Q & A with Holly Chamberlin: A WEDDING ON THE BEACH

1. So, did your wedding take place on the beach?

No, my wedding, both the ceremony and the reception, was held at the InterContinental in my hometown of New York City. It was partly a practical decision as my husband’s family was coming from out of town; this way they wouldn’t have to be dealing with NYC traffic while trying to get from church to reception venue. The de­cision was also partly a nod to my parents’ wedding reception that took place at a gorgeous hotel on the West Side of Manhattan in 1961. I wore my mother’s dress, slightly altered to accommodate our different waistlines and the fact that the material in a few places hadn’t worn very well.

2. Have you ever attended a beachside wedding?

No! I think it would be really lovely. In fact, all of the wed­dings I’ve attended or been part of have taken place indoors. Hmm. Maybe I could crash a wedding on the beach one day, like onlookers crashed Bess’s ceremony.

3. Speaking of those onlookers, you have Marta comment that people’s fascination with weddings says something good about human nature.

Absolutely. Anytime I’ve seen a bride having her picture taken or emerging from a church hand in hand with her groom (or with her bride, as the case may be), I become a weepy mess. The fact that we keep trying to love and commit to each other is pretty amazing, especially when we witness so much strife on a daily basis. I have a few friends who haven’t tied the knot with their longtime loves, and if they ever decide to marry, I think I might pass out with happiness.

4. Do you have a favorite character, or put another way, is there a particular character with whom you closely identify?

It’s odd, but in this story I pretty much like every one of the main characters equally. And I realized at one point that the unlik­able things about each of them—and we’re all unlikable at some moments—are often drawn from what I perceive to be my own flaws and failures. I’m not sure how that happened, but it did. I won’t tell you what bits of me are to be found in Bess, Allison, and Marta, though! I will say that Chuck is the character who speaks most about certain issues that have been on my mind a lot in the past year, so in a way I feel closest to him. 

5. What’s your next book going to be about?

Well, all I can say at this point—and not because I’m being coy, because I’ve barely begun to think the story through!—is that it will feature two sisters in their sixties. They’ve been estranged for a number of years due to a number of circumstances, but something happens to force them to face each other and to lay to rest—if they can!—their demons. It should be exciting to write for a number of reasons, one of which is that with very few exceptions, I haven’t focused on characters this age. It won’t be too many years before I celebrate my sixtieth birthday so it’s about time I write about my peeps!