(Diane Coplin Hammond)
PERSONAL: Born in NY; married; husband's name Nolan; children: Kerry.
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Doubleday, 1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019.
CAREER: Writer and editor. Has served as spokesperson for the Oregon Coast Aquarium and the Free Willy Keiko Foundation.
AWARDS, HONORS: Oregon Arts Commission, literary fellowship.
Keiko's Story: The Real-Life Tale of the World's Most Famous Killer Whale (juvenile biography), Peduncle Press (Waldport, OR), 1998.
Going to Bend (novel), Doubleday (New York, NY), 2004.
Homesick Creek (novel), Doubleday (New York, NY), 2005.
Has published work in Yankee, Mademoiselle, and Washington Review.
ADAPTATIONS: Going to Bend was adapted for audio cassette, read by Hillary Huber, Blackstone Audiobooks, 2004.
SIDELIGHTS: Novelist Diane Hammond has written two novels steeped in what she called the "insular culture of coastal Oregon" in an interview for Book Browse. A native New Yorker, Hammond adjusted to a dramatically different lifestyle when she moved to Oregon, which included isolation and weather that dominated everything. Her first novel, Going to Bend, tells the story of two women in their early thirties who have grown up together in the small fishing village of Hubbard, Oregon. Petie Coolbaugh is a gruff, cynical woman who is trying to survive economic and emotional hard times. Her husband, with whom she has two young children, is often unemployed and their relationship is troubled. Her friend Rose Bundy is a single mother who has a sunnier outlook on life, but faces an equal dose of hardship. When a brother and sister from California move to town and open a café, Petie temporarily finds work making soup and Rose becomes involved in producing a cookbook with the café owners.
Reviewers commended the author for her skilled handling of the story. Booklist reviewer Bill Ott explained that while he feared the book would be "a working-class weeper," Hammond has created "something considerably more subtle." Kate Ayers commented in a Bookreporter.com review that "the glimpse into the lives of Rose Bundy and Petie Coolbaugh is so authentic … I could smell the soup." Hammond's writing was appraised by a reviewer in Publishers Weekly as "clean, sharp prose, idiosyncratic dialogue and deep insight into relationships" Similarly, Library Journal contributor Rebecca Sturm Kelm praised the novel's "earthy dialog, precise narrative," and "well-placed humor." Writing for Pop Matters online, Teri A. McIntyre welcomed the work as ranking among "similar tales that seek to honestly portray the lives of mature, life-addled women."
Homesick Creek is also set in Hubbard, but shares only one minor character with its predecessor. The story again revolves around two female friends and contrasts the problems they find in marriage. Bunny is a waitress married to car salesman Hack. They are financially comfortable, but Bunny is concerned that her charming mate is having an affair with a new co-worker. Her friend Anita has more faith in husband Bob, despite his problems keeping a job and his dependence on alcohol. When Bob begins having unexplained absences, Anita suspects that his drinking is getting worse, yet fails to see a new crisis in the making.
Critics echoed the kind of commentary Hammond received for her first novel. In a Bookreporter.com review, Kate Ayers wrote that, "ultimately it weighs in as a story of genuine friendship, love gone wrong, and families in crises." A Kirkus Reviews writer commented that "Hammond is deft at balancing the subtle tensions that make for complex characters," and a Publishers Weekly critic cited the book's "spare language and good humor that easily encompasses rich commentary on marital physics."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, November 15, 2003, Bill Ott, review of Going to Bend, p. 574.
Kirkus Reviews, November 15, 2003, review of Going to Bend, p. 1329; May 1, 2005, review of Homesick Creek, p. 496.
Library Journal, December, 2003, Rebecca Sturm Kelm, review of Going to Bend, p. 166.
Publishers Weekly, December 1, 2003, review of Going to Bend, p. 42; May 2, 2005, review of Homesick Creek, p. 173.
Book Browse, http://www.bookbrowse.com/ (September 29, 2005), "A Conversation with Diane Hammond."
Bookreporter.comhttp://www.bookreporter.com/ (September 29, 2005), Kate Ayers, review of Going to Bend; (September 25, 2005) Kate Ayers, review of Homesick Creek.
Curled Up with a Good Book, http://www.curledup.com/ (October 8, 2005), Amanda Cuda, review of Going to Bend.
Pop Matters, http://www.popmatters.com/ (August 25, 2004) Teri A McIntyre, review of Going to Bend.
Romantic Times Online, http://www.romantictimes.com/ (September 29, 2005), Sheri Melnick, review of Homesick Creek.