Those Secrets We Keep
Audio Interview With the Author
Audio Length: 15 minutes
Bestselling author Emily Liebert’s wildly popular book, Facebook Fairytales,sparked intense conversation in 2010 about the positive power of Facebook. The book told a series of true stories about people connecting on the Internet. Since then, she’s captivated the hearts and minds of critics and readers alike with her novels about the real-life concerns of women and all of their complexities. Her debut novel, You Knew Me When (2013), was featured in the Washington Post, InStyle, and Working Mother and her second novel, When We Fall (2014), was a People Editor’s Pick and was called “poignant, honest, and incredibly charming” (Booklist).
Liebert returns in June 2015 with THOSE SECRETS WE KEEP (New American Library, a division of Penguin Random House) , a thought-provoking read about three women whose lives are forever changed one summer when their deepest insecurities—and secrets—are revealed.
On the surface, Sloane has the perfect life—an adoring husband, a precocious daughter, and enough financial security to be a stay-at-home mom. But after losing her sister Amy to cancer, Sloane spirals into a depression and can’t help but feel as though something—or someone—is missing. Desperate for some time away, she arranges a girls-only vacation in Lake George with her dear friend Hillary. The perfect antidote to Sloane’s midlife crisis, Hillary has a good head on her shoulders. She has a successful career and a solid marriage. The only thing missing is a baby. She and her husband have been unable to conceive for years—and there is a very specific reason why.
All plans for a low-key getaway are sidelined when Sloane’s best friend from college, the unpredictable, irresponsible, wild-child Georgina, gets wind of the trip and decides to tag along—uninvited. Known for stirring up trouble in the name of fun, she opens a door to the past that further complicates Sloane’s situation—and her own—shedding light on the real reason she was so eager to escape to Lake George. As the women’s lives become entangled, tensions mount, personalities clash, and dynamics shift. They quickly discover that no secret can be kept forever. THOSE SECRETS WE KEEP celebrates the healing power of female friendship with three nuanced, authentic, and relatable characters struggling to come to terms with their respective truths.
To celebrate the launch, Liebert will collaborate with game-changing IT Cosmetics on an exclusive set of bestselling, cult-favorite products that tie in with THOSE SECRETS WE KEEP.
You can pre-order Emily’s book here: http://www.penguin.com/book/those-secrets-we-keep-by-emily-liebert/9780451471871
EMILY DISCUSSES WHAT’S BEHIND THE BOOK
I’m a voyeur. Fine, there, I’ve said it. I could sit for hours and observe people, mainly women. What makes them tick? What’s beneath the polished façade? After all, everyone’s hiding something, right?
When I began musing about my third novel, I kept coming back to this thought. Then the thought turned into a nugget. What if I was to throw three ladies—each harboring a life-altering secret—in a house together for a summer getaway? The scandal! The outrage!
And that’s when the idea for Those Secrets We Keep was born.
After my first and second novels, You Knew Me When and When We Fall, both of which dealt with the lives of two protagonists, I knew I wanted to try my hand at writing about three women. But, I didn’t want them all to be friends going in. In order to create an undercurrent of drama, I felt it was important for one of them to be the central focus—that’s Sloane—and for her to have a friend from her past and a friend from her present who are coming together for the very first time.
I also knew that all three women needed to be very different, but—at the same time—be able to relate on some level. I wanted Sloane, as the central character, to be a bit more neutral, the girl next door if you will. Married with a child, but in a place where things in her life aren’t feeling right (enter tempting ex-love!). In turn, her old friend from college—Georgina—needed a big personality. I saw her as everything Sloane was not: impulsive, irresponsible, and unattached. In so many ways, you wonder why they ever became friends in the first place. On the flip side, you see how and why they complement each other; the purpose they fill in each other’s lives. To add to that dynamic, there’s Hillary, Sloane’s closest friend from her married life and she represents the type of person Sloane is drawn to as an adult. She’s kind, reliable, and a great sounding board. She’s also happily married with a successful career.
In the way of the setting, Lake George came to me at around 3 a.m. one morning (I find I do my best thinking at ungodly hours). My husband and I were engaged on a motorcycle trip through Lake George, so it holds special meaning to me. It’s also someplace that, while I’ve never actually stayed there for long, I’ve passed through many times and meandered through the town itself. It’s a historied summer vacation spot, which made it both possible and realistic that Sloane would have gone there growing up and also longed to return during a challenging time in her life.
Then, of course, came the secrets. The fun part! As far as Sloane, I wanted her secret to be something straightforward—something it would be easy for so many women to relate to: that feeling that while you should be content in your life, there’s something holding you back from achieving true happiness. I also wanted her secret to be less of a secret and more of an issue that the reader understood from the start and could watch play out throughout the book. When it came to Georgina, I knew her secret had to be major and multi-tiered. She’s the kind of person that, just when you think she’s shocked you, there’s another bomb about to detonate right around the corner. And, with Hillary, her strong moral compass is so central to her characterization, I felt her secret needed to be something that made readers rethink everything they thought they knew about her. To ask themselves how someone so fundamentally good in every way could make such a poor and hurtful decision.
At the center of these secrets is Sloane’s relationship with Georgina. While I’ve never experienced the precise kind of bond that they have, I do know what it’s like to have friends from your past that, as close as you were with them back then, don’t necessarily make sense in your life fifteen or twenty years later. I also know what it’s like to still feel affection for those people. There’s a shared past that can’t be erased.
The final piece of the puzzle is Sloane’s sister Amy, whom she lost to cancer a year earlier. One of my closest friends lost her father to a brain tumor a few years ago and, having lived through that with her, I knew that Sloane needed to have an impetus for questioning the trajectory of her life, as my friend did. Amy’s death fundamentally changed Sloane and she’s struggling to find her new self. The question is, can her friends help her?
There you have the story behind Those Secrets We Keep—or at least part of it. After all, everyone’s hiding something, right?