It was a story more than 30 years in the making — one of domestic violence, the strength of family connections, and the will to persevere in the face of evil.
“Family Matters,” the first “fact-based fiction” by Greenport resident Teresa Taylor, depicts a snapshot of her former life in Brooklyn as a battered wife in a big Italian family.
“I got knocked around quite a bit,” Ms. Taylor said. “And though I eventually ended up with a very good and loving husband, I could never quite forget some of things that happened to me in that first marriage.”
No stranger to writing, the former Southold High School English teacher wrote the first sentences of “Family Matters” as a form of therapy four years ago. She didn’t have ambitious goals about penning a novel, but the short memoir gradually turned into a book based on her experience as a domestic abuse victim with a protective uncle who had it out for her husband. The text also contains fictional references to the mob.
“I think, subconsciously, I just wrote to confront the past,” Ms. Taylor said. “At first it was only a couple pages, but it really got me started.”
The first paragraph of the novel sets the tone for the page-turner.
“The thing was, I could picture my uncle chopping my husband’s head off,” it reads. “Or sending someone else to do it, and then wanting the head as proof. I could visualize a dark SUV pulling up next to Joseph on a slick darkened sidewalk, and his disappearance leaving all of us pretending to guess what happened, even though we’d know.”
Despite the book’s at times embellished and dramatic language, Ms. Taylor said she hopes readers are able to see the message in her novel.
“I hope if a young woman reads this and is having the same kind of issue, she can understand that is OK to ask for help and that it is OK to decide the marriage has to be over,” she said.
Fans are already inquiring about a sequel, but Ms. Taylor said she’s not sure about her future as a novelist.
“I’m not ready to start another book right this minute,” she said. “I think at some point I might. Once I was finished with it, I was delighted and I’d like to get that same feeling of delight again.”
For those interested in hearing more, there will be a reading and book signing at 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 14, at Floyd Memorial Library in Greenport
Family Matters is published by Absolutely Amazing eBooks and is available at absolutelyamazingebooks.com as an eBook ($3.99) or paperback ($14.95). It’s also sold online at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.