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  • Writer's pictureJanice Selbie

Family Secrets

Updated: May 10, 2023

Jessica Barksdale - Family Secrets

CW: CSA, sexual coercion

Author JESSICA BARKSDALE has written 16 books, including novels and poetry, with a short story collection coming out this year. She currently teaches a course for UCLA Extension on novel writing. The subject of Jessica’s most recent novel, What the Moon Did, resonates with stories I’ve heard from clients in my counselling practice.

Themes in this book include adolescence, vulnerability, coercion, and family secrets, with the underlying message summarized as: No matter how we try to hide our pasts, the truth finds its way to the surface, sometimes in devastating ways. Many of us raised in fundamentalist religious families felt the pressure to keep secrets in order to protect reputations. One thing we didn’t know about, though, was the concept of consent.

ABOUT JESSICA: Jessica Barksdale’s sixteenth novel What the Moon Did was published February 2023 by Flexible Press. Her short story collection Trick of the Porch Light is forthcoming in 2023. She’s published two poetry collections: When We Almost Drowned (2019) and Grim Honey (2021). She taught at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, California and continues to teach for UCLA Extension and in the online MFA program for Southern New Hampshire University. Website:

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