Sarah Morgan talks about her new novel, How To Keep A Secret, her writing process, and what she is working on next.
1. Can you tell us more about your latest book, How To Keep A Secret?
The novel focuses on three generations of women from the same family, all of them are keeping secrets from each other. When circumstances force them together over the summer at the beautiful island of Martha’s Vineyard, those secrets gradually emerge. It’s a family drama, with twists and turns (and a few surprises!). It explores the intricate and complicated relationships between family members – grandmother, mother and child. Of course there is also romance! I’m not sure I could write a book without a romantic element!
2. If you have to pick one favourite character from all your books, who would it be and why?
That’s a difficult question. My favorite characters are usually the ones I’m writing currently, because they’re the ones I’m spending time with, day and night. I enjoy writing characters who are different in personality and in the challenges they’re facing. For example, in How To Keep A Secret, Lauren and Jenna are sisters, but they’re not at all alike. One of the fun parts of being a writer is building a character’s personality and past from scratch.
3. What does your average writing day look like?
Being a published author is about so much more than simply writing, but I try and put the writing first because without the book there is nothing for readers! Also, I have a deadline to meet, so I need to be sure that I’m writing enough words each week. In a typical day I work on my current book in the morning, then break for lunch. Writing is sedentary, so I often go for a walk and I also find that walking is a good way to think about plot and characters.
I love chatting with readers, so several times during the day I’ll check my social media (particularly Facebook and Instagram) and respond to readers. In the afternoon I may write some more, but invariably there are other demands on my time. I’m published globally so I might be making a video for my German publisher, answering interview questions for an Italian blogger, or signing a few boxes of books for my French publisher to sell on their website.
Depending on where I am in the publication cycle, I might be promoting a new release for the US or UK markets. I’m in frequent contact with my editor and agent, and we’ll often be discussing things like cover approach and marketing strategy. It’s a busy job, more varied than people might think, and I love it that way.
4. What is a great book you’ve read recently that you would recommend?
I loved Jane Harper’s The Dry. This is one of the best thriller/crime novels I’ve read, guaranteed to keep you turning the pages long after you should have put the lights out. It’s set in the Australian outback in the middle of a drought and the description of the setting is so good you can feel ‘the dry’ heat and the barren nature of the landscape. The story is gripping, unpredictable, and well plotted but what really stood out for me was the characters.
Whether I’m reading romantic fiction, women’s fiction, crime or any other genre, the most important thing for me is the characters. If I don’t care about the characters, I’m unlikely to care about the story.
I also loved Little Fires Everywhere Celeste Ng. It’s a family drama, and I enjoy family dramas!
5. What are you working on next?
I’m currently working on my third standalone novel. It’s called One Summer in Paris and it will be out in the Spring, 2019. There are two central characters in this book. Grace, whose marriage ends on her twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, leaving her to take a romantic trip to Paris alone, and Audrey, a teenager who has escaped her difficult home life to live and work in Paris for the summer. Their paths converge in ways neither of them can predict, and by the end of the summer each of their lives have changed. I’m having so much fun with this book.
When three generations of women are brought together by crisis, they learn over the course of one hot summer the power of family to support, nourish and surprise.
Lauren has the perfect life … if she ignores the fact it’s a fragile house of cards, and that her daughter Mack has just had a teenage personality transplant.
Jenna is desperate to start a family with her husband, but it’s … Just. Not. Happening. Her heart is breaking, but she’s determined to keep her trademark smile on her face.
Nancy knows she hasn’t been the best mother, but how can she ever tell Lauren and Jenna the reason why?
Then life changes in an instant, and Lauren, Mack, Jenna and Nancy are thrown together for a summer on Martha’s Vineyard. Somehow, these very different women must relearn how to be a family. And while unraveling their secrets might be their biggest challenge, the rewards could be infinite…
Heartwarming and fresh, Sarah Morgan’s brilliant new novel is a witty and deeply uplifting look at the power of a family of women.
USA TODAY bestselling author Sarah Morgan writes hot, happy, contemporary romance, and her trademark humor and sensuality have gained her fans across the globe. Described as “a magician with words” by RT Book Reviews, she has sold more than eleven million copies of her books. She was nominated three years in succession for the prestigious RITA® Award from the Romance Writers of America and won the award three times: once in 2012 for Doukakis’s Apprentice, in 2013 for A Night of No Return and in 2017 for Miracle on 5th Avenue. Sarah lives near London, England, with her husband and children.