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Guest Post | Exploring the Stories that Live Behind Closed Doors | Kim Lock

Today I have the honour of welcoming Kim Lock to the blog.

Her second novel, Like I Can Love, was released in March this year by Pan MacMillan Australia and there have been some rave reviews about it, including mine (find it here).

Unlike her first novel, Peace, Love and Khaki Socks (my review here), Kim severely changes tack in Like I Can Love, daring to venture into much darker territory to explore not only domestic abuse in one of its most subtle forms – along with the grief left in its wake – but also to unravel the relationships between mothers and daughters and the life-changing secrets we all keep.

Having regard to those aspects of the story, I asked Kim if she’d put together a piece about exploring the tales that develop behind closed doors – and she’s done a brilliant job of this post.

Welcome Kim and thank you for contributing this insightful post.

Born in 1991, Kim has worked around Australia as a graphic designer and also volunteered as a breastfeeding counsellor.

Her non-fiction has appeared in The Guardian, Daily Life, and The Sydney Morning Herald online.

Her fiction explores the stories that shape people’s lives, but that they hide from society.

Kim lives in the Barossa Valley, South Australia, with her partner and their children, a dog and a couple of cats.

Like I Can Love is available for purchase from the following links:

 

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There’s myth about the average nuclear family, and that myth is this: that ordinary people don’t have remarkable stories to tell.
Sometimes, people do publicly remarkable things. They become presidents, politicians, actors and artists, scientists who discover causes and cures. Some people become celebrities, their faces recognised around the world.

 

But most of the time, people are simply regular people, with faces only their family and friends will know. And yet their stories can be equally as interesting, challenging, provocative, and amazing.

 

Beneath the surface of any family you will find a rich vein of endlessly fascinating narrative. Skeletons in closets. Unknown half-siblings. Hidden parentage. Estrangements, dalliances and oppressions.

 

Recently, a friend found out that she has an older half-sister. And when I say ‘older’, I mean only several months older. For three decades it was kept secret from her and her siblings that not long before their parents married, their father had a love affair with ‘another’ woman. The ‘other’ woman’s parents disapproved of this affair and forbade further contact. Bereft, my friend’s father turned to their mother, who also fell pregnant, and whose parents happened to be staunch Catholics and insisted on marriage. For decades this story was kept hush-hush. Eventually, their father’s guilt became unbearable and he made his admission and in doing so, opened their family up to a world of hurt. But the biggest reaction was: Why have you kept this from us? And ironically, the reason for the secrecy was to protect them from hurt.

 

See what humans do there?

 

Because we humans are intensely social, gregarious animals, it is inevitable that within our lifetimes we will have an infinite number of interactions with others – friendships, sexual trysts, monogamous couplings, promiscuity, falling-outs, fights, losses. Goals and dreams and ideals. The minutiae of our interactions with others simply cannot be boxed into a set of socially-constructed dos and do nots without variation.

 

Often these social constructs are for our protection and cohesion. Our social boundaries and rules can keep us safe from exploitation, and allow us to abhor things like abuse and crime.

 

But sometimes these constructs can cause us pain. Because adhering to relatively narrowly-defined social constructs that have hung on for centuries for religious or political reasons, simply will not suit the full, wondrous breadth of human behaviour. And so we hide what we believe are ‘indiscretions’, but are often little more than beautifully, biologically normal human expressions. From beautifully, biologically normal people.

 

Sometimes, in efforts to maintain social structure people punish themselves. People grow ill or sadly hurt themselves or others. Pride is a normal part of human self-esteem, but what wounds that pride – or drives our need to maintain it – is the fear of what others will think.

 

Humans are fascinating, complex, complicated, social creatures with a range of weird and wonderful behaviours. Our ability to cause each other unimaginable heights of pain, pleasure and everything in between – sometimes without even physically touching each other – is what makes us human.

 

For as long as humans have walked the earth, we have told our history through stories. From a snatch of gossip whispered in one ear, to tales painted on cave walls, to bestselling international biographies: humans love to hear a story. And equally, they love to tell stories.

 

Although just as often, they like to hide them.

 

Everyone has a story to tell. Even the most unassuming people and families have fascinating, tragic, hilarious, and inspiring tales. And it is through listening unreservedly to each other’s stories that we have the opportunity to grow.

 

About the Book

Like I Can Love - Kim Lock - Book CoverOn a hot January afternoon, Fairlie Winter receives a phone call. Her best friend has just taken her own life.

Jenna Rudolph, 26 years old, has left behind a devoted husband, an adorable young son and a stunning vineyard. But Fairlie knows she should have seen this coming.

Yet Fairlie doesn’t know what Jenna’s husband Ark is hiding, nor does she know what Jenna’s mother Evelyn did to drive mother and daughter apart all those years ago.

Until Fairlie opens her mail and finds a letter. In Jenna’s handwriting. Along with a key.

Driven to search for answers, Fairlie uncovers a horrifying past, a desperate mother, and a devastating secret kept by those she loves the most.

Heartbreaking and terrifying, Like I Can Love explores love in all its forms – from the most fragile to the most dangerous – and the unthinkable things we do in its name.

If you would like further information on Kim and her books, please visit the following links:

Pan MacMillan   Kim Lock Australian Author and Writer

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