Things Unsaid

Things Unsaid cover

THE BOOK: Things Unsaid.

THE AUTHOR: Diana Y. Paul.

PUBLISHED IN: October 2015, but pre-publication copies are available.

THE PUBLISHER: “She Writes Press, a three-year old indie press located in Berkeley, California and founder of is dedicated to women authors and building a community of support for them. They publish approximately fifty books per year and have extensive professional experience from Seal Press. They are phenomenal!”

SUMMARY: A family saga of three generations fighting over money and familial obligation, Things Unsaid is a tale of survival, resilience, and recovery.

Jules, her sister Joanne, and her brother Andrew all grew up in the same household—but their varying views of and reactions to their experiences growing up have made them all very different people. Now, as adults with children of their own, they are all faced with the question of what to do to help their parents, who insist on maintaining the upscale lifestyle they’re accustomed to despite their mounting debts. A deft exploration of the ever-shifting covenants between parents and children, Things Unsaid is a ferocious tale of family love, dysfunction, and sense of duty over forty years.

Diana Y. PaulBACK STORY: When I was a professor at Stanford, teaching Buddhist philosophy and therole of women in Buddhism, I thought a lot about the differences between family obligation and karma as contrasted with western traditions. I always wanted to write a novel in which the main character struggles with both value systems. It evolved as my friends and I began to deal with tough choices: aging parents with Alzheimer’s, dementia, or other health problems and one’s own family’s needs. Things Unsaid is the result of approximately three years of intensive writing.

WHY THIS TITLE?: The original title was Unhealed Wound, also the title of my blog. On my blog site, under the tab “Why Unhealed Wound”, I give the reasons for selecting that title and its meaning for the mythic hero: Harry Potter’s scar on his forehead, for example, or Frodo’s wound in Lord of the Rings, as well as its symbolism in Buddhism. She Writes Press changed the title to Things Unsaid, far less academic and more to the essence of the story. The new title suggests family secrets as well as the damage inflicted. I like that title much better, since Unhealed Wound may be a bit obscure for those who are not familiar with mythology.

WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT:  Choosing between parents and one’s own family is never easy, but now it is almost an epidemic since life expectancy is extending into never-before-seen advanced age. Things Unsaid deals with those issues that the sandwich generation—pressured between competing loyalties—has to confront. Most of my friends have had to deal with heartbreaking decisions. So did I. This is a fictional account with emotional truth. I placed it in the late fifties and sixties since that generation was a tumultuous one, the “Mad Men” times. I was a little girl during the sixties and grew up in the Midwest, the time and place for Things Unsaid, when our parents led separate lives and we had “shadow” dads. Think: “August: Osage County” meets Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant with an overlay of Buddhist karma.

AUTHOR PROFILE: Diana Y. Paul was born in Akron, Ohio with a Japanese American father and an Italian Catholic mother. She is a graduate of Northwestern University, with a degree in both psychology and philosophy, and of the University of Wisconsin–Madison, with a PhD in Buddhist studies. She is the author of three books on Buddhism, one of which has been translated into Japanese and German (Women in Buddhism, University of California Press). Her short stories have appeared in a number of literary journals and she is currently working on a second novel, A Perfect Match. She lives in Carmel, CA with her husband, Doug, and two cats, Neko and Mao, and various wild critters in the nearby canyon. Diana and Doug have two adult children: Maya Miller, who is in the wine industry and has two little girls and Keith Paul, who is an underwriter for an insurance company in the entertainment division. When she is not writing, she is creating mixed media art which has been exhibited in California, Hawaii, and Japan.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: I have always been fascinated by the family in all of its permutations, both humorous and emotionally shattering. Hopefully, in Things Unsaid, I have combined a bit of both. Mostly, it is about how the best of intentions can still have unintended consequences. We all come from imperfect families and the dramas on television, in the movies, and in literature confirm that family saga and family peculiarities will always intrigue us and hook us in. I wrote Things Unsaid as another example of the surprises of a particular family in a specific time and place we can all understand.


Things Unsaid is a powerfully written story that explores the moral dilemma of love, duty and sacrifice for the family you are born into versus the family you create as an adult. Jules, the well-etched protagonist, seeks to find her way through the tangled tentacles of her mother’s narcissism, her father’s weakness, and her siblings’ secrets and selfishness. This tale of relationships grabs you on the first page and stays with you long after you’ve read the last words.” — Matilda Butler, award-winning author of Rosie’s Daughters.

“At first blush it appears to be a classic dysfunctional-family novel. Yet Things Unsaid is written by a scholar of Buddhism. And so, under its skin, it is a lively, accessible meditation on redemption, and on the transformative value of good intention and deed.” — Rebecca Coffey, science journalist and author of Hysterical: Anna Freud’s Story.

“A satisfying and provocative read, THINGS UNSAID is wisely contemplated, meticulously detailed, and powerfully and artfully rendered. A wonderful book, well worth your attention.”– Tom Parker, author of Small Business and Anna Ann Annie

“A bold and poignant story that brings deep insights into the messy and complicated world of family relationships, and shows how one woman is able to survive them with her sanity and spirit intact.” —Wendy Nelson Tokunaga, author of Love in Translation and His Wife and Daughters.

SAMPLE CHAPTER: Also see my author website for an excerpt:

LOCAL OUTLETS: In discussion with Bookworks (Pacific Grove), Pilgrim’s Way and River House Books (Carmel), and Bookshop Santa Cruz (Santa Cruz). Major distributors will provide to bookstores nationwide.

WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Things Unsaid –The publication date is October 13 with preorders now available on for $13.13 ($3.82 savings over the retail price of $16.95) and at Barnes & Noble for $12.86 ($4.09 savings). The e-book will be $6.95 but is not available as a pre-order.



Twitter: @DianaPaul10 Author website:


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Recently retired after 35 years with the News & Advance newspaper in Lynchburg, VA, now re-inventing myself as a novelist/nonfiction writer and writing coach in Lake George, NY.

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