I began writing, as a child. I would write very dark poems when I was on my own, poems of fear and terror, all sad, all scary and all very low. Life in my family was scary, confusing and lonely. As I grew older, I didn’t try and make sense of my life, I accepted it.
In my first marriage, the legacy of the abuse, the thing that led me down the path of dependency, was always present, always holding me back from being the person I knew I could be under different circumstances. But never had the strength, courage or ability to find. This marriage, although to a lovely man, was only consummated twice, one time resulting in my pregnancy with Melissa. The doctors, who knew by now that I was having problems making love, said that this sometimes happens, when sex is not a regular thing. The reason so many women and girls become pregnant the very first time they make love. As readers will know, this marriage to Robert, failed, mainly because of the lack of the physical side and also because the love I felt for this kind gentle man, was more brotherly than as a wife and partner. We parted friends, although he wanted to stay married. I didn’t feel it was fair to him.
A few relationships later that again readers will know about, after a marriage that should never have happened, I began to write I DID TELL I DID but under the name of TELL YESTERDAY GOODBYE. This was in the 80’s.My story, through a friend, was sent to the local evening paper and they did an article on me and antidepressants. I knew then that one day I would write it all, tell it as it was so to speak.
This didn’t happen, life got in the way I suppose but eventually, feeling stronger, in a loving lasting relationship and with the blessing of my two daughters, Melissa and Lucy, I wrote my autobiography. In 2009, I sent it to a leading publisher Harper Collins who signed me up and I DID TELL I DID was published, and immediately became a Sunday Times bestseller. At first, it was to be written under my own name, something I wanted. I had the blessing of the family of the man who had abused me all of my life, the only people this book could affect, they said I was ‘to go for it, name and shame’. After a few months, after I had told everyone involved and my friends and family, the legal team at Harper Collins told me I had to choose a pseudonym. Cassie Harte was born.
My story focused on my childhood, although I was upset at having to leave out the most important reason I was telling my story, the dependency, I was so happy to have become a published author. I DID TELL was one of the first CSA stories out there. It did and still is selling well after 6 years. To date having sold around 98,000 copies. Something I am very proud of. From letters, messages, emails and reviews I am happy that it has helped so many going through the same trauma I suffered, helping victims to become survivors. That was the reason for me telling my story.
I wrote both books in the only way I know how. From my memories, the legacies and the truth. I write in the context of my life as it was at that time. It was only ever to be my story, not that of my family, my friends or anyone else. I had no right to tell of their lives, to disclose personal things about them, except to allow the readers to picture them and know some of where they were in my life .How they were treated by the people who caused me so much harm. The woman they called my ‘mother’ and the man they called my ‘uncle’. Looking back now, after the things that have happened over the past few months, this was misplaced loyalty to my younger sister Anne.
During writing my life-story, I wrote using the language I remembered things in. I spoke my life as it happened, what is entrenched in my memory. I could have written so much more about my siblings, especially Anne but chose not to for the reasons above. Readers have asked about them, one reviewer even said it would have been good to tell of their lives but I didn’t feel I had the right. But that has changed. Anne and Melissa have changed that.
Tom, Rosie and Ellen stayed in touch with me after I was thrown out of ‘home’ at 19 to marry Robert. Tom and Rosie came to our wedding and we never lost touch with each other, neither did Ellen and I. Anne was in our lives for a few years, she became pregnant at 14 and I helped her through that difficult time, even though it meant facing the woman they called my ‘mother’. There are many things I could tell you about Anne that would not make pleasant reading and I am tempted to do so, here, today. But I will leave that for another book maybe.
Over the past few weeks, I realise that I owe no loyalty to anyone but Daniel, Lucy, my half-brothers and myself. Little Cassie is hurting but grown Cassie is fighting back.
It seems it has taken far too long for me to accept that I have a birth family who do not understand loyalty, honesty, integrity or love. I always knew this really of the woman they called my ‘mother’ and Anne but never would have believed this of Rosie, and still don’t really and certainly would not have believed that Melissa could have been taken in my the lies spilling out of Anne’s mouth. But now Anne has succumbed to yet another level, lowest of the low. Again, readers know, Rosie cannot read or write. Today she would be special needs and I have always loved her more because of how she has coped. She and I have always been close but Anne has stepped in and somehow ruined this. Using Rosie’s inability to read, which in itself is unforgivable and telling her of evil lies I have ‘written’ about William, my Dad and Tom, on Facebook. Tom knows nothing of what I was supposed to have said even though Rosie says he ‘read it’. He also has no computer and doesn’t use one as he never leaves his home. But although Rosie should know me better, Anne has poisoned her mind, just to try and make me as alone as I was as a child. The same way she has with my eldest daughter. She is there with them, visiting them often whilst I am many many miles away, a 6 hour journey each way and can’t get down to them very much especially now for health reasons.
So, I could have included the ‘bits left out’ in my books but I chose not to. I still feel that was right as the story of my life is just that, my life. But this loyalty to family has backfired. Over the past 6 years I have received 48 reviews, on Amazon.co.uk, almost all 5 star, and 35 five star reviews on Amazon.com on I DID TELL I DID and replied to each one. None of these were negative and most wanted to read my second book. In the past year I have received 16 Five Star reviews on NOBODY TOLD ME so that says it all really. Again I replied to each one and said thank you. I am always grateful to any reader who takes the time to write a review on my work. If I had a genuine poor or bad review I would reply to the reader and be interested in what they thought. During the phone-call to Rosie, she said ‘they’ would bad mouth me over the Internet, something she wouldn’t understand, and make people realise ‘what I was like’. Next thing I know, I have a 1 star review on I DID TELL and also on NOBODY. They were both written anonymously by the same person. Guess who? A cowardly thing to do, if a review is genuine, if it is how a reader feels, then I am okay with that and I would hope they would leave their names. But we both know who this ‘anonymous’ is. Amazon, seeing the first one for what it was, removed it. The second I have left because other readers, to whom I am very grateful, have commented and put this right. Thankyou.
Why have I written this? Firstly to let them know, that I know what they are doing and to assure them they won’t win. To say write wherever and whatever you want to write, freedom of speech and from today, I will do the same.
Secondly to ask any reader who has not yet written a review on either of my books, to please do so if you can, make it honest, say it as it is, as I do and I will reply. Authors depend on these reviews and appreciate them, whatever they say. Thank you for reading this today. Have a wonderful week ahead. x