Interview with Deanna Lynn Sletten, Author of The Secrets We Carry

20 Jul 2022

What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to write The Secrets We Carry?

While The Secrets We Carry is fiction, it was inspired by my great-grandmother’s early life. As a teenager, she and a friend came over from Finland to Portland, Oregon, sometime around 1913. I have multiple pictures and postcard photos of her from that time period and even a postcard sent to her in 1915 with an address in Portland on it.

I knew my great-grandmother until I was seven years old, and only after she passed did anyone learn about how she came to this country at such a young age. She never spoke of her youth in Finland or of her teen years in Portland. We know she became a travel companion for an elderly woman and traveled to New York State, where she met her husband. That was all we knew.

All these years later, I studied the pictures and facts I knew and created a story around them which became this novel. I’m not saying that anything that happens to Sofiya in the book happened to my great-grandmother. She was only the inspiration.

What’s your favorite genre to read? Is it the same as your favorite genre to write?

I read a lot of historical fiction, but I also enjoy reading biographies, autobiographies, and true stories about famous or historical people. I actually read many different genres. My favorite authors are Alice Hoffman, Paula Brackston, Stephen King, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Truman Capote, and so many others.

What books are on your TBR pile right now?

Too many to mention. I have two thick books on the trial of Lizzie Borden that I hope to one day get through. A memoir by Agatha Christie. Two books I picked up on vacation last year titled, The Life and Death of Kid Curry and Haunted Utah. And so many more on my Kindle.

What scene in your book was your favorite to write?

The final letter Sofiya writes where she finally gives up her secret. It not only brings closure to her family but also to the reader.

Do you have any quirky writing habits? (lucky mugs, cats on laps, etc.)

Nothing too quirky. My favorite time to write is after ten o’clock at night when it’s dark out and the house is quiet. I do write in the day, too, but I prefer nighttime.

If you could choose one thing for readers to remember after reading your book, what would it be?

That it’s important to remember those who came before us and the struggles that may have paved the way for you today.


Deanna Lynn Sletten is the author of the new book The Secrets We Carry

Connect with Deanna Lynn Sletten

Author Site



Buy The Book

B09ZSV5L9K cover image

Buy The Book

Sign up for our email and we’ll send you the best new books in your favorite genres weekly.