The Best Kept Secret
by Wendi Nunnery
In high school, everyone has secrets. Even well-brought-up Emma Fraser.Emma’s sophomore year started out all wrong. First, her best friend Andy confessed to losing his virginity leaving Emma all alone in the V-Club. Then the rest of her friends got weird and suddenly Emma finds herself feeling like the people she knows best have become total strangers. And total strangers are becoming friends.When Deegan Burke, a rich, gorgeous senior, asks Emma to be his date for the prom, Emma thinks her luck has begun to change. But rather than being able to bask in this newfound glory, her whole world starts to unravel. And when secrets that once seemed so innocent start to take a very dangerous turn, Emma discovers that true friends are friends no matter what…and some secrets aren’t worth keeping.
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Wendi Nunnery is the author of The Mayfield Family Story. She is also a regular contributor to The Huffington Post and The Simply Beloved, a lifestyle website for women of faith. She is a proud alumna of Georgia Southern University and, at any given time, you can find her with a cup of coffee and a book. She lives, loves, and mothers in Atlanta, Georgia. The Best Kept Secret is her first novel.
Hi Kayla! Thank you so much for having me on your blog today!I read a piece on the Huffington Post the other day about how fiction is never truly fictional. And I have to agree, although I certainly don’t believe it’s always on purpose. When I started writing The Best Kept Secret, which began as a short story for a fiction contest, I pulled inspiration directly from two tragic stories in my hometown. Writing helped me process through how such devastation could have occurred in a place like where I grew up. And some of the best fiction I’ve ever read comes from writers who were just trying to make it through hell. Writing helped them survive. That’s what writing does. And that’s what good books do. They keep us going.Fiction isn’t always fiction because it stems from a writer’s imagination, an imagination that has been shaped and molded by the reality of her (or his) experiences. But, in many ways, using what we know to create our own stories gives us the opportunity to make sense of them. In The Best Kept Secret, Emma is kind of like the secret-keeper. She doesn’t know every secret, but she does know they exist…and that they’re doing some serious damage. She’s carrying a pretty heavy burden because she’s not even sure what it is. Emma speaks to the readers because she’s the narrator, but they’re finding out the truth right along with her, so she remains pretty vulnerable throughout the last fourth of the book. I feel sort of badly for Emma. She should have started a journal or something.There are times when I sit down to write not because I have something specific in mind, but because I simply cannot help myself. In those moments, there is something inside of me - some itch, some worry, or some thought - that’s been hanging around just outside my consciousness and it’s got to get the hell out. I might not even be aware of it until it appears. But writing it out is cathartic for a big feeler like me. Ever had a long, hard cry in the shower for almost no reason whatsoever? That’s the best comparison I have for what writing does to me. It gets out the gunk and washes it away…at least for a little while.My favorite college professor, who sadly passed away a year after I graduated, told our class that “once something is written down, it becomes fiction.” I think this is probably truer than “fiction is never really fictional.” We do pull from real life to create new worlds, but when we tell our stories - the real ones - they become fiction because they are uniquely ours. And while many people have endured the same struggles that Emma faces in The Best Kept Secret, the experiences are entirely her own. I believe, and I hope, that this will help readers connect with her and, perhaps, reconsider how valuable their lives really are.
Thanks for stopping by Kayla's Place, Wendi!!