Wednesday, February 18, 2015

"Don't Tell Anyone" by Laurie Boris

Don't Tell Anyone
(Trager Family Secrets Book 2)
by Laurie Boris

Don't Tell Anyone is the second book in the Trager Family Secrets series by Laurie Boris, however it can be read as a stand-alone story. Also available: The Picture of Cool and Playing Charlie Cool.

The author stops by today for an interview and to share an excerpt from the book. You can also enter our exclusive giveaway for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card.

Liza’s mother-in-law once called her a godless hippie raised by wolves. Now, after five years of marriage to her elder son, five years of disapproval and spite, the family accidentally learns that Estelle has a fatal illness. And Estelle comes to her with an impossible request. A horrified Liza refuses but keeps the question from her husband and his brother.
As the three children urge Estelle to consider treatment, their complicated weave of family secrets and lies begins to unravel. Can they hold their own lives together long enough to help Estelle with hers?

Book Video

“You’ll take the sofa,” Estelle said.
Adam, who’d been checking one of her light switches, turned. “What. Now?”
“Later. Tell Charlie he can have the armoire. It was your father’s. It’ll be nice; he doesn’t have any closet space in that apartment.”
“Ma. You’re still here. Stop giving your stuff away.”
She held up her hands. “I just don’t want any arguments. I’ve seen people go without telling anyone what’s what and the family argues.”
“We won’t argue.”
Estelle wasn’t sure. Mostly, Adam and Charlie seemed to get along well. There was that business with Liza, with Charlie knowing her first, but that was old news. “It’s human nature,” she said.
Even though she vowed to get what she needed and get out as soon as she could, she found herself dawdling. The blinds needed an adjustment. She put away some dishes that had dried on the rack next to the sink. She tested the dampness of the soil in her potted philodendron.
“What are you doing?” Adam asked. “Liza watered that plant a few days ago.”
She shrugged. “I’m just checking to see if she forgot. When I was in her condition, my brain was like a sieve.”
Adam rubbed the back of his neck. “Ma. I got to tell you something.”
Estelle couldn’t hold it in any longer. “She’s drinking.”
“Liza.” Estelle felt vindicated to have this out in the open. “With the baby. I smelled alcohol on her breath last night. After she came home from the neighbors. I knew that Cara girl was trouble, with those tight dungarees and the bosom out to there and the husband never home and the kids running wild. I didn’t say anything. I just thought you should know first. As her husband.”
“Ma. There’s no baby.”
Oy, will this one never get it? She stretched out her hands. “Because she’s been drinking!”
Adam just shook his head like she was a crazy woman.
Estelle continued. “Didn’t I warn you? Properly raised Jewish girls don’t drink like fish! It’s the father. I told you. Unitarian? What kind of meshugge religion is that? With all that coffee, and talk about the origin of the universe, and letting people believe in God or not?” She paused to catch her breath, and then lowered her voice. “You know her father was drunk at the wedding.”
“Ma, I was drunk at the wedding. So was Charlie.”
Apparently her elder son still failed to see the distinction. “No. There’s drunk and there’s drunk. You were celebrating. He was drunk. It’s in the genes. Don’t say I didn’t warn you when you come home one day and find your wife passed out on the sofa–on my sofa–and your son sticking his finger in electrical sockets and eating rat poison.”
“Ma.” He rubbed his temples with both palms, squeezing his eyes shut. “There’s no baby because there’s no baby. It was a false alarm.”
No grandchild? Estelle thought, feeling her breath catch. “False alarm?”
“She got her period last week. We didn’t want to tell you before the procedure.”
Estelle let the heft of this sink in for a moment. So now, once again, the children are the parents, conspiring against me to spare my feelings? A hot ball of anger rose from her belly. She felt her eyes narrow, and that anger rocketed into her arm and smacked the side of Adam’s head. “Schmuck.”
“Hey!” He blinked stupidly at her, his hand going to where her palm had landed, and she did not regret having done it. “How is this my fault?”
“It was your fault it was a false alarm. It’s bad luck. To go around tempting fate, talking about things when you don’t know yet.”
“But we’ve been trying. When she was late, I thought–”
“You thought. You thought you’d get a sick woman’s hopes up for nothing? I was gonna make a blanket.”
“You can still make a blanket. It’ll happen. One day.”
She glared at him. “One day. Stop talking already and help me pack.”

Praise for the Book
"We've been waiting for someone to write a book that talks about dying in a true way ... with all the complex predicaments and emotional quagmires it brings...and with humor and compassion for everyone involved. Hurray for Laurie Boris. I actually read this straight through." ~ Author of The Witch of Leper Cove
"Once in a while, a book comes along that you don't want to put down. You think to yourself, just one more chapter, or one more section, then I'll stop for a while and do what I have to do. Such was the case with Don't Tell Anyone by Laurie Boris. I am glad I got to read this book." ~ Amazon customer
"There is no way you can read this book and not relate to one or more of the characters within. Laurie has really captured that desperation of wanting to save someone so badly and the frustration felt when that person just wants to be left alone. It's a beautiful story. It could've easily slid into a sad, depressive narrative about a woman dying of cancer, but Laurie spins an intriguing tale that is enjoyable, captivating and even funny at times. It will definitely keep you reading right up until the very end. I loved it." ~ Donna Dillon
"I absolutely LOVED this book. It was a real page turner from beginning to end. As soon as I'm done with this review, I am going to purchase the rest of this series of books. Laurie ROCKS!!!! :)" ~ Tammie K
"Boris did a fantastic job tackling these tough subjects with tenderness, some humor and believable characters. The characters are all well-developed so that you can see each one's side in the situation and how they came to their beliefs. Liza is very real and likeable. I felt for her, being thrust into the role of caretaker of a woman who didn't treat her all that well. The writing flowed and was well paced. If you are looking for an emotional family drama with depth I highly recommend this book." ~ Kate Farrell, The Kindle Book Review

