Adult Fiction book review

The Keeping of Secrets by Alice Graysharp

About The Keeping of Secrets

The Keeping of Secrets CoverThe keeper of family secrets, Patricia Roberts grows up isolated and lonely. Trust no one and you won’t be disappointed is her motto. Three men fall in love with her and she learns to trust, only to find that their agendas are not her own. With secrets concealed from her by the ultimate love of her life, and with her own secret to keep, duplicity and deceit threaten their relationship. In a coming of age story set against the sweeping backdrop of the Second World War – evacuation, the Battle of Britain, the Blitz, buzz bombs and secret war work – Patricia ultimately has to decide whether to reveal her deepest held secret for the sake of her future happiness.

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About Author Alice Graysharp


Born and raised in the Home Counties, Alice Graysharp has enjoyed a varied working life from hospitality to office work and retail. She currently lives in Surrey. This is her first novel, and the first title in a two book series, she is also already working on a seventeenth century trilogy. Published in the anniversary month of the outbreak of the Second World War and the Battle of Britain

Q&A with Author, Alice Graysharp

1. How did you get started as a writer?

When I was six my parents and grandparents were subjected to recitals of my childish scribbling and I wrote an adventure story when I was ten. About two and a half years ago, I realized that time was passing and if I ever wanted to get a book published I’d better get on with it! I spoke with a publisher about a trilogy I had in mind and they suggested I start with a one-off story as a first time novel, so I wrote The Keeping of Secrets – although ironically it’s turned out to be the first of a two parter. I’d love to be in a financial position to write full time, so I need lots of people to buy my book (unsubtle hint!).

3. What is your favourite under-appreciated novel?

The Fisherman’s Daughter by Molly Jackson.

4. What is your favourite childhood book?

That’s a difficult one as I had different favourites at different stages of childhood. As a very young child I loved my Dad reading Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott to me. Then when I could first read, it was Enid Blyton’s The Adventurous Four, a story of spies, danger and derring-do in wartime Britain. At ten it was The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy. All about keeping a secret, a familiar theme! If I had to pick one of them I suppose it would be The Scarlet Pimpernel.

5. Do you have a special room or place that you prefer to write?

At home it’s the end of the dining room table as that’s the only space available, but quite a lot of The Keeping of Secrets was actually written in cheap hotel rooms. Over the course of about a year I took myself off once every few weeks on a bargain deal, booking a room from 2pm till 12 noon the next day, stocking up at the supermarket on my way, then researching and writing for the next 22 hours, less about 4 hours sleep!

6. Tell us about your typical process for starting a new book.

I already have the rough storyline playing out in my head. I write episodically, so I’ll initially write a few scenes from different parts of the book to get a feel for the characters and events.

7. How do you select the names of your characters?

Chosing names can be tricky – you have to check there isn’t someone else with the same unusual name who might sue you for defamation! On the other hand, a very common name is safe. For my main character I balanced her name with an old fashioned middle name, Adela, and also gave that to her mother as that is quite traditional in some families. My main character’s first name, Patricia, is part of James’ chat up line, and the reason she was so named is echoed later. Most names flow from the characters or the era in which they live. Some surnames are an invented variation of a recognized surname.

8. What is the most difficult part of being a writer?

Finding time to do the actual writing! There’s the research before and during the writing, and then, after a book is published, there’s a lot of publicity work involved. I enjoy all these aspects of being an author. I’m often composing scenes in my head when I’m out and about, or revisit scenes I’ve thought about before, which makes the physical creation of the words when I have the time to do the writing a bit easier and quicker than if I tried to invent scenes from cold.

9. Are you working on any new novels at this time? If so, can you share a little about them?

I’m writing what I call an interquel – a story that slots in between the last chapter and the epilogue of The Keeping of Secrets. We meet a number of the characters again at different stages of their lives and find how a secret stumbled upon by a new character has repercussions over the years.

I’ve also started the seventeenth century trilogy that’s been in my head since I was sixteen about a new strong, passionate and resilient character, Free, and her experience of the Civil War, Commonwealth and the Restoration periods.

10. What is your favourite/most valued work that you have written?

Other than The Keeping of Secrets, that would be a poem about going to a derby football match. I’ve experienced the extra buzz in anticipating a derby fixture, the agony of losing and the ecstasy of winning.

Special thanks to Clink Street Publishing and to Author, Alice Graysharp for being a special guest at today. I hope you enjoy Alice’s novel as much as I have!


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