My father [sic] in-law has severe mental health issues and a history of violent behaviors, stalking, and delusions. He is medicated, but he is still clearly “off.” My husband’s family has expressed concerns about relapses. He has delusions of grandeur about becoming a big novelist like George R.R. Martin. He gets aggressive when he talks about it. He has been arrested for trespassing at the houses of publishers and literary agents and sending harassing, threatening messages. At a family function, I quietly mentioned that I recently got my book published. I had no idea he was around. Later on, he said that he overheard me and would like the name of my editor, publisher, and agent. I panicked and told him he must have misheard—I haven’t written a book. My husband’s family agreed not to say anything or let anything slip. They agreed that what I did was the best response, because he wouldn’t accept “I’d prefer not to divulge that information” as an answer.
Eventually, he confronted me with the release page for my book, including publisher and agent information. Prudence, what else could I say but that it’s not me? I feel bad playing with his already tenuous sense of reality, but what else can I do? I feel like I’m too far to turn back now. I’m worried that I’m being ableist, but his transgressions are on record, in the family *and* the news, and they are severe. How do I handle this going forward? Do I keep lying? Do I avoid all family gatherings he might be at? Was I wrong for lying in the first place?