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Terri Giuliano Long - What Is Your View on Authority?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Protecting their children comes naturally for Zoe and Will Tyler -
until their daughter Leah decides to actively destroy her own future.

Leah grew up in a privileged upper-middle class world. Her parents spared no expense for her happiness; she had all-but secured an Ivy League scholarship and a future as a star athlete. Then she met Todd.

Leah’s parents watch helplessly as their daughter falls into a world of drugs, sex, and wild parties. While Will attempts to control his daughter’s every move to prevent her from falling deeper into this dangerous new life, Zoe prefers to give Leah slack in the hope that she may learn from her mistakes. Their divided approach drives their daughter out of their home and a wedge into their marriage.

Twelve-year-old Justine observes Leah’s rebellion from the shadows of their fragmented family. She desperately seeks her big sister’s approval and will do whatever it takes to obtain it. Meanwhile she is left to question whether her parents love her and whether God even knows she exists.

What happens when love just isn’t enough? Who will pay the consequences of Leah’s vagrant lifestyle? Can this broken family survive the destruction left in Leah’s wake?


Guest Post:

This was certainly true in my case. My mother was an alcoholic. At least one afternoon a week, when I returned home from school I’d find her passed out on the living room sofa. The elementary school bus brought my younger brother, Ethan, home an hour after me. Before he arrived, I’d clean the house; if I could rouse my mother, I’d help her to bed.

The first time she attempted suicide, I was twelve. I found her on the bathroom floor. At first, I thought she’d passed out. The puddle of blood – maybe she’d cut herself shaving. I was young, naïve. Years later, I realized it was a cry for help. I couldn’t wake her. Terrified, I shredded a hand towel, tied a tourniquet to stanch the bleeding, dialed 9-1-1.

As a teen, I always felt watched. I felt judged.

From behind, I watched the paramedics work on my mother—and I felt their eyes on me. It happened again and again, and always those questioning eyes. I resented the EMTs, their control over me. Resentment of the situation morphed into resentment of authority.

I wanted to be a better parent to my children, make a better home than my parents had given us. Unfortunately, even if we try to escape, our lives are haunted by our parents’ mistakes. Those of us who don’t follow in their footsteps often go too far in the other direction. Either way, the result is the same. We’re still fighting the emotional demons.

When I was a kid, if you’d told me I’d battle addiction one day, I’d have laughed. It started when Justine was a baby. I got pregnant a few months after I had her. My doctor had inserted an IUD at my six-week post-natal visit, so it shouldn’t have happened. My doctor pressed me to abort. If I hadn’t had children, I might have felt differently. I was devastated. After the procedure, he gave me painkillers. They got me through the days.

I kept going back, wheedling, begging for refills. In retrospect, I suppose it was a power game – see who wins, him or me. At the time, I just wanted my fix. I worked his guilt in a big way. I blamed him for the abortion. Obviously, it wasn’t his fault. Getting pregnant with an IUD intact was a fluke. That rarely happened. There was no way he could have known or predicted. But I didn’t care. The truth didn’t keep me from using it against him.

For a while, I was on top. When he finally threatened to cut me off, I freaked out. I screamed, I cried. He left me in the room and called Will. Together, they talked me into checking myself into a hospital. Will’s mom came, stayed with the kids. I was in for two weeks, while they gradually weaned me off the pills. Rested, I came back a new person.

Knock on wood, I haven’t had a problem since. But the possibility is always there, so I have to be careful. I still resist authority. Intellectually, I recognize the need for authority. Without it, people would kill one another. The strong would take advantage of the weak. Of course it’s not an intellectual response. It’s visceral, and those are harder to control.
If I’m driving and a cop pulls me over, I mouth him off. It’s ridiculous and I know it while I’m doing it – I even think about it - but my inner adolescent won’t listen to me.

Anyway, I’ve passed my authority issues to my daughter. Leah’s a good kid at heart. I’m treading lightly. If I don’t push too hard, maybe she’ll escape the demons that haunt me.

Who is Zoe Tyler?
She is Leah’s mother in Terri Giuliano Long’s novel, In Leah’s Wake. Zoe Tyler holds a master’s degree in social work and is employed by Cortland Child Services. She is founder and executive director of “Success Skills for Women on the Move,” a motivational workshop for women seeking life changes. She lives in Cortland, Massachusetts, with her husband, Will, and teenage daughters, Justine, 12, and Leah, 16.

About the author
Terri Giuliano Long is the bestselling author of the novel In Leah’s Wake. Her life outside of books is devoted to her family. In her free time, she enjoys walking, traveling, and listening to music. True to her Italian-American heritage, she’s an enthusiastic cook. In an alternate reality, she might be an international food writer. She lives with her family on the East Coast and teaches at Boston College. In Leah’s Wake is her debut novel.


  1. Anonymous said...:

    That's really inspirational, how she had to overcome that experience. Great guest post! :)

  1. Unknown said...:

    The story sounds so sad. :'( But great guest post and I'm sorry you had to go through all that. :/

  1. Denise Z said...:

    Perfect example of how life experience can turn into a really good book :) Thank you for sharing with us today!

  1. Lili said...:

    Oh gosh, that is such a horrible thing! Growing up with a suicidal alcoholic mother and having to protect her little brother. But she's a good, strong person because of it! It's so respectable to see her turn her bad experiences around and make something positive out of them, like a novel.

  1. Thank you so much for featuring me and In Leah's Book one your site again! And thank you for allowing me to share this guest post from my character, Zoe.

    I very much appreciate everything you have done - and continue to do! - to support authors so wonderfully!

    My best,

  1. Love is an incredibly strong thing, it is a blessed thing. But it is definitely not always enough. Especially with teenagers. I know from experience. This book sounds fantastic, very heartbreaking and emotional, but hopefully uplifting! Thanks for the review!

  1. Susan T. said...:

    What a sad story! I was rebellious as a teen too but for no good reason. Lol!