Saturday, September 06, 2014

Tara Taylor Quinn - There's Always Hope

This weekend at The Pink Heart Society, author Tara Taylor Quinn talks about a problem which effects many women, all over the world. She's living proof it's possible to get out, never too late to reach for your dreams and to find happiness. What's more, she drew from her personal experience to inspire a new series of stories. At the heart of them is a message she believes. And it's one we at the PHS fully endorse.

Never lose hope.

I am a domestic violence survivor.  I never went to a shelter, or a clinic, never saw a therapist or a doctor.  I never told anyone.  I spent two years in the relationship and then fate intervened – a car accident – and I had an opportunity to get out.  

I took it.

For many many years I lived in fear.  I’d heard that the man was not going to let me go.  That he wanted me back.  I went on with my life.  Got married.  Had a beautiful daughter who became the joy of my life.  And I came back to my dream – stated from the time I was fourteen – to write for Harlequin one day.  

In spite of everything that had happened.  I still believed in hope and happiness and love.  

I wrote one book and then another.  I got a rejection letter and then another.  Until the day came that I got The Call.  That was in 1992.  I've been writing for Harlequin ever since and now have more than 70 original titles in print.

Thirty years after the abuse, after a four year separation from my husband, my high school sweetheart, the first boy I ever kissed, contacted me on Classmates.com.  I’d been in love with him at the time of the abuse and hadn't been able to tell him. I thought he’d find me ugly.  Used.  Damaged.  And here he was thirty years later asking me if I remembered him.  Asking what had happened to me back then.

I told him.  

I kept my secret for thirty years.  And then I told him.  

I’d found a place where my secret was safe.  Tim and I have been married seven years now.  My family knows my secret.  They've rallied around me.  And my editors at Harlequin, all being aware, asked me to create a series that revolved around a domestic violence shelter.  I took to the idea as I take to my air.  I could go back.  I could create a place that I needed thirty years ago.  This wasn't going to be just a shelter, but a place where women felt pampered – a place of beauty – a place where they could begin to replace damaged and ugly and negative self-concepts with the idea that they were worthy and beautiful and deserving.  

A place Where Secrets Are Safe.  

The editors took my words for the title of the series.  The title of the shelter is The Lemonade Stand.  The motto – when life hands you lemons, you make lemonade.


This week saw the lunch of the third book in the Where Secrets Are Safe series.  They will be coming out every three or four months into the foreseeable future.  We have nine books in the works so far.  

Residents only stay at the Stand for three or four months, so the books aren't interrelated.  And they aren't all victim stories.  They are stories about the men and the women who come and go from the Stand.  The helpers, the cops and lawyers, and the victims.  The one reason I love coming back, and hope you do too, is for the peace and joy you find in this very unique place set on the California coast.  The gardens are gorgeous.  The rooms are luxurious.  And Your Secrets Are Safe Here!

One in four women are victims of domestic violence.  If you do that math, that means there are a lot of us out there.  Chances are you know someone. If you do, please show your support. One of the most difficult things in that situation, is the feeling of being alone. Let them know, they're not.  All it takes is a word.  A look.  A show of kindness.  It’s completely free and could literally save a life.


Meredith Bennet lives for two people-her husband, Max, and their young son, Caleb. She also lives in fear of her abusive ex-husband, Steve, a man she's been running from for years. She thought she'd finally eluded him. But when it becomes apparent that he's found her, she makes a drastic decision. She goes on the run again-by herself-to protect the people she loves most.

Meredith finds solace and safety in a new identity at The Lemonade Stand, a unique women's shelter. With Steve on the hunt for her and Max desperate to get his wife back, she will discover if love really is stronger than evil.

To find out more about Tara and her books, you can visit her website and follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

If you know someone who needs immediate help in the United States, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.  In the UK the 24 hr number is 0808 2000 247.  

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