Let’s Talk with James M Jackson

Family Secrets
By James M Jackson

As very young children, we are impressionable and believe whatever we are told: The stork brings babies to the hospital. The Easter Bunny hides our colored eggs and brings baskets with jellybeans and chocolate. Santa and his reindeer deliver presents all over the world in one night.

An older sibling or some precocious kid at the playground bursts our bubble about these white lies, although we may choose to say we still believe because they are self-serving. I’m pretty sure I didn’t declare my final disbelief in Santa until after I’d secured my Christmas booty.

Gradually, we learn people lie. If we have older siblings, we learn from them when they blame us for some act they have perpetrated or don’t tell the whole story. And then comes the day when we tell Aunt Tilly her breath stinks, and our mother informs us we aren’t to tell such truths in public. Now we know everyone lies. You can’t even trust your family to tell the whole truth.

Doubtful_Relations_480x300And really, what do we know of our family’s secrets? Probably not as much as we think. I remember looking at an old picture album of my parents and discovering they went to stock car races before I was born. Who knew? We had never talked about car racing in our family. Do we really know what secrets each member of our family carries?
Doubtful Relations goes on pre-order today. Equal parts road trip, who done what, and domestic thriller, book four in the Seamus McCree series takes psychological suspense to a new level. Seamus McCree fans and newcomers alike will delight in this fast-paced novel that leaves no one in the family unchanged and keeps you guessing until the very end.

For a chance to win a free ebook version of Doubtful Relations, share in the comments something surprising you learned about your family or tell us which of the childhood lies you held onto the longest.

Also, don’t forget to click over to our contest page to enter our monthly gift card giveaway.

Comments

  1. I believed until I was over 50 that my Uncle Cecile was chasing my Aunt Dee with a hammer when they both fell through thin ice and drowned. My mom finally disabused me of that notion. They were coming home from a dance, drunk as usual, and their long driveway was unplowed so they walked in the draw, fell through the ice, and drowned.

    • Interesting story, Vinnie. Where did you get the incorrect story from? It sure makes your uncle out as the really bad guy, whereas in the end it becomes a sad story that ended two lives.

  2. surprised by how big the family is

  3. Gosh Tina, we all love you — even those outside your family!

  4. Finding out that your beloved Grandma was married and had a kid at 14. Not so unusual. Finding out she was married to someone besides your Grandpa, and that her first husband was an abusive SOB who conveniently disappeared when her brothers and father found out… Always figured they killed him. Pushed him down a mine shaft or something after they beat the crap out of said SOB. Grandma and Grandpa went on to have 9 more kids and raised them on a teacher and a coalminer’s salary .Finding out your other Grandma went across the Ohio border to Kentucky and secretly married your Grandpa and then they both went home and back to their parents’ houses. Finding out your great-grandma was strung up upside down and beaten, all the while trying to hold her skirts in place because she was ashamed for people to see her knickers. She died, some say from the beating, some say from shame. All for being nice to a black person. Today’s violence has nothing on yesterdays.

    • State borders with differing laws often make for interesting stories, and you are quite correct that when viewed in an historical context, the violence of today is not worse than that of the past–although the violence may have been more personal then without assault rifles.

  5. What’s fun is getting together when you’re “all growed up” and sharing some of the sneaky things you used to do and having your parents look shocked and say they had no idea…

    • Yes, always better when it’s not your children, of course. I quite enjoyed when my better half learned her son (long safely grown into adulthood) used to come in by curfew, turn off the alarm clock his parents had set for the curfew and then went out again!

  6. maggietoussaint says

    A whole playground of kids burst my Santa bubble, but I figured out that if I didn’t say anything to my family, the presents would still roll in double time. The ones from Santa were always unwrapped, while the ones with our names on them came from my parents.

    What I liked best about the Santa stuff was we were allowed to play with all those toys before our parents got up. I often had dolls or miniature horse figurines, but my brother always got cool stuff like goo to make monsters in the oven. The bizarre burnt smell of that stuff wafted through the house and got everyone up in a hurry. Those were the days.

    • Santa left gifts under the tree unwrapped in our house too! But we were admonished to wait for our parents to get up before we touched or played with them. Actually, they wanted us to stay in bed so that they could come in and wake us up. But, of course, we sneaked to the tree before they got up. 🙂

    • The rule in our house was we could get our stocking whenever we awoke. It always contained a few things to keep us safely occupied. The presents had to wait for the parents.

  7. My two siblings and I have been dealing with family secrets for years. We brought them out in the open years ago and it has helped immensely, along with counseling and forgiveness. What is sad is that our parents refused to discuss the secrets and not only lived unhappy, angry lives…but died unhappy. Very sad. I’m glad my siblings and I are closer than ever before despite the secrets that haunted us for such a long time. jdh2690@gmail.com

    • Silence is often not golden and, as you say, can often affect multiple generations. I’m glad you and your sibs found a way to break the cycle and have been brought closer together.

  8. My mother told me she took the blame for something her brother had done when they were both kids, but she hadn’t wanted to rat on him. To this day, I doubt that anyone else in the family is aware of this incident. Families all hide secrets. That’s what makes delving into the pasts of our characters while plotting a book so exciting.

    • Nancy — and isn’t it interesting when as an author you ask your character about their past and they tell you stuff you never would have guessed! That happened to me with Seamus McCree’s mother. Some pieces of that leak out in Doubtful Relations; others remain hidden for another two books.

  9. Lucky enough to have scored an Advance Reading Copy of Doubtful Relations and it’s good reading so far!

  10. A who-dun-what — love that description! Very appropriate for a book with family secrets at the center, because as we all know, everybody’s done something to somebody. Untangling THAT web is particularly challenging.

    I’m the biggest and most surprising secret in my family. Black sheep all the way. But they still love me, miracle of miracles.