk dance class. Together they cover mind, spirit and body.” Here’s a bit about Shelter Us: “Lawyer-turned-stay-at-home mom Sarah Shaw is struggling to keep it together for her two young sons and law professor husband. Since the death of their infant daughter, her husband has been buried in his career, her friendships have withered, and Sarah remains lost in a private world of grief. Then one day walking in L.A., Sarah’s heart catches at the sight of a young homeless woman pushing a baby in a stroller―and saving them becomes her obsessive mission. An unlikely bond grows between Sarah and the young mother, Josie. When tragedy threatens Josie, Sarah discovers that she is capable of deceptions and transgressions she never imagined. Her lies unleash a downward spiral that will threaten her marriage, family and her sanity. Shelter Us speaks to the quiet joys and anxieties of parenthood and illuminates a place all parents know: that shadowy space between unconditional love and fear of unbearable loss.” “Got home around 10 pm tonight and maybe a half hour later I picked up Laura Diamond ‘s Shelter Us to continue reading. I was on page 135. Next thing I know, I’m crying and it’s midnight and I’m 100 pages further into the book and have to literally force myself to put the book down or else I’ll be up for another hour finishing it. I’d like to savor this book a little longer plus I’m sure I’ll be woken up (hopefully only once tonight) by my 4 year old so I need to go to sleep ….a wonderfully emotional night for me it seems! Anyone looking for an amazing read, go get Shelter Us!” -Hope Horwitz Get the book now on Amazon. Know someone local, or know a local business who should be featured on Perks Philly? Let us know! Contact us on Facebook, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.