The Secrets That KILMOON Keeps

Letter from Captain A. G. Butler regarding the DSO, 1918. page 2 of 4

A very happy pub date to Lisa Alber! KILMOON is officially out in the world today, and is sure to intrigue, enlighten and engross readers everywhere. As one of the Debs said earlier, launch weeks are like Christmas around here…we couldn’t be more thrilled to celebrate Lisa’s big debut, and to have you celebrate with us!

::Natalia clears throat, puts down the confetti momentarily to switch gears into her topic::

I once had a creative writing instructor tell me that every character should have a secret.

It could be a secret they keep from the world, from their loved ones, from themselves. But uncovering the truths that are hidden in the depths of their heart and minds should be something that helps propel the plot forward.

I think this is what I loved most about KILMOON: there’s not a single character who doesn’t have something to hide. When you add lies, blackmail, deceit, death, and of course, love into the mix, they do the most unexpected things for the sake of self-preservation.

And yet in life and in fiction, what ends up giving us away in the end is ourselves. Our need to be heard and understood. Our need to tell a story, even if it’s just to an audience of one.

What I found fascinating in Kilmoon was the use of journals and letters. Some characters divulge their deepest desires and heartbreaks into the pages of a notebook meant for their own eyes only. Others write letters as confessionals, in hopes of righting wrongs or at the very least, of making the truth known. Others still use letters to reveal and to hurt.

It reminded me of when I was young and used to keep daily journals. My desire to record my most private thoughts on paper outweighed my desire to guarantee their safety. Because why write them down, if not for them to be read later? We seek comfort in the fact that our journals are hidden, protected, but the only way to truly keep our words private is to never write them in the first place.

I remember occasionally imagining somebody stumbling upon my journals, decades after I’d gone. What would they think of me? Would my words define me in their eyes, and if so, would that be fair?

And what would happen if these letters contained a revelation that could change other people’s lives?

You’ll just have to read Kilmoon to find out…

Have you ever written down your deepest secrets? Why? And how do you protect them?

Author: Natalia Sylvester

Natalia Sylvester is the author of the novel CHASING THE SUN (Lake Union/New Harvest, June 2014), about a frail marriage tested to the extreme by the wife's kidnapping in Lima, Peru. A former magazine editor, she now works as a freelance writer in Texas. Visit her online at

10 Replies to “The Secrets That KILMOON Keeps”

  1. I can’t wait to read this book!! “What ends up giving us away in the end is ourselves.” I love that, Natalia. I do (often) write down my deepest darkest secrets, but usually when I refind them, I destroy them. I do worry about exactly what you say… that they will give me away…that someone will need to be re-burdened by things that have already burdened me. What a great post. Congratulations Lisa and I’m looking forward to your book!!

  2. Thanks so much, Natalia! Gotta have characters with secrets! Secrets are my literary thing, I guess. The second novel’s got its share too.

    I have one journal out there in the world that I cringe thinking about. I wrote a journal to my then-boyfriend while in the first throes of love. OH man. He kept it after we broke up for sentimental reasons. He’s married now … ACK! I hope that journal isn’t still around!

    1. OMG, that’s so scary! I can totally relate. I have one journal from when I was 13-14 that I can’t find anywhere. I know I lost it somewhere between my last two moves, and I shudder to think whose hands it ended up in.

  3. Happy release day, Lisa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂

    I have a few journals kicking around, too, and really, I should burn them. No one needs to read some of the moony tripe I wrote down.

  4. These days, a lot of people seem to look at their deepest and most intimate secrets and think, “Hey, would this be better as a tweet, or should I put it on Facebook?”


    Nero Wolfe used to point out that solving mysteries was challenging because everybody has secrets and everybody lies. If it was only the murderer who lied, it would be easy. (I think Dr. House used to say something this also.)

    I always leave some secrets hidden, some questions unanswered. For one thing, it’s realistic. All questions are never answered. For another, if I answered all the questions in one book, what would I write about in the next one? 🙂

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