Author Interview With Tara Eisenhard

author interview with Tara EisenhardI have a treat for you today, Escapees. Grab a coffee and get to know Tara Eisenhard, author of a touching book about divorce from a rare point of view.  The D-Word; Divorce Through A Child’s Eyes is a must read for parents and teens alike.

First, thank you Tara, for stopping over and being interviewed for The great Escape blog. I have to tell you right away, I couldn’t put the book down once I started. I also was quite emotional reading it as my heart went out to Gina, her little brother and their father. I don’t want to give too much away. I know my readers will want to hear all about it from you so, let’s get started;

  1. Tell us a little about you. Who is Tara Eisenhard?

I’m a child of divorced parents, an ex-wife and a previous partner of a divorced dad. I’m also a lover of animals, yoga, nature and toast (although I try to limit my carb intake). I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania, and now I live in a small city in Pennsylvania… but my favorite place in the world is Cape Cod (I’m also a Mayflower descendant), and my dream is to someday live in New England.

 

  1. What was the most surprising element of your divorce?

To answer this question, I have to tell a quick story:  My marriage wasn’t good, but I was trudging along day after depressing day. One night my husband came home and suggested we separate. At first, I was livid. I screamed and stomped out of the room. When he met up with me in the office in our home, he asked, “Isn’t this what you want? Don’t you hate me?” I realized then that I really did hate my husband and I wanted nothing more than to get a divorce. That moment of brutal honesty changed everything for us—for the better. From that point on, at least for the most part, we had a very cooperative and respectful divorce process. Ten years later, we’re still friendly. I’m still amazed by how powerful that ‘Moment Of Truth’ was. It brought us to a place of common ground, and the next steps were clear. There was no need to fight anymore.

 

  1. You call yourself a ‘divorce enthusiast/divorce encouragist’. I love that! Tell us what that means.

It means that I refuse to think of divorce as a shameful tragedy. I believe divorce is a solution to a problem, not a problem itself. I learned from personal experience that marital separation presents a multitude of opportunities for families to improve and expand. Thus, I see the change as the beginning of a new chapter. And, I think it’s an event worthy of recognition and respectful celebration.

 

  1. How did you come up with Gina’s story in The D Word?

As a child of cooperatively divorced parents, I grew up thinking divorce was a good thing. When I learned how atypical my experience was, I became very curious. I started reading as much as I could about the topic and I began looking at other “divorced kids” with new eyes. One day I started writing a story about a girl whose parents were getting divorced. To craft the story, I used my own experience coupled with what I’d learned about more traditional divorces. Gina is a lot like me, but her parents are very angry and she feels torn between them. As a result her overall experience is pretty tumultuous.

 

  1. Was The D Word a novel that mixes in some of your own childhood experience?

Some of it, yes. In the beginning, Gina’s story almost mirrors my own. However, her story takes a tragic detour that I escaped, yet is common for many children of divorce.

 

  1. Who did you write the book for?

When the words began to flow, I thought I was writing for the preteen/teenager crowd. I thought I was writing for all the Ginas out there, so they would know they’re not alone. But the more I wrote, I thought about how different the story would be if Gina’s parents knew how she truly felt. I realized then that I wanted parents to read the book too. The D-Word is a story for kids, but it’s also a tool for adults.

 

  1. What are you hoping the reader will get out of your book?

So much human conflict rises from the stories we tell ourselves about a situation, and divorce is no different. When a couple separates, they view themselves and their ex in a certain role:  victim/abuser or hero/badguy, etc. Each person tends to assume that others in their lives are observing the same storyline, but that’s often not exactly the case. So, for parents or other adults, I want them to see a typical divorce from a different perspective. I hope the experience inspires more mindfulness, sensitivity, compassion and communication with children and, ideally, with each other.

My intention for children reading the book is that they can identify with Gina, so they don’t feel alone. There’s also an opportunity for them to expand their own perception and glimpse adult struggles through the process. And finally, I want them to see opportunities and feel hope for an improved outcome.

