Friday, September 24, 2010

Must Watch Friday: The Mirror Has Two Faces

Please welcome Tara Taylor Quinn to the blog today as she chats about a very special actress and a very special movie....

I’m not big into movies or TV. I’m not big into celebrities and didn’t even know who Hugh Jackman was until I saw his bare backside on Broadway and everyone I was with made such a big deal about the experience. (I was with Romance Writers, of course!) But there are a few entertainers that stand out because of their unique talents. First and foremost, of any person I would ever want to meet in the entertainment world, is Barbra Streisand. I admire Ms. Streisand for so many reasons. I grew up listening to her voice. My folks were fans. One of the first movies I can remember seeing in the theater was “The Way We Were” with Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford. I was barely a teenager when that movie came out but I can remember my friend and I going to that movie multiple times. I remember the theater. The parking lot. I remember my father driving us there and us talking about how much we were going to cry, and him being baffled and wondering why on earth we wanted to go if we already knew it was going to make us cry. My father didn’t get teenaged girls. Clearly.

Back then I was still young enough to associate the character an actor played with the actor. Barbra Streisand played the part of a woman who had her own mind. Her own beliefs. Her own passions. And she risked everything, including being a good man’s woman, to be who she was. To live true to herself. That was who I wanted to be. I was different, and that movie told me that was okay. That I could step forward and live true to myself. Ms. Streisand solidified my admiration for her many years later. I was an adult when Yentl came out. The movie wasn’t a huge box office hit. But it was a huge hit with me. Ms. Streisand not only acted in that movie, she directed, produced and helped write the movie. She sang in the movie. And again, she played the part of a woman who didn’t conform to who society told her she had to be. Instead she dared to be true to herself. To follow her own convictions. Her own heart. By the time Yentl came out I was old enough to distinguish between an actress and her character, but in this case, the admiration was for both. Ms. Streisand dared to put herself on the line with that movie. She showed that she could do far more than act, or sing. She could write. She could direct. She could produce. She could sing. And act. And she could do it all at once. She was a woman that did not take no for an answer. A woman who followed the dictates of her heart to the farthest reaches. And the character she played did the same.

One other Barbra Streisand movie became far more than just a movie to me. “The Mirror Has Two Faces.” I watch this movie over and over. I can’t ever get enough of it. Because it is so true. In “The Mirror Has Two Faces” Ms. Streisand plays the part of a woman who is wholly confident in her professional life. She is a college professor and she has the courage to tackle the toughest of subjects with complete ease. She is admired and adored by her students. She is the pinnacle – the place every professor would want to be with a full lecture hall and students who are engrossed in the subjects she presents to them, students who participate wholly and completely. And at home, this same woman is what most of us would label a complete loser. She’s nearly middle aged and still lives with her mother and hides calorie laden processed cupcakes in her bedroom drawers.

To me, this is life. We all have different sides of our characters. We might excel in one area and in another, be completely vulnerable. As a writer, as Tara Taylor Quinn, I am more like Ms. Streisand’s professor. I am Tara Taylor Quinn. I’ve written fifty four books. My books continue to sell. And yet, ask me to attend a party and I’m likely to have a chapter due. Ask me to go next door to borrow sugar and I’m likely to figure out I can live the rest of my life without sugar. I am two people in one. My mirror has two faces.

People always ask me if I am in my books. They want to do know if I’ve done what my heroes and heroines have done. Mostly, I tell them, unequivocally, no. But it occurs to me as I write this that my heroine in The First Wife – Harlequin Superromance, September, 2010 – is a lot like Ms. Streisand’s character in “The Mirror Has Two Faces.” She’s a lot like me. The first wife, Jane Hamilton is completely confident in her professional life. She’s the managing editor of a successful women’s magazine. She has good rapport with her staff. And with her boss. But there are parts of Jane that are the complete opposite of confident and successful. Parts she’s kept hidden away, even from herself. There’s a place where Jane is so vulnerable she doesn’t even let herself see that the place exists. She’s pushed it so far inside herself she doesn’t know its there. The problem is, her inability to face those parts of herself are robbing her of any chance of living life outside of her career. The face she allows herself to see in her mirror is blind to her other face. The face in her mirror is locking her in a prison of career and success and robbing her of any chance at deep love and commitment. Robbing her of the chance to be a parent. To have close personal relationships.

A lot of Ms. Streisand’s movies ended on bittersweet notes. The endings were satisfying – but not particularly happy. Every single time I came out of “The Way We Were” I was sobbing. And they weren’t tears of joy. But “The Mirror Has Two Faces” is different. It has an ultimate last scene. One that made me cry – tears of joy. I hope readers have the same kind of reaction as they turn the last page in The First Wife.

This post is brought to you as part of The Chapman Files International Blog Tour. Over the next three months, as we celebrate The Chapman Files, expert witness psychologist, Kelly Chapman and I are going to be asking for help. If you can, join us in our fight against Domestic Abuse. Since February of this year, the United States’ first battered women’s shelter, Strengthen Our Sisters is down $400,000.00 in donations. Some of the staff members are working without pay as they struggle to pay mortgages on ten houses filled to capacity and keep their women and children housed and safe. If you’d like to help, click here to go directly to a secure paypal sight.

There’s an item from our new book, The First Wife, hidden on the tour with us. Guess the item to enter the drawing to win it! Today’s clue: I could contribute to it. Send all guesses to To see previous clues visit blog sites listed at We have correct guesses!!! Keep them coming!

Don’t miss The Chapman File tour party on December 4th at! Tour prize winners will be announced!

E-books of all of The Chapman File Stories are available for pre-order at

Next tour stop: Wednesday, September 29, 2010. Storybroads We hope to see you there! The more blogs you visit with us, the more chances you have to win! Every time you comment your name is dropped in the bag for the prize drawings.

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  1. Hi ttq!

    TMHTF holds a special place in my marriage, as Lynda loves the movie, plus, we used the song "I Finally Found Someone" (Bryan Adams & Barbra) as our "entering the reception" song.

    No one in my family growing up were big Streisand fans, but great artists are always known to be great, so she was admired none-the-less.

    The duality of our lives, the "public" vs. "private" face, is present in each of us. However, I would venture to guess that being a writer gives you the freedom to explore both sides of life in your work, mingling the two as needed. Through the looking glass, indeed.

  2. Kachup,

    The trick is to mingle the sides, not to let one rule one side while the other rules the other. Haven't found that balance yet! But the mirror is always there, staring me in the face.

    How strange yet again that something that speaks to me, is also meaningful to Lynda and to you.

  3. Afternoon Tara,
    I love Barbra Streisand, always have. She has a one of a kind voice, you can feel the passion when she sings.

  4. I know -- that's yet another reason your blog-tour is so much fun to follow!! It's like opening a present every day.

    What a great comparison between a favorite movie and your book. I always wondered how writers using completely different pen names dealt with multiple "realities," but it makes perfect sense that the duality exists between a professional and a private self as well. And you are so spot-on about both endings.

    Thanks again for another thought-provoking post - a terrific send-off into the weekend.

    Have a great weekend!

  5. Darla,

    I can pick Barbra's voice out anywhere anytime. She's like a Picasso or a Michelangelo...


    And I look forward to your posts...And found it very cool that The Mirror Has Two Faces held special meaning for you, too. No mistake about that