Interview with the Author
Hi Laurie, thanks for joining me today to discuss your book, Don’t Tell Anyone.
Thank you, Lynda. It’s so great to visit. And I don’t even have jet lag!
Great! For what age group do you recommend your book?
There are some complicated issues in the Trager household - end-of-life decisions, medical marijuana, strained relationships, family arguments - so I’d think high school and up. It’s mainly adult fare.
What sparked the idea for this book?
My husband and I got one of those awful four-in-the-morning phone calls - his mother was in the emergency room with pneumonia, barely able to breathe on her own. When we got there, a tech asked us how long she’d had the tumors. "What tumors?" my husband said. To shorten a very long story, it was stage-four breast cancer and she agreed to have treatment. But it left me with a question: Why? When someone has a strong family history, access to medical care, and all the support she could ask for, why wait, why ignore, why? That started a story rolling in my head. I gave my question to a fictional family that already had a lot of problems, just to see what they would do with it.
So, which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel?
Character, almost always. For me, that’s where the story originates. When I get into trouble writing a novel, it’s usually because I’m trying to push a character in a direction that I think would suit the plot. Bad idea.
What was the hardest part to write in this book?
The arguments were so hard. I’m not a confrontational person. When there’s yelling, I want to slink away. Can’t exactly have a story that has so many interpersonal conflicts in it without a few raised voices, though.
How do you hope this book affects its readers?
I hope readers will relate to the characters, the family conflicts, appreciate the different roles each family member takes on in a crisis like this - the leader, the diplomat, the consensus-builder, the one in denial. While I realize the subject matter isn’t always entirely upbeat, I do like to let hope and humor roll out naturally. And maybe it will generate a conversation about some difficult topics.
How long did it take you to write this book?
The first draft took thirty days. It was a NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) project. I was burning to tell this story. The revision took longer, maybe another year and a half.
What is your writing routine?
I carve out a word-count goal per week, rather than per day. After some experimenting, this process seems to work for me.
How did you get your book published?
I did it myself. With such touchy subject matter so close to my heart, I didn’t feel like I wanted to go through the agent/publisher process on this one. This was the second book I self-published. It’s a tough path but so personally rewarding.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
Whether you’re intending to self-publish or try for a publisher, much of the preparation is the same. Look for opportunities to improve as a writer. Present a quality product. And get ready for the criticism, because it will come. Not everyone will love what you do, and that’s okay. If you’re passionate about your work and want to make a go of it, you will grow a rhino hide and keep writing.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I spend a ton of time at the computer, so when I’m off, I like to go for long walks or take an aqua-fitness class. And I enjoy a bit of unredeeming television once in a while.
What does your family think of your writing?
They’re so supportive. My husband is an artist, so he knows a lot about what it’s like. My family members come to my readings and buy books and tell their friends about me. They’re fabulous.
Fantastic! Please tell us a bit about your childhood.
I grew up in the middle of a liberal family in a conservative small town in upstate New York. "Sticking out like a sore thumb" didn’t begin to cover it, but my two brothers fit in a lot better than I did. I was the fat, quiet kid in the corner reading a book and trying not to get punched.
Did you like reading when you were a child?
Oh, I never wanted to do anything else. I dreamed of getting locked into the library overnight. Books were my friends, my solace, my teachers. Fortunately, my parents encouraged reading. Even now, when I speak with my father, his first question, after "How are you?" is "What are you reading?"
Sounds familiar! When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
It didn’t dawn on me for a while. I wrote from early on, journaling and short fiction, for fun, but my first career was in graphic arts. On a break between freelance gigs, I felt inspired and wrote a bunch of short stories. That’s when I started feeling it.
Did your childhood experiences influence your writing?
Wholeheartedly, yes! Because of the bullying and the fish-out-of-water-ness, I lived on the fringes, observing others. In retrospect, it was perfect training for a writer.
Which writers have influenced you the most?
Love that literary fiction! Among the writers that have influenced me most are Tolstoy, Joyce Carol Oates, T. C. Boyle, Anne Tyler, Jane Smiley, John Irving, Michael Chabon, and Ian McEwan.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I really love hearing from readers, and I hear from them more frequently about Don’t Tell Anyone and Drawing Breath. Both circle around families dealing with chronic illness, and I hear from either survivors or people living with various conditions, thanking me for raising awareness and honoring their dignity. It’s so humbling.
That's wonderful! What can we look forward to from you in the future?
I’m working on some short fiction, and hopefully this fall I’ll be self-publishing my next novel, Misdirection, which right now looks like it will be lit-fic romantic suspense. Of course, that title will probably change fifty times first.
Sounds good. Thank you for taking the time to stop by today, Laurie. Best of luck with your future projects.
Thank you for the opportunity, Lynda!

About the Author
Laurie Boris is a freelance writer, editor, proofreader, and former graphic designer. She has been writing fiction for over twenty-five years and is the award-winning author of five novels: The Joke's on Me, Drawing Breath, Don't Tell Anyone, Sliding Past Vertical, and Playing Charlie Cool. When not hanging out with the universe of imaginary people in her head, she enjoys baseball, cooking, reading, and helping aspiring novelists as a contributing writer and editor for Indies Unlimited. She lives in New York's lovely Hudson Valley.

Enter our exclusive giveaway for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card.