 

  1. What was your biggest lesson learned from your divorce?

Separating from my husband was like being let out of a cage. I was finally free to do what I wanted to do and be who I wanted to be. I think the lesson is best summed up by that line in the song Already Gone by The Eagles:  “So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains, and we never even know we have the key.”

Oh, I love that line!

 

  1. What was the biggest lesson learned from your parent’s divorce?

By far, the biggest lesson was the idea that divorce is a solution to a problem. As a result of my parents’ divorce, my family expanded, my relationships with each parent improved, and my parents’ relationship with each other improved. I think the divorce was one of the best things to happen in our family.

 

  1. Any advice for women or men starting a divorce today?

There’s so much that I could say, but I’ll make it easy by sharing my GOOD Divorce™ Principles:  G is for setting Goals… O is for Observing the situation without immediate evaluation and judgment… O is for considering all Options before making a final decision… and D is for maintaining your Dignity, as well as protecting the Dignity of your children.

 

  1. Are you working on a new book now or any future projects in the works?

Yes, my next book deals with the same theme from yet another perspective.  I don’t want to give away much more than that.  I’ll tell you, though:  It’s taking years to write because the emotional process is exhausting.

No doubt, the personal process of sharing experiences can be taxing but everyone will benefit from your wisdom. Good luck with your next book, Tara and thanks again, for joining me here!

Author Bio:

As an author, speaker, coach, mediator and ongoing student of divorce, Tara is passionate about sharing her vision and promoting a fresh perspective to allow for healthy healing.  She’s the author of the book The D-Word:  Divorce Through a Child’s Eyes as well as the GOOD Divorce™ Principles and the blog Relative Evolutions. Her work has been featured by DivorceForce, Divorcedmoms.com, Family Affaires, Stepmom Magazine, MariaShriver.com and The Huffington Post.

Author Interview With Tara Eisenhard
Author Tara Eisenhard

You can follow and visit Tara at the following social media:

I’d like to add, if you follow Tara on Instagram, you will LOVE her posts. They’re all so inspiring…

Dear Escapees, please leave a question or comment for Tara.

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31 Replies to “Author Interview With Tara Eisenhard”

  1. Thank you for the introduction to Tara and her book. I love the term divorce enthusiast. Too many people still stay in relationships for all the wrong reasons, when it does ourselves much better to think of it as a solution to a problem.

    1. Thanks Jeri! Yes… divorce is a solution. It’s also an indication of personal growth and change (hopefully for the better). In many ways, it’s a cause for recognition and celebration instead of shame.

  2. This is an IMPORTANT book. I was a teenager when my parents divorced. The thing is, I never saw my parents intimate and I knew they weren’t in love, so it didn’t come as much of a surprise to me. But when events happened that lead to my mom throwing my dad out and then them getting a divorce, it did impact me greatly. And for a long time. Seeing divorce through a child’s eyes is a perspective not often known or shared. Like I said, this is an important book. I wish you much success, Tara!

    1. I’m so sorry Chrys, that it was such a drastic event and without open communication. I think that (communication) can really make a difference. Yes, this book really tells an important story and one that both kids and parents can learn from. I loved it. Thanks Chrys for sharing.

    2. Thank you for sharing your story, Chrys. It’s true that divorce can be a hardship, even when it’s expected and for the best. Unfortunately many couples get stuck in their positions and they believe the divorce is a matter pertaining only to them. Ideally, I’d like to see families approach Divorce as a family. It’s shouldn’t be a war, it’s just a change.

  3. I have always thought that divorce must be a very difficult situation for children who wouldn’t understand anything till they grow up but Tara seems to suggest it wasn’t for her. How old were you Tara, when your parents divorced? Are you a mother? If so, how old were your children when you divorced?

    Just trying to understand the effect on children. Wish you all the success with this book.

    1. I don’t have human children. My ex and I had dogs, which we continued to share in some way for a few years after we split.

