Cape Readers Hear Words, Wit, Wisdom From Best-Selling Authors

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Green, Diamant, Searles, LeClaire Headline Harwich Event

Nearly 500 Cape readers hit the Wychmere Beach Club in Harwich Thursday to listen to some “Words, Wit and Wisdom” from best-selling authors Jane Green, Anita Diamant, John Searles and Anne LeClaire at the 12th annual book benefit for WE CAN.

“You can hear the buzz and the energy as soon as you walk into the room and you know it’s going to be a great day,” said Green, the best-selling writer of 18 books including “The Beach House,” ‘Jemima J,’ “Tempting Fate” and her new one, “Summer Secrets.”

LeClaire, a Harwich writer and the author of’s “A Cape Eye On Books,” said the event is “the best of everything.”

“It’s the best cause, the best authors, the best event,” she said. “It’s all about giving back.”

The annual book bash, which sells out in minutes, brings best-selling authors to the Cape each year to talk about their work, their experiences, their writing method – and to tell funny stories.

How Did Imelda Marcos Get All Those Shoes?

Green, a Nantucket summer resident, said whenever she is stuck for inspiration, she looks to her husband’s family, who, she said, are “totally bonkers.”

She recalled how her mother-in-law and father-in-law, who was writing a book on despots, lived as the “honored guests” of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos of the Philippines for eight years. Her mother-in-law, Green said, was friends with the largest shoe manufacturer in the Philippines and, knowing that she was friends with Imelda, he approached her about sending the first lady some shoes.

“She put him in touch and when she saw him at a cocktail party a few weeks later she asked him, ‘How many pairs of shoes did you send to Imelda?’” Green recalled. “He said ‘1200.’ So my mother-in-law is single-handedly responsible for Imelda’s shoe collection!”

Searles recalled growing up the son of a stay-at-home-mom and a long-haul trucker. As an 11-year-old, his parents decided to send him out on the road with his dad, “to make a man out of me.”

So What Exactly Is A Lot Lizard?

“It didn’t work,” joked Searles, who is openly gay. But he did learn about “lot lizards,” the prostitutes who hang out in truck stops, and racy writer Sidney Sheldon.

“I was in the truck reading ‘The Other Side of Midnight’ at age 11,” he said. “Which is not the intended audience!”

A former book critic for NBC’s “Today” show, Searles also recounted the time when he was doing his bit on Rockefeller Plaza and a fan begged him to sign a copy of “Great Expectations.”

“I said, ‘Do you want me to sign it as John Searles or Charles Dickens?’” he laughed. “And the man said ‘It doesn’t matter!’ So I signed it, ‘Best of luck, Chuck.’”

Whatever Did Women Do Back In The Day?

Diamant, whose first book, “The Red Tent,” became an international best seller and a miniseries for the Lifetime channel, discussed her latest novel, “The Boston Girl,” the story of a Jewish girl growing up in Boston in the early 20th century.

She said she was inspired to write about women and their friendships with other women by the novelist Virginia Woolf, who in “A Room Of One’s Own,” observed that there was virtually nothing written about women’s lives pre-1800s.

“I set out to unearth the facts and stories of women’s lives in response to Virginia Woolf’s challenge,” she said. “Her book changed my life.”

The crowd also heard from three clients of WE CAN, who related how the women’s empowerment organization helped them change their lives, and from the organization’s Woman Of The Year, Susan McGee Bailey who served as executive director of the Wellesley Centers For Women.

Melissa, who came to WE CAN several years ago hoping to buy a home for her and her five children, said the organization taught her the “patience and perseverance” to make her dream a reality.

“Because of WE CAN,” she said, “I can.”

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