Can you keep a secret?
The first time we’re asked this as small children, we have no way of understanding how this one simple phase can become one of the most complex and complicated challenges we face as human beings.
I believe the choices we make about whether to keep, or reveal a given secret, has much to do with who we become in life. Ones entrusted to us, or are those we hold tight to our own chests; when is it right to keep a secret and when is it wrong? Or is it that simple?
At an age when I was ill equipped to deal with these weighty options, I became a victim of abuse at the hands of an alcoholic step parent. Each time he’d warn me my mother would never believe me over him, and worse, threatened to turn his attentions on a younger sibling if I told.
In an insidious way he’d turned the whole thing into my choice. I could chose to continue to take what was being dished out in silence and protect my family, or I could save myself at the risk of them. Which was the right choice?
Now I didn’t for one minute believe my mother would react as he’d said, but I was old enough to know she loved this man, and it would hurt her to discover what a monster he truly was. And as the oldest I felt protective of my younger sibling.
So for a long time I chose to stay silent. It wasn’t until years later I learned I did so in vain. Not only had my sibling suffered under the same abuse but also under the same threat. And my mother did finally see past the Dr. Jekyll to the Mr. Hyde beneath. But her heart was broken at the loss of the man she thought he was – and that was without benefit of knowing the whole story – she never remarried.
I tell you this not to garner your sympathy or pity, but to illustrate how my choice was not clear cut, nor was the secret itself really mine. In the grand scheme it was his – as was the blame for what my family suffered.
Now add one more layer. As it turned out, as an even younger child than I had been, he too had been a victim. Not at the hand of one, but two of the adults in his life who should have nurtured him.
Even though I didn’t deserve to have my innocence and childhood stolen, neither did he. Would the chain have been broken had he told and the secret not been kept? Who knows?
My bigger, and far more important choice, was whether to let these events affect my outlook on life or – if not forgive – at least try to understand, therefore negating the power of the lies within the secrets.
As writers we entertain, but we also enlighten. We write engaging stories full of decisions made that are rooted in secrets. Decisions that drive the hero and heroine through their character arch lessons, without which, they couldn’t earn a satisfying and believable happily ever after.
In Shafted, the heroine, Callie, forsakes love out of fear because she’s not privy to a family secret. The hero, Anteros’s life is suddenly turned upside down by a different sort of secret. The lack of information they operate under because of it, is what drives them together and is also why they believe they must stay apart.
How they figure it all out, is what makes it so much fun, and allows them to become who they are meant to be – perfect for each other.
Is her love real or just a myth?
Returning to her summertime home of Bandit Creek, Callie Jamison discovers there’s a lot more involved to her grandmother’s legacy than a few cabins and some land, including a curse. The last thing she needs now is to fall in love.
Anteros, dark twin of Eros is responsible for avenging unrequited love, a job that’s been a lot harder since his brother succumbed to ambro-fever and has been running amok shooting all the wrong people – including Anteros.
The clock is ticking, not only on his immortality and Callie’s free will, but their hearts as well. Soon they’ll each have to decide if the overwhelming attraction they feel is the real deal or if they’ve simply been ‘Shafted’ and it’s all a cruel illusion.
To tell, or not to tell, without the secrets from my past, would I be who I am today? Would I have become the woman my husband – and love of my life – married? Would I have had the courage to put a little bit of myself into my characters so I could write the best story in me? Or even go after my dream to begin with? Maybe – but I don’t think so.
Kymber will be giving away a copy of Shafted to one lucky commenter today.
* The draw has been made. The winner is StacieD! *