The secret writing life of Kim Edwards

Secrets are nothing new to the work of author Kim Edwards. Her phenomenal best-seller, “The Memory Keeper’s Daughter,” hinged on a 1960s-era doctor’s life-altering deception, while her latest, “The Lake of Dreams,” focuses on the wayward Lucy Jarrett, who discovers her family’s long-hidden past through letters and hidden messages while visiting their lake house in the fictional town of Lake of Dreams, N.Y.

“Both novels deal with the ramifications of a secret in the family,” says Edwards. “But I deliberately told it in a different way. In ‘The Memory Keeper’s Daughter,’ the secret was in the center of the plot. With ‘The Lake of Dreams,’ you discover it as you go along.”

And as she tells it, some of the plot was a secret even to herself. “It’s hard to explain,” she says about her unpredictable writing style. “I just know things are going well when I begin to get surprised by my own characters and the narrative they create.”

But one thing was certain — setting the novel in the Finger Lakes district of New York.

“I drew pretty extensively on the Finger Lakes area,” says Edwards. “It’s just such a beautiful area — it was a pleasure to set it there. So the setting is fictional but certainly atmospherically true.”


Edwards’ debut novel, “The Memory Keeper’s Daughter,” became a New York Times best-seller — a miracle for most first-time novelists. “It was amazing. It still is amazing to think about,” says Edwards. “In some ways, my life has changed dramatically but things were going so well [already] that I didn’t want to make any radical changes. They have been more docile and incremental; it has made a lot of opportunities for me.”

Getting back to the basics

“It was hard at first to make that transition back to writing and regain the space that I write from,” says Edwards on returning to work after the publication of her first novel. “The attention from ‘The Memory Keeper’s Daughter’ was so public and writing is so very private. It took a few months to get to the point where I could just shut out the world and shut off the Internet and get back to the novel.”

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