Sunday, September 18, 2011

SECRETS




by Jo Robertson


We all keep secrets, right?

Some big, some small, some harmless, some devastating.

The old adage goes, two people can keep a secret if one of them is dead.

Many books, especially romances, hinge on the concept of a secret – a secret marriage, a secret baby, a past misdeed or mistake, a hidden flaw or secret heritage – the list is endless.

In THE AVENGER, my second romantic thriller in the Bigler County series, Jackson Holt is an agent for a clandestine government organization. His assignments require that he complete all kinds of activities, primarily assassinations of persons the Invictus Organization deems "bad guys." After nearly twenty years, he's jaded and troubled, a man searching for re
demption, but unsure if he'll ever obtain it.

To complicate his situation he's re-assigned to a case he didn't solve four years ago, and the job brings him in contact with the one woman he's never forgotten. They were childhood sweethearts and he betrayed her.

The problem with secrets, of course, is that they have a way of coming to the surface. The question is can Olivia forgive Jack? Can Jack be redeemed? Can he change, considering his murky past?

In a romance, I think the secret has to be something crippling; otherwise a frank conversation would clear the air, and the hero and heroine would "make up" and have their happily ever after. Don't you just hate when the solution is so simple, but the protagonists fail to use that very complicated tool – a heart-to-heart conversation?

Well, it's not that simple, is it? Layers and layers of experience and emotion lie beneath the superficial surface. Our hero and heroine have to break through often stupendous barriers to uncover what's beneath. After all, they have to work for their
satisfied ending.

What do you think, readers? Is the old adage true, that two people can keep a secret if one of them is dead? Do you enjoy stories about "secrets" and the damage they do? Are you impatient if the story seems silly or contrived?

Today I'm giving away a free download of "The Avenger," Jackson and Olivia's story. Or, if you prefer, a free print copy. Be sure to leave a comment and help me celebrate the release of my second book!

39 comments:

Helen said...

Is he staying again

Have Fun
Helen

Helen said...

I think I must be too easy with the GR and there is lots of chocolate LOL

Jo
I am reading The Avenger at the moment and loving it I am about halfway thru I started it yesterday afternoon and I haven't put the E Reader down much at all it is another page turner.
I am loving Jack and Olivia and yes I think there should be a heart to heart between them I am sure it will happen all in good time there is so much going on that is keeping me on the edge of my seat and the pull between Jack and Olivia is so good I feel like I am in Bilger County. Loving it Jo congrats on the release and The Watcher was fantastic as well it is nice catching up with Ben.

I think there are a few people that can keep secrets very well not everyone though LOL. I do enjoy stories about secrets and as long as the book keeps me interested I am happy to keep reading till the author decides that it is talk time

Have Fun
Helen

Anna Campbell said...

Helen, what are you feeding him? Too much, obviously!

Jo, congratulations on the release of the Avenger. That's a humdinger of a premise for a novel! I agree with you about secrets being at the heart of many a great romance novel. I'm writing one right now where the heroine knows something the hero doesn't - and the proverbial hits the fan when he finds out. LOVE that moment!

jo robertson said...

Hi, Helen. Wow, the rooster's certainly become attached to you lately LOL. Must be your charm or all that chocolate!

jo robertson said...

Helen, thank you! You're such a sweetheart and I deeply appreciate your comments. This was the hardest book I've written so your compliments are doubly welcomed.

It was hard bringing Ben Slater back in this story and have him NOT take over Jack's story.

jo robertson said...

I find very few people can truly keep a secret, Helen. I know I find it hard unless the person says, "Swear, don't tell a soul!"

My oldest son and middle daughter are the best at keeping secrets, some of them for years, long after everyone else knows what's going on. All my kids say, "Don't tell Dad a secret. He can't keep his mouth shut." Shhhh, don't tell him.

jo robertson said...

Anna C said, "I'm writing one right now where the heroine knows something the hero doesn't - and the proverbial hits the fan when he finds out."

Ooooh, I love that moment too, Anna! So much betrayal, or at least perceived betrayal, because of course the heroine has a perfectly good reason for keeping the secret, right?

