I’m thrilled I got the chance to interview Trisha Leaver, whose new book, The Secrets We Keep (released yesterday), I recommended last week. Trisha’s tour for The Secrets We Keep starts tonight with a YA Author Panel featuring Jen Brooks, Lori Goldstein, Jen Malone, and K.R. Conway as well. Trisha is a Sophomore Advisor for the Freshman Fifteens Spring Break Tour.
Alyssa: I’ve read that the story idea for The Secrets We Keep came from a dream. How did a dream turn into a book?
Trisha: The Secrets We Keep started off as a dream…or rather a nightmare. I was heading back to college with my sister in my trusty old Grand Marquis station wagon. (You know, the one with wood side panels and tacky maroon interior.) We were arguing over whose turn it was to pay for gas, who had gotten more Christmas money from our parents, who was doing better in school…all the silly things siblings argue about. The roads were snowy (I went to college in Vermont) and the car started sliding toward a cluster of trees. I woke up the instant my car hit the tree and literally could not function for the next few days until I figured out the plot to the book. So in essence, The Secrets We Keep was me finishing a nightmare that my subconscious so rudely awakened me from.
Alyssa: I’m interested to know more about your writing process. What did you find easiest and/or most challenging about writing and revising The Secrets We Keep?
Trisha: The biggest challenge didn’t occur while writing, rather revising. There was a thread that my editor and I decided to remove during the first round of revisions. It overshadowed the main theme of the book and detracted from the complicated bond I was trying to create between the sisters. Problem was, that thread was quite invasive, cropping up in all sorts of places. It took me upwards of a month to recast some of the scenes, but in the end, the book was stronger for it.
Alyssa: You’ve written in a few different genres (horror, sci-fi, historical, contemporary). What’s it like to write across genres?
Trisha: HA…yes, I have often been accused of having genre ADD, but I can’t seem to settle on just one genre. Too many nightmares plaguing my dreams I guess. Even though I write across genre, all of my works are firmly grounded in reality. Things that can happen, have happened, or have the potential to happen in the future. There is no suspending belief or complicated world building. My characters are normal, everyday teens who find themselves tossed into inexplicable and unfortunate situations. My psychological horror, Creed, is set in today’s world without a hint of the supernatural. Same for my upcoming sci-fi Hardwired which deals with genetic testing in the contemporary world. So, although I write across genres, it is the thread of believability and normalcy that binds my collective work together.
Alyssa: I find it interesting that while you write mainly contemporary fiction, you prefer reading historical fiction. Do you read contemporary as well?
Trisha: I don’t; I think I spend so much time in the contemporary world when I am writing that reading historical fiction is like a mini mind-vacation for me.
Alyssa: What are your favorite TV shows?
Trisha: Favorite TV shows (IN THIS PARTICULAR ORDER J) are: Outlander, Nashville, Vikings. Although I just started watching Banished and that may soon become one of my favorites.
Alyssa: Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what were you listening to as you drafted and revised The Secrets We Keep? Do you have a playlist?
Trisha: I do, but not so much when I am writing as before I sit down to craft a scene. It puts me in the character’s frame of mind and sets the mood. My playlist for The Secrets We Keep was:
SAY SOMETHING, A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera
REMIND ME WHO I AM, Jason Gray
GONE, GONE, GONE, Phillips Phillips
FREE TO BE ME, Jessica Battistelli
I WILL WAIT, Mumford and Sons
IN THE END, Linkin Park
LET ME LOVE YOU, Ne-Yo
HO, HEY, The Lumineers
I LIVED, One Republic
IT’S TIME, Imagine Dragons