Back in March I posted a book review of “The Secrets We Keep” by Trisha Leaver. The book is incredible to say the least. You can see the review HERE! After posting that review, I had the opportunity to talk with the author. Trisha Leaver is an incredibly talented woman who calls Cape Cod home. She has a family, a dog, and a love of daydreaming… and apparently turning her thoughts into incredible works of art. I spoke with her about her writing career, her newest book “The Secrets We Keep” (out April 28th), and what we can expect from her next.
KRISTIN: Let us start simple! What made you want to write? Did you always want to be an author or did it just strike you one day?
TL: For as long as I can remember, I have been making up stories in my head, creating alternate endings to books I’ve read or movies I’ve watched. I still do that. CONSTANTLY! As for when I actively made the decision to become a writer, well technically, I owe that one to my seventh grade English teacher, Sister Yvonne. She was constantly redirecting me, pulling me out of my daydreams and back to whatever grammar lesson she was teaching that day. (Hmm… it was probably about cumulative commas which may explain why I still, to this day, have a problem with them LOL) Anyhow, she got tired of me constantly zoning out and called me out in the middle of class, told me I had two options: I could take a detention for not paying attention or I could write down “whatever had my brain so occupied.” I took door number two and have been sketching out stories ever since.
KRISTIN: I always find it fascinating where a story idea comes from. Where did the idea for your upcoming book ‘The Secrets We Keep’ come from?
TL: A dream. I had just come from a visit with my sister, and we were talking about the silly, competitive things we did as kids and the misconceptions we had as to who was the smartest, who was the prettiest, who was the most favored, etc… That night I essentially dreamed the first three chapters of THE SECRETS WE KEEP—the accident, the party, the rain…were all part of my nightmare. I woke up the next morning and stared writing. About eight weeks later, THE SECRETS WE KEEP was born.
KRISTIN: I can honestly say I do not think I’ve read a book even remotely similar to this story line. With so many stories out there, do you ever find yourself worried about what you are writing and if someone will think it’s too similar to another story?
TL: I don’t, actually. I write the story I feel in my heart and hope that it is unique enough to withstand the market. That and I have some pretty amazing and well-read Critique Partners who I hope would warn me if my book took an all too familiar path.
KRISTIN: Ella and Maddy Lawton could not be more different and yet they are identical twins. How did you go about developing these characters and deciding how different they would be and how much they really are alike in many ways without the characters themselves even realizing?
TL: I have a sister, an Irish twin as my mother used to call us. We were insanely different and oddly alike if that makes sense. I wouldn’t say we were the basis for Ella and Maddy, but the there is a hint of us in each of them. I was always quiet as a teen, more apt to curl into the corner of my bed with a book then I was to hang out with friends. My sister had a knack for drawing people to her. She was kind, and smart, and always knew what to say in any situation. She was my best friend—the one I never understood but always wanted to be like.
KRISTIN: I hear a lot of authors say their characters are based on people they have known or do know. Your supporting characters in this story were just as important to the overall plot as the main characters. When writing these characters, did you develop them from scratch or use people in your own life as reference?
TL: Ah . . . I am thinking you mean Josh. He was developed completely from scratch. I wish I had someone like him in my life when I was a teen—a friend who loved you completely, adored all your quirks, and shared the same passions.
KRISTIN: I love the book. But from your perspective, what do you think will make others love this book?
TL: Gosh, I hope they will fall in love with Josh the way I did. I hope they find a piece of themselves in at least one of the characters, someone they can relate to and cheer for. The relationship between siblings can be so complicated, and in the end, I mostly hope my readers understand the relationship between Ella and Maddy for the loving mess it truly is.
KRISTIN: This book portrayed well the devastating feeling and different array of emotions that people go through when losing someone close to them. Whether it was family, friends, or someone who shares the exact same DNA with that person, there were many different reactions to that loss. How did you go about pinpointing how each would react in that situation?
TL: I am a firm believer in writing what you know, emotionally-wise. Each one of us, at some point, has experienced pain, loss, fear, love, guilt, etc… I lost one of my dearest friends when I was young. I lost an old boyfriend in college. The memory of those loses are still vivid, the emotions still there. For me, it was a matter of tapping into those emotions and pulling them forward as I wrote.
KRISTIN: ‘The Secrets We Keep’ comes out in April. Are you working on your next piece of art yet?
TL: I am working on another YA Contemporary as we speak. It is tentatively titled NEVER LOST. I would tell you more about it, but I am one of those super superstitious writers who think breathing a word of a WIP will somehow curse it. LOL. I do have a co-authored, YA Historical Fiction, SWEET MADNESS, releasing in September. It is a retelling of the infamous Borden murders told from the point of view of Lizzie Borden’s maid, Bridget Sullivan.
KRISTIN: Where can fans keep up with your work online? Social media? Website?
TL: Twitter: https://twitter.com/tleaver , Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorTrishaLeaver, Instagram: https://instagram.com/trishaleaver/ , Website: www.trishaleaver.com , Blog: www.trishaleaver.blogspot.com , Tumblr: http://trishaleaver.tumblr.com/
KRISTIN: Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions! I’m very much looking forward to the rest of the world reading this book and enjoying it as much as me! It was fantastic!
Make sure to pick up “The Secrets We Keep” on April 28th when it releases, or you can even pre-order by swinging over to Amazon!