      When my parents separated, I was 13 and my sister was 4. My sister missed my dad after he moved out, and she had a harder time understanding because of her age. However, she adjusted quickly. For both of us, the new arrangement was better than having our parents argue under the same roof all the time. We were also lucky because our parents were very cooperative throughout the process and we weren’t placed in the middle. Change is always hard, but in this case it was for the best.

      I’ve written previously about the many struggles of childhood (moving, death/illness in the family, puberty, religion, abuse, etc). These are all issues through which parents support their children and teach them about life. I see Divorce as just another potential life event to add to the list. It’s not something children should be protected from, nor is it a war through which they should become weapons. It’s an opportunity to learn about life and relationships.

    2. It absolutely does have a huge impact, Balroop. Tara had a good experience that’s what makes her point of view so inspiring 🙂 Thanks for your question.

  4. Great questions Lisa and thanks Tara for sharing this very unique perspective that divorce is the solution, not the problem. Most of the time we think divorce is the failure and taboo but as you point out, it can be a healing and freeing force! It can be a new chapter and an opportunity to start anew. It’s so hard to think of divorce in this way for many people and society at large. Do we need another word, a less stigmatized one, for divorce? A word filled with hope, support, encouragement and new beginnings 🙂 ?

    1. YES! I’ve often thought about a new word… something that doesn’t sound like a guillotine. While I’m not good at making up new words (except “encouragist”), I do work to change the language around divorce… saying things like “complete” instead of “failed” marriage. We also need to quit talking about “broken homes” and “single parents” (when the other parent still exists in a child’s life). Our vocabulary says a lot.

  5. This is amazing. And I love the idea that divorce is a solution to a problem–I feel as though so many of today’s relationship issues could be solved if we started to examine them through a different lens.

    Thank you so much for sharing Tara with us–I would absolutely love to read this book, even as someone who hasn’t been touched by divorce. I think there’s absolutely something in here for everyone <3

    1. Thanks, Charlotte! The book is excellent and works well as a cautionary tale. I don’t want to give away the ending…

  6. I do envy people who can remain friends after a divorce. I have seen it, and I guess it is possible. In my case(s) I hated them and never wanted to see them again. I think it can only work if the spouses in question are (1) sane (2) reasonable and (3) non-violent.

    1. I think those are the perfect 3 qualifications! It’s true that it takes two to have a friendly relationship after a split. It also takes two to have a war… which is what my marriage was. I participated in that war for a long time before I realizing that I had the power to shift the dynamic. Friendship takes choice and dedication, but so does engaged animosity.

  7. Hi Tara,

    What an important issue to write about. Divorce can mean a positive change for all concerned if handled well.

    My husband and I met as divorcees with children. He had 3 and I one. As long as people put their children first…all can adapt in time. We became a blended family. Holidays were always child centered with our ex’s at our home. The children felt safe because the adults worked things out and got along with no anger.

    I’ve been divorced from my ex husband for decades, but when he passed this year, it hit me like a ton of bricks. All the kids felt it. I miss him dearly because he was part of our wonderful family.

    -Donna

    1. That’s a beautiful story, Donna. Thank you so much for sharing. And I’m sorry to hear about the passing of your ex. I believe those we’ve loved are always a part of us, and neither divorce nor death can erase their contribution to who we are.

    2. I love your story Donna. It’s so inspiring to hear that divorced couples can continue as a family but in a different way. It takes special people to do that, I think.

  8. Funny – I do live in New England (it was a dream of mine too) and I’m headed to Cape Cod TODAY! We’re going to Truro..
    I’m not divorced and my parents aren’t either, but I do see how it can be a solution to a problem and a celebration even. My husband’s parents had a relatively cooperative divorce and he’s better for it!

    1. So wonderful to hear that about your husband’s family! Our world needs more examples like that.

      Enjoy the Cape! Say hello to the seals 🙂 …and the sharks.

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