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Mary Campisi | Real families aren’t always the ones you know about . . .

May 6, 2011

Mary CampisiA FAMILY AFFAIRWhen a woman’s father dies on his way to the cabin he visited every month, she discovers a secret that threatens everything she’s always held to be true . . .

Several years ago, I read an article about a man who’d kept a secret family for years without anyone’s knowledge.I was fascinated that someone could and would actually do this.That one small article lived in my subconscious for years, emerging occasionally as I considered how a person might achieve this, the effects on the primary family as well as the other family, the pain, the grief, the anger, the emotional, financial and psychological entanglements between the two, and the ultimate question; which was the real family? I became so engrossed with the emotion of the situation that I knew I had to create my own characters and my own story and so emerged A FAMILY AFFAIR.

No matter how much you love them, families can be complicated and challenging – no doubt about it. As I wrote A FAMILY AFFAIR, I explored the dynamics of a less than ideal family and the more I wrote, the more I understood how people get trapped in situations or circumstances that force them to act in ways they normally wouldn’t. I also found some of my own beliefs challenged. Do adult children have a right to know ‘truths’ about a parent that could destroy the relationship with that parent? Who makes that decision? Is it self-less or self-serving? Is it ever acceptable to break the vows of marriage? Is ‘the other family’ ever more real than the legitimate one? If a woman is unfortunate enough to fall in love with the son of her father’s mistress, is she betraying the family? I certainly don’t claim to have answers, but the questions are all interwoven in A FAMILY AFFAIR and make for interesting discussion.

This book was first published by a small press but I’ve recently brought it out in e-book form with a new cover and – being a writer – revisions. I’ve labeled it women’s fiction but don’t be fooled – there’s a dangerously hot guy in there named Nate Desantro and a red hot romance, too!

The first time Nate Desantro meets Christine Blacksworth, it doesn’t exactly go well . . .

In another week or so he’d be able to get back to his own place, back to seclusion, where the loudest noise at night was a flip between a screech owl and a log crackling on the fire. Just the way he liked it. The majority of the human species was nothing but an annoying intrusion on his state of mind and other than the times when he had to interact with them, he preferred to be alone.  Of course, family didn’t fit into that category, just everyone else.  His mother said he was afraid to open up after what happened three years ago.  She was wrong; he didn’t care about Patrice anymore, didn’t even think about her, not since the day the sheriff delivered the divorce papers. Nate heard she was remarried to some bank president in Palm Springs, drove a Lexus now.  Probably silver; she’d always had a fondness for silver.

The doorbell rang again, twice, rapid staccato.  “Hold on, hold on.”  Damn intrusive busy bodies. He reached the front door, preparing the same speech he told all the well-wishers.  My mother’s fine . . . needs her rest . . . she’ll be in touch when she’s up to it. She’d be furious if she had an inkling that he was blowing off people like Father Reisanski and Judge Tommichelli, but hell, did she have to be best friends with half the town?

He opened the door.

It was her.

“Hello.  I’m looking for . . .”

Her voice was softer than he’d imagined, more breathy . . .

“. . .  this is a bit awkward . . . ”

Her eyes were bluer than her picture . . .

“Lily Desantro.  Is she here?”

That brought him around fast. “Who are you?”  Stupid question, but damn if he’d let on he knew who she was.

She hesitated, a split second extra air exchange.  “Christine Blacksworth.  I’m . . . are you Nate Desantro?”

He said nothing.  Let her squirm.

“Is Lily here?”


“May I come in?”  She tried to look around him, into the house, into their lives.

He blocked the door.  “I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

“You . . . you know who I am, don’t you?”

He stared at her, refusing to acknowledge the man or his daughter as hatred seeped through him, brought back the days, months, years, his mother spent alone; four damn days a month for fourteen years.

“You called my mother’s house . . .  about my father.”

Her voice wobbled. Good, feel it, Christine Blacksworth, feel what I’ve felt for the past fourteen years every time I saw your father’s bathrobe hanging in my mother’s closet, saw his razor in her bathroom, his glasses on her nightstand.  Let it strangle you

There you have it. Nate’s smoldering but not in a good way. That comes later :-).  I’d love to hear from you and maybe your thoughts on what makes a family?

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