Have you ever been amazed at family get togethers on how a single event you vividly remember is entirely different in another family member’s memory? Or how stories are not the way you remembered? Or even that you’ve reinterpreted some happening now with the distance of wisdom and experience?
These questions are ever present for me as I am now a grandmother and asked to write down memories in a book for my granddaughter. I most certainly want to present her with as much “truth” as I know or am aware of, but I’m afraid I cannot capture everything outside of my perspective. I recently read a memoir of an author who was shocked that the stories her parents told her were not what she uncovered in their paperwork, and I realized the fragility of childhood memories when research showed that many more people during world war II reported unexploded bombs dropped into their homes, even in regions with no aerial bombing.
Is it because we are suggestable people? Especially as children where we’ve heard a story and then believe it to have happened to ourselves? I know that’s the case in our family where our children to this day claim things that happened to them but we “know” were things that happended to us when we were kids and we told about them. Could it be that “dog bite” story was actually transmitted from great-grandfather to grandfather to father to son, and none of them had actually been bitten? This question has haunted me as I recall my mom’s wartime stories and witness my children thinking certain things happened to them exactly like described in a time and place they didn’t exist.
As a writer, these mismatched family memories are fertile grounds for stories, especially those in which a child was lied to their entire life. In my latest book, Going to Find Love, Penny Barnes has a big shock when she finds out her religious parents lied to her by omitting her adoption and then denying it. What are they covering up? Compelled to find the truth, Penny leaves everything behind, including her high school sweetheart, to find the answers long denied her.
I know how she feels because I know real life people who have had a similar shock [too close for me to reveal who] of finding out they weren’t who they thought they were. I hope these musings will encourage you to dig into your memories, old pictures, and documents to make a sense of your past to reexamine and preserve what you hope is closest to the truth.
Penny Barnes has never left home. She’s a pastor’s daughter, has a long time boyfriend, and is a hometown sweetheart. Her fairytale life is upended when she discovers she’s adopted.
Excited by the discovery of a genetic match, Penny is lured to a distant town with secrets of its own. She meets another lonely young woman who has more questions than answers. Her adoptive parents disappear. She runs into roadblocks and dead-ends, and someone powerful is determined to stop her from finding the truth.
Mike drops everything to find Penny as she digs through old secrets. When disaster strikes, will Penny leave everyone she loves behind—including her hometown sweetheart or find love on her own terms? [Pre-order Going to Find Love for 99c]
Rachelle Ayala is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance and romantic suspense. Her foremost goal is to take readers on a shared emotional journey with her characters as they grow and become more true to themselves. Rachelle believes in the power of love to overcome obstacles and feels that everyone should find love as often as possible, especially if it’s within the pages of a book.
Her book, Knowing Vera, won the 2015 Angie Ovation Award, A Father for Christmas garnered a 2015 Readers’ Favorite Gold Award, Christmas Stray received a 2016 Readers’ Favorite Gold Award, and Playing for the Save got the 2017 Readers’ Favorite Gold Award in Realistic Fiction.
She is also a writing teacher and founder of the Romance In A Month writing community. She lives in California with her husband and has three children and two birds.