Blog Tour: Secrets of Southern Girls by Haley Harrigan

by - June 08, 2017

In this powerful, affecting debut, a young woman uncovers devastating secrets about the friend she thinks she killed…

6th June, 2017
Sourcebooks Landmark

About the book:

In Secrets of Southern Girls, the powerful, affecting debut from Haley Harrigan, a young woman uncovers devastating secrets about the friend she thinks she killed…

Ten years ago, Julie Portland accidentally killed her best friend, Reba. What’s worse is she got away with it. Consumed by guilt, she left the small town of Lawrence Mill, Mississippi, and swore nothing would ever drag her back.

Now, raising her daughter and struggling to make ends meet in Manhattan, Julie still can’t forget the ghost of a girl with golden hair and a dangerous secret.

When August, Reba’s first love, begs Julie to come home to find the diary that Reba kept all those years ago, Julie’s past comes creeping back to haunt her. That diary could expose the shameful memories Julie has been running from, but it could also unearth the hidden truths that Reba left buried…and reveal that Julie isn’t the only one who feels responsible for Reba’s death.

In fact, she may not be responsible at all.

About the Author:

Haley Harrigan graduated from the University of Georgia with degrees in creative writing and public relations. She lives in Athens, Georgia, with her husband. Secrets of Southern Girls is her debut. Visit her website at or on Twitter @HCHarrigan.


I love it when I get the opportunity to do a Q&A with authors. It is always fascinating to find out more about the authors and the inspiration, highs and lows behind the creation of their books. Haley Harrigan was very generous in answering my questions and I am excited to share them with you - enjoy!

Q&A with Haley Harrigan:

1. Where did you get the inspiration for Secrets of Southern Girls?

Eavesdropping! When I was a teenager, I overheard my mother and a longtime friend of hers talking about a girl they knew when they were younger who was involved in some kind of “scandalous” relationship. I was only writing short stories then and it was years before I actually put the idea down on paper, but that piece of gossip stuck in my brain and evolved into what became Secrets of Southern Girls. Invasive or not, I’m still a huge advocate of listening in on other people’s conversations! I think that’s one of many ways writers can get that first golden nugget of inspiration to set a story in motion. (No one is going to want to sit next to me in restaurants ever again.)

2. What was the best part about writing this novel?

Getting the words down. The feeling of having put words down on paper—especially if you think they are the right words—is an incredible high.

3. On the flip side, what was the hardest thing about writing it?

Getting the words down! It’s so easy to get distracted or to procrastinate, even if you want to finish your book more than anything in the world. No one is making you do it. There’s no deadline, no agent, no promise of your manuscript ever being more than a computer file. That can make it hard to stay dedicated to your story.

4. How long did it take you to finish writing your first draft?

A little over a year, but the first draft was just the beginning. It went through many, many different incarnations after that.

5. What does your ideal writing spot look like?

Right now, it’s my table on the patio at my favorite local coffee shop. Sunny day, iced coffee, a good playlist on my laptop, and a fresh pen for taking notes.

6. Do you see yourself in any of the characters from Secrets of Southern Girls?

I didn’t actively model any of them after myself (thank goodness, because the characters in this book aren’t exactly role models). But, I do think it’s natural to infuse your characters with some of your own traits, or your vocal tics, or your habits. You, the writer, are just one more person who can be mined for inspiration.

7. What was your favourite book when you were growing up?

As a kid, I would read anything I could get my hands on. I read Little Women and Anne of Green Gables over and over, but I was also just as likely to sneak a book from my mom’s Danielle Steel collection.

8. What book, if any, are you currently reading?

I’ve just finished Becoming Bonnie by Jenni L. Walsh (who is a member of the debut author group I’m in—shout-out to ’17 Scribes!). It’s a phenomenal historical fiction read about how young Bonnie Parker became part of Bonnie and Clyde, one of the most infamous crime duos in history.

9. If you could only read one more book for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood. There are no words for how much I love this book. It’s wonderfully twisty, and so beautifully written.

10. Finally, have you started working on your second novel yet? If so, can you give us any sneaky previews about the story?

Yes, my second novel is currently in the works. It’s about a woman who becomes obsessed with the suicide of a local college boy. It’s a little dark and creepy. That’s all I can say about it for now.

A big thank you to Haley Harrigan for taking the time to answer some questions and to share her writing experience with us. 

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Chat soon beautifuls,

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