How to Keep a Secret by Sarah Morgan is a must-read summer book pick available now wherever books are sold. Check out Momtrends interview with the USA Today Bestselling Author.
1. What inspired you to write How to Keep a Secret?
I read a news story about someone who had kept a secret from her sister for twenty years, even though they were close. I was fascinated by the idea that you might think you know everything there is to know about someone, only to discover that they’ve been hiding something significant from you.
A story idea often develops from the ‘what if’ question, and with How To Keep A Secret. I started to think about the impact secrets can have on a relationship. What happens when the secret is finally revealed? What changes?
I love writing about relationships, so the theme of secrets, and what we do and don’t tell those we love, formed the core of this story. People keep secrets for different reasons. In this story the characters are mostly doing it because they believe they’re protecting someone, but that raises interesting questions too. Is it the right thing to do? Is honesty better? And are you really protecting them, or yourself? These are some of the questions I wanted to explore.
2. Lauren and Jenna are two sisters going through different stages in their lives. How does this affect their sisterhood?
The two sisters have always been close, but like all relationships theirs has changed over the years. When the book opens they are dealing with physical distance because Lauren is living in London and Jenna is in the US, so their only communication is by phone. That makes it easier to hide things! It’s so much easier to say ‘I’m fine’, when you’re not face to face with someone.
3. When Lauren, Mack, Jenna, and Nancy are thrown together for the summer, how do they react to the situation?
To begin with they’re not happy! It’s much harder to keep a secret if you’re forced into close proximity with the people you’re trying to keep the secret from. In Nancy’s case, she knows she now has no choice but to reveal the truth about her life.
Lauren doesn’t relish the idea of moving back home with her mother. Not only because she is dealing with significant change in her life and it feels like a backwards step, but also because she and her mother were never close. It’s never been an easy relationship. She’s also coping with her teenage daughter Mack, who is struggling with problems of her own. So there are plenty of tensions right from the start and the pressure on Lauren is huge.
4. How does Nancy deal with the past in terms of mothering her girls?
When the girls were growing up, Nancy was emotionally distant and that hasn’t changed over the years. But when Lauren moves home, the dynamic shifts. Nancy has no choice but to reveal the truth about her life, and inevitably that changes the relationship. She starts to treat them as adults, rather than children who should be protected. There is a new level of understanding. They grow closer. By being honest, she is finally able to build bridges and her girls begin to understand why she behaved the way she did. By opening up, their relationship changes and deepens. There is a whole new level of trust and support.
5. As women, what life lessons are we able to learn from the novel?
That’s an interesting question because when I write a novel I don’t set out to deliver a message, but if there is one to be taken from this book it’s probably to consider the impact of keeping secrets from the people you love. I think that’s an interesting discussion point – what is the difference between privacy and secrecy?
The story also deals with handling change. I think many of us fight change, particularly when it wasn’t of our own choosing. We think we have more control than we actually have and when life comes along and deals you a set of cards you weren’t expecting, it can be hard to cope with. Adapting to change, making it work the best it can for you – that’s what the characters in this book ultimately do, but they do it within the supportive circle of family. Reaching out has its rewards!
We hope you've enjoyed this sneak peek into Sarah Morgan's new release. Looking for some more summer reads? Check out our go-to summer reading list here.
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