The Inspiration behind The Truth She Knew by J.A. Owenby
The Truth She Knew by J.A. Owenby offers an honest and powerful glimpse into mental illness, the meaning of true love, and the psychological waltz that a daughter dances as she endures her mother’s unpredictable emotions, manipulation, and abuse.
A few years ago, I met a friend for lunch (I will refer to her as Jackie). We met on a summer afternoon on the Oregon beach, and she began telling me about her adult daughter and their relationship. Jackie was attempting to repair a fragile and broken connection between them. She carried an enormous amount of guilt concerning her years of undiagnosed schizophrenia and how it affected her daughter. As she talked, I wondered what it would be like for a child to be raised with a mentally ill parent. Would they take responsibility for the parent? Would the child think they had caused the problem? What if no one was in their life helping them understand the truth?
Unfortunately, that was not the only conversation I had concerning mental illness. The more aware I became, the more I realized many suffer from depression, anxiety, bipolar, personality disorders, and more. My novels are not written with the intention of pointing fingers, but to give readers insight.
I wrote this book in hopes of raising awareness concerning issues that are typically discussed behind closed doors, or possibly not at all. The Truth She Knew addresses mental illness, mental and physical abuse, and religious manipulation from an eighteen-year-old daughter’s perspective. I have a soft spot in my heart for young people in their late teens through their early 20’s. I have found, from talking to this age group, that they are often confused by things they have experienced at home and have sometimes blamed themselves when it should not have fallen on their shoulders.
The more research I did, the more intrigued I became. Mental illness affects each individual differently, and one family member might not have the same experience as another. Thankfully, I had access to a few amazing mental health therapists that answered questions and directed me to good reading material. Mental illness is complicated, and one size does not fit all. It is a difficult issue to identify and discuss.
I love creating characters and stories that make you laugh, cry, and cheer as they fall in love for the first time, find their truth, and step into the journey of becoming an adult while dealing with modern social issues. As a contemporary and new adult fiction author, my goal is to entertain, enlighten, and support my readers as they identify with the themes in my books.
Here’s what The Truth She Knew became: For eighteen-year-old Lacey, life at home is a rollercoaster. She doesn’t think she’ll ever be good enough to truly deserve Mama’s love. But when Lacey enters college and meets Walker, everything starts to change. Suddenly, Lacey is face to face with the realization that maybe what she’s always seen as normal really isn’t. Her entire life—and everything she’s ever believed about herself and her family—is abruptly hanging in midair. Lacey is left facing two paths, and she has to make a choice. The first means walking away from everything she’s ever known. The other means never really knowing the truth.
You can read and excerpt here.
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“A bittersweet story of young love, independence, and soul-crushing manipulation. J.A. Owenby shines a light on the impact that mental illness can have on a family.” —Dr. Sheri Kaye Hoff, Ph.D., Professional Life Coach