Excerpt from The 30 Year Secret: A Journey of Self-Discovery
I’m working on multiple projects right now, one of which is a fictionalized version of a client’s real life. Titled The 30 Year Secret: A Journey of Self Discovery, it follows the main character Theresa’s awakening after she receives earth-shattering news about her origins.
From the book description:
Does the truth really set you free? What if you discovered one day that everything you believed about your life was a lie?
For Theresa Chianti, the revelation of a 30-year secret rocks her to her core and initiates a journey of self-discovery where the pursuit of truth threatens her relationships and forces her to draw upon courage she never knew she had. Will her quest for answers lead to peace of mind or usher in more heartache?
Armed with a mother’s example of enduring faith, she’ll come to appreciate the transcendent power of maternal love on her quest to achieve a level of self-awareness never before experienced.
Here’s an excerpt:
The thick, distinctive aroma of incense hung in the air as Theresa made her way into Our Lady of Lourdes, the large wooden door creaking shut behind her. In the late afternoon of a weekday, the pews stood empty, save for a few devoted souls – most of them on bended knee – scattered throughout. She scanned the massive room with her eyes, taking comfort in the biblical scenes depicted by stained-glass windows and the presence of an enormous, intricately carved crucifix hanging above the altar.
She couldn’t remember the last time she walked into church simply for prayerful reflection. Since Toni Ann’s birth, she’d made a conscientious effort to attend weekly Mass, but it often felt rote and forced. Being here in the quiet, observing the pure devotion of the elderly folks who made it a daily practice to connect with the Lord on their own filled her with a sense of wonder.
She smiled as she thought of her own mother, whose faith in God never wavered. Would this time here alone help her to summon the courage she needed?
Satisfied that the few people present either didn’t know her or were too wrapped up in their own meditations to notice her arrival, she made her way to the altar. After genuflecting and making the sign of the cross, she proceeded to the assembled collection of candles to the right, a few feet in front of the statue of Mary. She pulled a dollar out of her pocket and slid it into the donation box. Taking a long match out of a container of ashes, she dipped it into the flame of a burning candle and murmured a prayer as she lit a new one for her special intention. Then she settled her knees onto the cushioned kneeler and closed her eyes.
God, please give me the strength to do what I gotta do, she pleaded. Help me to be calm and get what I need from Sara, for the sake of my little girl. And God, thank you for Ma. Thank you for letting me end up in a home with love. Thank you for giving me such a strong woman for a mother. Please keep her healthy. Please keep her from ever finding out about this meeting. I know, I need to see Sara in person; I just don’t want Ma to ever find out because it would hurt her too much. Help me keep this secret, God. I know it’s wrong to lie, but I love her so much, I can’t tell her the truth.
Uncontrollable tears poured from her eyes, smearing black mascara on her pale skin, but she didn’t care as she prayed with an energized passion and purpose, her hands covering her face. When finished, she took a few gulps of air and held onto the bannister for a few minutes to steady her shaking shoulders. Once composed enough to walk, she took a seat at an empty, nearby pew, where she remained in peaceful silence until an involuntary flash of memory startled her.
A knock on the door. A man and a woman smiling at her. Her father, Joseph Chianti, enraged.
“She’s either ours or yours; get the hell out!” she heard him bellow in the theater of her mind. The scene then faded into a marina, where she saw herself as a child sitting on a raft with her brother Joseph. Her body felt the steady rise and fall of the water as she watched this younger version of herself squeal with delight under the warm summer sun. Drifting, drifting, drifting away, until…panic. In her head, she heard the children screaming in terror, two young captives on their way out to sea when a rope securing them to the dock somehow unraveled.
“Grab the pole, Joseph; grab the pole!” the seven-year-old girl yelled out to her brother. Theresa felt her entire body convulse with fear as she watched them cling helplessly to the only thing preventing them from becoming shark food.
A moment later, she almost screamed out loud when she felt a hand on her shoulder.
Ghostwriting fiction tends to be a much longer process than nonfiction, but I’m working hard to complete this incredible story by the end of the year. I’ll post an update soon.