We love that in novels, but we'd probably hate it in real life.

jo robertson said...

I'm just re-reading JD Robb's "Vengeance in Death" where Roarke has keep something from Eve (understandably so) and she feels betrayed because it impinges on her being able to do her job.

I love this particular book because it involves Somerset and his past relationship with his daughter Marlena and Roarke.

Jane said...

Congrats on the release, Jo. I think it's possible for two people to keep a secret, but it's a rarity. I think in most cases one or both do end up spilling the secret. I do enjoy books about secrets, but it does get annoying if the secret/misunderstanding goes on for too long and it makes the story stagnant.

flchen1 said...

Ooh, secrets! What a fun topic, Jo! And congrats on The Avenger! As for secret keeping, I think it's possible to keep a secret, but it truly depends on the people you choose to entrust with its keeping. So many of us find keeping a secret hard because it's soooo tempting to share it with just one person... and of course, then it's all over!

Congrats on the GR, Helen--he seems pretty tight-beaked ;)

Sheree said...

Congrats on the GR again, Helen!

Secrets are hard to keep because they have a way of popping out when least expected (and most damaging).

Helen said...

Chocolate is the way to keep him tight lipped with secrets LOL and also the weather is beautiful here today 18 days into spring and the temperature reached 33 cel today I hate to think what summer is going to be like.

I think the worst to keep secrets are my grandchildren LOL I have often given them a lollie and say keep it a secret and they instantly run to their Mum Or Dad and say see what Nanna gave me LOL.
Jo I don't think any of my kids are good at keeping secrets or their Father LOL I am the best one in this house.

Have Fun
Helen

Anna Campbell said...

Jo, makes for a powerful black moment. Or at least that's the plan!

marybelle said...

Congratulations on the release!!

Everyone has secrets & they do eventually come to light. Not always at the best of times. Great reading though!!

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

I think a secret will always come out and most likely at the very worst time in a relationship so the best rule of thumb is don't do that.
Personally, I don't even want to know secrets, because if and when they are told there is always the possibility you will get blamed for it even if you didn't tell it.

Beth Andrews said...

Congrats on the release of The Avenger, Jo! I am in love with that cover and cannot wait to read this story *g*

Personally, I love when a secret is revealed and it only makes things between the h/h that much worse :-) Makes more good conflict and, I think, great opportunities for characters to grow.

girlygirlhoosier52 said...

I can't wait to read this!! Secrets -- amazing sometimes what happens after the reveal!!

Louisa Cornell said...

Hey, Helen, I'd stay! Chocolate, the Land Down Under and Great Company!

Congrats on this newest, Jo! And it sounds delicious! Secrets and betrayal always make for so many questions in a relationship. And sometimes the conversation needed to settle them is the one thing both people fear the most.

I'm quite good at keeping secrets. If I am sworn to secrecy that's it. I clam up.

And secrets DO have a way of coming out no matter how hard one tries to keep them safe.

jo robertson said...

Thanks, Jane!

You said, "if the secret/misunderstanding goes on for too long and it makes the story stagnant."

Exactly! As a writer, you have to keep the tension, mystery, secret going, but if it goes too long without a good reason, the reader gets bored.

jo robertson said...

Thanks, Fedora!

You said, "So many of us find keeping a secret hard because it's soooo tempting to share it with just one person"

LOL, and just that one person tells others.

I think one of the reasons we tell secrets is that it's not OUR secret, so it doesn't seem such a big deal.

jo robertson said...

Hi, Sheree! Thanks for stopping by. When I'm told a secret, I have to actually talk to myself to imprint on my brain. "It's a secret, it's a secret."

Sometimes I tell people not to tell me because I might accidentally spill the beans!

We have a large family so it's even harder to keep a secret from some of them. We usually don't LOL!

jo robertson said...

Helen said, "the weather is beautiful here today 18 days into spring and the temperature reached 33 cel today"

Oh, I envy that weather, Helen. We just finished a fairly mild summer but it's still in the 80's and heating up next week.

Aunty Cindy's in Alabama now and says the humidity is awful! Ugh!

jo robertson said...

