Interview with Lurleen Hilliard

When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I generally am working with victims of abuse, whether it is Domestic Violence or Child Abuse. I am on call 24/7 for them, and on the radio show Stop Child Abuse Now Mon-Fri with the team at and on a Sunday Night with them for the Community Matters Show. I am the Guest Co-Ordinator with the show for the Stop Child Abuse Now and all this work which is totally voluntary keeps me busy.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
This is the first story that I have ever written, but it won't be my last as a lot more still to be told. It was easy to write as it was my story, my life so I didn't have to think of a dialogue or setting it was simply my life and that of my four sons for far too many years.
How do you approach cover design?
That was easy enough as I had an image in my mind that I wanted to portray. Initially it was a shadow behind a half open door not knowing whether to walk out the door or to close it. The reason for this thinking is simple, as behind closed doors so much abuse goes on hidden from the outside world. We wonder if we should tell and if we do will we be believed, I couldn't find what I wanted so the image of a woman looking out from behind a window to me, was a reflection of myself looking out on the world when I was a victim of my abuser.
What do you read for pleasure?
I enjoy reading true crime books and stories, even those in magazines. I read a lot actually every night before bed I will read something, but those that are true life and in particular stories of how other victims have escaped their abuser and that life, are the books, magazines that I really enjoy to read.
Describe your desk
Too small, very crowded and definitely untidy. But it is my mess so I know where everything is on the desk, even if it is totally chaotic to others.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Dublin in Ireland, I had a normal family life and never suffered Child Abuse. But I had very low self esteem and my mam in particular was partly to blame for that, but I suppose the person who influenced me most in life was my late dad. He died in my arms, but when he was alive he was very well known and respected in Ireland and spoke out against situations or people that he felt where in the wrong. He didn't care if all hated him, as if something had to be said he said it. So in a way his courage gave me strength eventually to speak out about my own abuse.
When did you first start writing?
Not until February of this year so I am very new to this process and still learning. But I am a fast learner and have amazing supportive friends
What's the story behind your latest book?
It is my life of abuse, as a victim of Domestic Abuse, Physical, Mental, Verbal and Sexual. I lived with my husband for far too many years as his victim, he had more affairs than hot dinners. Was an Alcoholic and also dealt drugs unknown to me. He was very abusive verbally to all my children but in particular to one he was physically abusive, as he would fight back and stand up for me. To this day my son now 18 is still my protector and is known as Rambo for many reasons, but partly surviving death so many times. If we can become survivors of abuse than so can anybody. It is a hard long road but a road that is well worth taking, as abuse kills who you are in life, whether a Man or Woman as both are victims and both can be Abusers. But becoming a survivor gives you your life back and it is a great feeling when that happens.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy is simple, telling my story and knowing that it will help other victims to escape their life of abuse a lot sooner than I did and that all profits from the book will go to open the Sanctuary All Haven Sanctuary in Ohio, which is a totally new concept for shelters and we will accept all, Men, Women,Children and Teenagers are welcome and all will be helped to become survivors.
What do your fans mean to you?
I don't class people as fans, as personally I am nobody special in my eyes. I am a survivor of abuse that has a big mouth and is using it to help other victims of abuse. But those that are my friends on all the social sites mean the world to me. As it is because of them that I am so determined to help others, I have seen how I can help them and support them and how they support each other. The feeling of knowing that you have managed to save somebody from a life of abuse is a feeling that I can not explain, but is the best in the world. My friends on all my pages mean the world to me, they are my new family and I am theirs.
What are you working on next?
The book is called the Boy With Nine Lives. It is about my son Rambo who is my protector and who always has been. He should be dead many times and yet always survives even a coma that was meant to be non returnable from. He is a walking miracle. So along with the Sanctuary the book is my next project however the Sanctuary in Ohio is priority as it is badly needed by all.
Published 2013-11-03.
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