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N. N. Light's Book Heaven presents Diane Bay #authorspotlight #memoir #nonfiction #adoption #mustread

I’ve been creating art since childhood. One formative event happened when I was 14. My parents took us on vacation to door county Wisconsin and in the cottage next to ours was an art studio. An older couple was selling their excellent watercolor paintings on the lawn out front. I showed an interest in their work and they gave me a tour of their studio, rewarding my interest with a few art supplies. The next morning I made me first plein air watercolor painting of birch trees near the cottage. Since then I have never stopped making art.


I also began writing poetry in high school and took several writing classes in college along with my art classes. My memoir is by far the biggest creative challenge of my life, and I am very glad I stuck with it so I can share my story.


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Title: Finding Karen Black: Roots Become Wings

Author: Diane Bay

Genre: Memoir

Publisher: Roots to Wings Press, LLC


Book Blurb:


Diane Bay’s memoir is about her remarkable, year-long reunion with her famous birth mother, Karen Black.


Adopted children often struggle with identity, and Diane was no exception. She needed to know her own history, but her records were sealed along with all other closed adoption cases until the end of the twentieth century. When Illinois opened its adoption files in 2011, Diane sent for her long-awaited birth certificate. She discovered that her birth mother was the Hollywood actress, Karen Black, whose unconventional beauty had captured the zeitgeist of the 60’s and 70’s cinema. Karen had starred in some of the decades’ most prominent films including Easy Rider, The Great Gatsby and Airport 75, to name a few.


Diane messaged Karen on Facebook, and Karen responded with acceptance and love. Their reunion was joyful but bittersweet: Karen was battling cancer. They had exactly one year to deepen the mother-daughter bond which they both had felt despite their separation.


The unfolding of this story proves the fact that when two souls need each other, they will find each other; no matter the time, distance, or circumstance. It is a testament to the power of the mother-child bond, the importance of our biological roots, and the belief that love lasts forever.




My heart jumped.


“There’s a message from Karen!” I reached for Rich’s hand.


He put down his cup, and sheltering my hand in both of his, he prayed. “Heavenly Father, please help Diane deal with whatever she finds here.”


I held his hand tight and clicked.


The private message box opened, and I read the best reply I could have imagined to my question, Are you my mother?


I am. Been a long time. I hated leaving you behind, turbulent waves of sorrow. Thank you for making this possible Diane. (Her phone number and email address here.) Your father is still a good friend, a genius, a professor, a television producer. You will love him. We will all love each other. I’m kinda stunned.


I was stunned myself, swathed in a brand-new kind of peace, vaguely aware of my husband crying beside me, still squeezing my hand. The entire world spun silent and suspended as I turned to Rich in slow motion and smiled.


Tears wet his cheeks, and relief shone from his eyes. “Oh, Di, I was so worried you’d get your heart broken.” He wiped tears from my face, and then from his own as we laughed together.


I wrote a simple reply to Karen, thanking her and giving my phone and email. I was almost mute with amazement. Happy was not a good description, even joy, while closer, wasn’t expansive enough. I was a ghost who’d come alive; a black and white sketch bursting with colorful paint; Dorothy stepping into Oz.


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Author Biography:


Diane Bay is an artist and writer living in Benton, Kentucky. She grew up as an adoptee in the Chicago area. Although she didn’t know her birth families, she always had a strong creative drive, drawing and painting from an early age. Diane’s style is representational impressionism. She hopes to convey the uplifting feeling that natural beauty brings to her heart.


In 2012, Illinois State opened their long-sealed adoption records and Diane sent for her original birth certificate. This began a new chapter in her life as she reunited with her birth families. She was surprised to find out her birth mother was the ’70s Hollywood icon Karen Black, who starred in such films as Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces and The Great Gatsby. Diane’s birth father is the Emmy award-winning producer, director, and author Robert Benedetti.


Because their reunion was unique in many ways, Diane has completed a book-length memoir. Finding Karen Black launches on Amazon on August 8 this year. It was the encouragement she received from her birth mom that gave Diane the confidence to plunge into writing. She and Rich still live near Kentucky Lake. She divides her time between painting, writing, and watching their granddaughter, Piper.


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1 Comment

N. N. Light
N. N. Light
May 21

Thank you, Diane, for sharing your writing journey and book with our readers!

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