Still LOL at your grandkids and the lollies, Helen. That's too darling!

jo robertson said...

Thanks, Marybelle, I appreciate it!

jo robertson said...

Dianna said, "I think a secret will always come out and most likely at the very worst time"

That's what Marybelle said, too! The worst possible time. But like Fo said, it makes for a great black moment in the story!

I'm with you. I'd rather not know stuff. As I get older, I forget what's a secret and what's not. It's a lot of trouble keeping someone's secret!

jo robertson said...

Thanks, Beth. I'm a little in love with this guy on The Avenger cover, too. I haven't seen him on too many romance covers, so I was pleased to find him on Big Stock.

Was it Hemingway who said grace is guts under pressure? I probably mangled that line, but it does seem that the way our h/h behave in those dark moments should their true character.

jo robertson said...

About secrets -- I hate when someone tells me something and it's not their secret to tell. Like when a friend is pregnant or her husband gets a raise. The friend wants to be the one to tell me and this other so-called friend ruined it!

I hate that.

jo robertson said...

Girlygirlhoosiers52, I love your handle! You must be from Indiana!

Thanks for the compliment. This was a hard book to write, but I hope I've tied up all the loose threads. I tend to make my plots too complicated LOL.

jo robertson said...

Lousia said, "I'm quite good at keeping secrets. If I am sworn to secrecy that's it. I clam up."

Good for you! That's a great trait. From the thread of the post, it looks like most of us CAN'T keep a secret LOL.

jo robertson said...

Do you guys remember when you were little and you used to "pinky swear" to keep a secret?

I wonder where that came from?

And the other one was "cross my heart and hope to die, stick a needle in my eye."

Sheesh, where do we get these things from?

Louisa Cornell said...

Jo said : "And the other one was "cross my heart and hope to die, stick a needle in my eye."

I have often wondered where that one came from myself! Anyone have any ideas?

Janga said...

Congrats on the release of The Avenger, Jo! I think secrets in fiction can create great conflict and drama. One of my favorite authors has made a career of writing about secrets. I think they are trickier in RL though. I've been burned by keeping a secret for one friend and angering another friend when the secret is revealed.

I think the "cross my heart" probably is a derivative of the Christian making the sign of the cross. I read somewhere, although I can't vouch for the accuracy, that sticking a needle in the eye was an ancient means of checking that someone was dead.

Louisa Cornell said...

Ouch, Janga! Seems a rather brutal way to test for life! But your summation sounds right.

jo robertson said...

Janga said, " I think they are trickier in RL though. I've been burned by keeping a secret for one friend"

OMG, isn't this true? You get put in such a tricky position. I usually say, I think you should tell so-and-so because I can't guarantee it won't come out accidentally.

When I taught school, one of the things that was hardest was when students tried to tell us things in confidence. Some issues, by law, have to be reported, so I always say that up front.

jo robertson said...

Janga also said, "although I can't vouch for the accuracy, that sticking a needle in the eye was an ancient means of checking that someone was dead"

Pretty shivery, but it makes sense, I guess. Doesn't the vitreous fluid dry out after death?

Leni said...

I enjoy stories that center around a secret. It usually has characters that are interesting and to see how they go about protecting or revealing the secret is amazing.

jo robertson said...

Hi, Leni, thanks for stopping by. It is intriguing to see the lengths to which people will go to keep their secrets.

That reminds me of the seminal novel of secret-keeping in a small town PEYTON PLACE, which was all the rage when I was a girl. Of course, it's pretty mild by today's standards LOL.

catslady said...

I must be dead then lol. I can keep a secret but I have to be told specifically that it is a secret otherwise all things are fair game lol. I try to be open about everything myself so it does drive me crazy sometimes because there are some people who think everything should be a secret. Usually it comes out eventually and it's much worse because it was kept quiet for so long. I believe in - those who have nothing to hide, hide nothing (I believe I heard that from Dr. Phil).

Your book sounds intriguing and I like to read about secrets lol. Great cover too.

jo robertson said...

Thanks, Catslady!

Ya'll be sure look for the announcement of the winner of a download of "The Avenger."