Today we’re pleased to welcome Nick Lake, author of the There Will Be Lies to Cuddlebuggery! If you’re into thrillers and mysteries, this could be the perfect read for you. Check out his guest post on lies and enter to win a finished copy of his book!
Stories are lies.
When you are writing a story, you are – on a very basic level – making stuff up. Of course there are times when it gets fuzzy, as when you’re writing abut things that really happened, only in a fictional context. That’s why I took the speech marks out of In Darkness, because there were real people in the book, not least of them Toussaint l’Ouverture, and I didn’t want to imply that they actually said the words I put in their mouths. Incidentally I never quite brought myself to put speech marks back in to any subsequent books, though they do make a reappearance in the book I’m writing right now, for a very specific reason, on which more in a whole other blog post…
Anyway. I make stuff up – and edit the stuff other people make up – for a living. So it was interesting to me to write a book that is, in a sense, all about lies. Don’t get me wrong: Shelby, who tells the story of There Will Be Lies, is not going to lie to you. Everything she tells you is true, so far as she is aware. (I am saying “so far as she is aware” rather than “so far as she knows” for a deliberate reason.) Like any self-respecting former English major, I love an unreliable narrator, but I’m not really interested in writing them. Still, an awful lot of what Shelby is told in the course of the book, an awful lot of what she already believes when the book begins, is a lie, and it’s the lies that drive the twists in the book.
The story begins with Shelby, living at home in Arizona in a very protected environment with her single mother. She’s home schooled, she doesn’t go out, she’s been taught to fear men. Her father died long ago. Then Shelby gets hit by a car and, lying on the kerb, sees a coyote appear between buildings. The coyote says, “There will be two lies, and then there will be the truth, and that will be the worst of all”. Shelby wakes up in hospital, her ankle injured, and pretty soon her mom is whisking her out of there, and into a hired car with all their belongings. She tells Shelby that her father is really alive, wants to kill them, and can find them now that the hospital know their names. But that’s just the first lie…
Meanwhile, Coyote keeps appearing to Shelby, keeps taking her to a strange world called the Dreaming where she is meant to kill a Crone who has captured the First Child. You could think of it as an Arizona road trip thriller with SWAT teams and guns and knives and cabins in the woods, crossed with a fairytale.
All this of course you can find out from reading the book, including the truth that is the worst thing of all. For the purposes of this blog post I wanted just to tell you something weird.
And that something weird is:
I can’t lie.
Really. And I don’t know that it’s something I’ve ever talked about before, apart from with my wife. But here’s what happened: something happened, in my early 20s, and since then I have been unable to lie. Like, really unable to lie. I can say things in a roundabout way. I can omit things. But I can’t directly say something that is untrue. Let me tell you, this is a nightmare at work.
And the really weird thing: it was after this happened that I started to write, that I started to make stuff up for a living – I can lie like crazy on the blank page of a word document, invent people and situations and stories and events seemingly endlessly.
It’s like a fairytale but in real life, what happened to me.
Only this leads me to a realization: fairytales are real life. Or at least, the things we think of as magical can be very real. Words can make spells. It is absolutely possible to curse someone, if you choose the right things to say. It is possible to bless someone, with a thanks, with forgiveness. And it is possible for someone to wake up unable to lie. In fact I’d go so far as to say that fairytales exist, in part, to teach us truths that we can’t learn from science. Mythos, rather than logos – the knowledge that comes from allegories and fables.
There is a truth, apprehended by storytellers from pretty much every culture in the world, in the idea that something was lost, some primal connection to existence, when humanity developed consciousness, whether you believe in the story of Eden or not. This is something only a story can express. A truth can be wrapped in a “lie” and still be the truth. Maybe this is why I can’t lie to people anymore, have to step around things if I can’t say them out loud, but I can put down stories on paper.
So actually, stories are not lies. Stories are things that are not necessarily true, that didn’t necessarily happen, but are still true, in a deeper way.
Stories are true.
In four hours, Shelby Jane Cooper will be struck by a car.
Shortly after, she and her mother will leave the hospital and set out on a winding journey toward the Grand Canyon.
All Shelby knows is that they’re running from dangers only her mother understands. And the further they travel, the more Shelby questions everything about her past—and her current reality. Forced to take advantage of the kindness of unsuspecting travelers, Shelby grapples with what’s real, what isn’t, and who she can trust . . . if anybody.
Award-winning author Nick Lake proves his skills as a master storyteller in this heart-pounding new novel. This emotionally charged thrill ride leads to a shocking ending that will have readers flipping back to the beginning.
Thanks to Bloomsbury, we have a hardcover copy of There Will Be Lies up for give away!
- To enter, please fill out the Raffelcopter form below.
- We ask that all entrants be at least 13 years or older to enter.
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- When the winners are chosen, it will be announced here and the winners will be emailed.
- Please enter your email address in the Rafflecopter form and not the comments.