This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Those Secrets We Keep author Emily Liebert is here with us now talking about the real-life inspiration behind her characters and taking neighbourly advice from fellow author Jane Green.
It examines the lives of three women – Sloane, Hillary, and Georgina – and their life-altering secrets. 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. Still, she can’t help but feel as though something – or someone – is missing. Hillary has a successful career and a solid marriage. The only problem is her inability to conceive. And there’s a very specific reason why.
Georgina is the wild child daughter of old family money who’s never had to accept responsibility for anything. So when she realizes an unexpected life change could tie her down forever, she does exactly what she’s always done. Escape.
Sloane, Hillary, and Georgina unite for a three-week long summer vacation in Lake George, but even with the idyllic location as their backdrop, the tensions begin to mount. And they quickly discover that no secret can be kept forever…
Where do you find inspiration for your books?
From my own experiences and the experiences of my friends. Sometimes, I’ll overhear something at the table next to me in a restaurant and it will spark a train of thought. For me, nuggets like that tend to explode into full blown ideas!
Can you tell us a little about your average writing day?
When I’m in writing mode, I’m at my desk Monday through Friday, tapping out around 1,500 words per day, which takes roughly three hours, and amounts to half a chapter. I’m extremely disciplined. On occasion, I wish I could be the author who puts down 10,000 words of complete stream of thought, but it’s not my style. I used to be a magazine editor, so I heavily edit my own work.
When you are writing, do you use any famous people or people you know as inspiration?
Never famous people. Although it can be challenging, I try not to envision actors in the roles of my characters until the book is finished. I think that would be far too distracting and inauthentic – since I’d essentially be re-envisioning another writer’s character. I do, however, use people in my own life as inspiration. In my first novel, You Knew Me When, the Luella character is based on my maternal grandmother. In When We Fall, Allison is based on a very close friend. And in Those Secrets We Keep, Georgina is loosely based on someone in my family (I won’t tell!)
What is your favourite Women’s Fiction book of all time and why?
Summer Sisters by Judy Blume.To me, it’s the quintessential beach read. Yet, so much more. Her characters are people you know, even though they continue to surprise you. She has a way with weaving the plot that’s truly masterful. I’ve read it many, many times.
What female writer has inspired you?
Jane Green. I’d been a fan of Jane’s for many years before moving to the same town as her almost two years ago. Now that I’ve come to know her personally, I’m not only inspired by the depth of her talent as an author, but by the person she is. She’s a mother, wife, friend, and a phenomenal chef! I listen carefully to every piece of advice she’s willing to dole out.
Can you give us three book recommendations?
House of Wonder by Sarah Healy
The Patron Saint of Butterflies by Cecilia Galante
Am Absolute Gentleman by R.M. Kinder
I write a pretty detailed outline first. Then I change 50% of it while I’m writing! I like to have the main idea mapped out, but I firmly believe that there’s no way to really know your characters until you start bringing them to life. I write a first draft, stopping to read it once halfway through, and then I read it from start to finish once it’s complete. I send that to my editor and then we do two rounds of edits before it gets sent off to the copy editors. That’s when the champagne gets popped!
What was your journey to being a published author?
I was a magazine Editor-in-Chief for five years. After that I edited Kerry Kennedy’s New York Times bestseller Being Catholic Now. Then I wrote a novel, which landed me my first agent. While editing that novel, I came up with the idea for my first book Facebook Fairytales, which was non-fiction. Once that book published, I realized that I was quite content with the original novel never seeing the light of day! So, I ended up switching agents and writing a new novel, which was You Knew Me When. With that, I landed a two book deal with Penguin!
What do you think is the biggest myth about being a novelist?
That it’s glamorous all the time! For me, it’s glamorous for about a month, maybe two when my book releases. The rest of the time it’s no makeup, a messy top knot with my hair, and Yoga pants.
What advice can you give to our readers who want to write a novel of their own?
Write what you’re passionate about. Write what you know. Don’t let rejection deter you (it happens to everyone!).
What are you working on at the moment?
I just finished my fifth book, Some Women, which comes out on April 5th!