My new novel, (my 13th, I’m hoping that’s not a bad omen!) Our Secrets and Lies, has many themes and issues running through it. One of the main themes is parenting and how we all think we know what’s best for our children, but do we?
Lucy is a straight A student and the pride of her parents’ lives. She gets a place in university to study Law and comes first in her class two years running. Lucy has her life planned out. She knows exactly where she’s’ going…..until she meets and falls in love with fellow classmate Tom.
On a weekend away they are careless about birth control and Lucy finds herself pregnant. Tom promises to stand by her but then disappears to America. Lucy is left, literally, holding the baby. Except it’s not just one baby, it’s two, twins.
Lucy never does finish her degree. She ends up working in the corner shop her Dad owns and bringing up the twins (Dylan and Kelly) alone. Her life takes a very different road to the one she dreamt of. A road she would never have chosen for herself.
While Lucy is an adoring mother, she is also determined that her children will never, ever, make the mistakes she did. She pushes them to succeed and have the life she should have had.
When, aged seventeen, the twins are offered a scholarship to a prestigious school it seems like Lucy’s dreams have come true. But is this what the twins want?
Lucy truly believes that going to this school will change their lives for the better, but it ends up almost destroying her family.
With this novel, I wanted to explore how parents always, whether intentionally or not, push their children to do things they think are right for them. But do parents really know what’s right for their children? Just because Lucy did law doesn’t mean Kelly wants to be a lawyer. Just because you were good at tennis doesn’t mean your child will be. Just because you think going to university is important doesn’t mean it’s the right path for you child.
But it’s hard for parents to let go. We’ve lived longer, seen more, experienced disappointments and we only want the best for our children. But maybe our version of the best life is not our children’s path to take.
Lucy adores her children, she thinks she’s doing the right thing, but unfortunately the school is not the answer to her dreams, especially not for her daughter Kelly.
In fact, the decision to move Kelly out of the local school she is very happy in and send her to the new school, has very serious consequences.
Another issue I wanted to explore in the book is the pressure teenagers are under due to social media.
I spoke to teenagers when I was researching the book and was truly shocked at the level of viciousness and bullying that goes on. It’s horrific.
In my novel, Kelly never fits in at the new school. She’s the ‘scholarship girl’, the outsider. She ends up on the receiving end of some really awful bullying and the novel explores the terrible affect it has on her life.
Lucy thinks she is doing the right thing by her children. She accepts the scholarship offer because it seems like a fantastic opportunity. Most parents would do the same. Unfortunately, it isn’t the right decision and Lucy ends up regretting her decision dearly.
The book is also about how it takes a village to raise a child. Although Lucy is a single parent, her father and sister and best friend all help raise the twins. They are all an integral part of their lives.
As for Tom, the runaway dad, all is not what it seems there. Tom’s controlling and domineering father has had a lot to do with Tom’s disappearance.
Sarah, Lucy’s best friend is herself a Mum who is struggling to manage a wild teenager daughter and a ten-year-old son, Ollie, whose hero is Bear Grylls.
Ollie hates school because he can’t sit still. He wants to be outside living in the wild and going on crazy adventures like his hero Bear. Sarah and her husband struggle to keep Ollie safe and stop him breaking limbs as he tries increasingly dangerous survival tricks. Ollie accuses them of crushing his dreams. He says they don’t understand him. They try desperately to let him have fun while also trying to rein him in.
The book is about family, parenthood and children desperately trying to find their way in the world.
It’s about shattered dreams, disappointments, love for you children, trying to be the best parent you can be, opportunities and pitfalls.
It’s about lying and keeping secrets. Lying to protect those your love even when you know it’s wrong. Keeping secrets from your loved ones so they won’t get hurt. But the problem with secret and lies is that they inevitably come out and cause serious problems in families.
What will happen to this tight-knit family when their secrets and lies come bursting out? Will they survive the fallout?
(c) Sinéad Moriarty
About Our Secrets and Lies:
Having her son and daughter at 21 forced Lucy Murphy to walk away from a glittering future. They are the loves of her life and she is determined that they will have wonderful lives.
So a scholarship to a prestigious school seems like a golden opportunity for the twins, the fulfilment of every wish Lucy has for them. But Lucy is confusing her thwarted ambitions with what her children really want. After all, seventeen-year-olds have dreams of their own, dreams they cannot always share with their mother.
Until catastrophe strikes, Lucy is blind to the cost of forcing her own wishes on the twins, particularly her sensitive daughter. To have any hope of surviving as a family, all three will have to face up to some surprising and difficult truths …
Our Secrets and Lies is a moving, gripping and thought-provoking story about a mother learning the hardest lesson of all – how to let go of her children and how to live without them.
Order your copy online here.