Author on the Couch: Tara Harlow

This week’s Author on the Couch is…

Tara Harlow



Tara is giving away a $10 Amazon Gift card! Be sure to enter below!


Me: Tell me about an experience that had a profound impact on your life.

Tara: Having my first child. Not only did I have the pressure of taking care of this little human, but my husband also went back to school. He had to get a third shift job at the hospital so he would have time for classes and clinicals during the day (without sleeping). We never saw each other. I had a terrible time with depression and my husband and I fought every time we had ten minutes together. I felt so alone. Writing became my therapy. Slowly I pulled myself out of that dark pit. My writing turned into this promise to my son. If you really want to do something then don’t let anything hold you back, including yourself. I’d always wanted to write, but have really bad self-esteem. It kept me from thinking I could. Suddenly I had this little person and I wanted him to see me as more. I wanted him to see me as stronger than I was. I don’t want either of my children (now I have two sons) to think they aren’t good enough to go after their dreams. I also want to show them things don’t always come easy, but it is so worth the hard work.

Enter to #win a $10 #Amazon Gift Card from @TaraHarlow. #AmWriting #AmReading Click To Tweet

Me: What personality trait of yours helps you most as an author?

Tara: Optimism. It’s weird because I can go really deep into depression. I’ve been in some very scary, dark places in my head. But I’ve come out as a silver lining type of girl. It’s what pushes me forward. I think with writing you need to keep that hope close to your heart. I hope, so hard, to be published one day, lol!

If you really want to do something then don’t let anything hold you back, including yourself. @TaraHarlow #AmWriting #AuthorontheCouch Click To Tweet

Me: What personality trait of yours hinders you most as an author?

Tara: Self-doubt. I’ve spent my whole life doubting my abilities to do anything. It’s been crippling. And kept me away from following other dreams. It’s the cruel voice that sneaks in. And with writing, it’s always there. But I’ve worked really hard on muting that voice and learning to trust myself and keep working hard.

I think with writing you need to keep hope close to your heart. @TaraHarlow #AmWriting #AuthorontheCouch Click To Tweet

Me: What was your high point as a writer—a time when you were happiest, on cloud nine, flying high? What happened?

Tara: This summer my story Risking Riley won the Rosemary. It was surreal. I had a nightmare, shortly after. In my nightmare some guy from the gym I workout in took the award. Everyone said it really belongs to him I wasn’t supposed to win it. So even with this amazing achievement, I guess deep down that self-doubt never goes away. Imposter Syndrome…?


Me: What was your low point as a writer—a time when questioned your path, a time when you felt really crappy about your writing? What happened? How did you get over it?

Tara: I’ve had more than a few. This journey really keeps you on a rollercoaster, doesn’t it? The crappy writing moment happens almost every other day. Luckily it gets mixed in with a few good days.

I’d have to say the lowest was about 3 years ago. Right after I joined RWA. I just completed my second full-length MS, a little over 120,000 words (yeah, still learning, lol). I felt really proud for finishing a deep, heartfelt story. I met this girl on twitter who offered to critique it for me. No one had ever read anything I’d written before. Well, I get it back, on my birthday, and was so excited to hear all these great things about my writing… You know where this is going. It took months for me to write again. I was paralyzed by that plaguing self-doubt. But for the first time, I wasn’t going to quit on myself. I realized I needed to learn a few things (a lot of–few things). So I started taking RWA classes. Lots and lots of online classes. If my library hosts a free workshop on writing, I’m there. (Check your libraries!!!! They are an amazing resource.) My writing-self lives for my monthly NEORWA chapter meetings. I need the constant refresh of being around other people who know what all these steps feel like. I just told myself this is my dream (with some expletives in the statement) and I am not giving up. And since I’m not giving up then I’m just going to have to WORK REALLY HARD. I went back to that manuscript a couple months ago. (Yeah, it took almost 3 years for me to even look through what she said again.) I’ve learned tons since. And you know what?  Most of her criticisms are constructive and correct. It was hard, but that moment was the turning point for me. I’m glad I got the kick right out of the gate because she set me on the path to being a stronger writer and a stronger person. And in this biz, you need to grow that extra skin (or giant shell) to keep your soul protected and your voice authentic.

In this biz, keep your soul protected and your voice authentic. @TaraHarlow #AmWriting #AuthorontheCouch Click To Tweet

Me: How did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Tara: I’ve always wanted to write. When I was 10 my aunt bought me a typewriter for my birthday. I wrote Civil War stories in the vein of North and South and Gone with the Wind. As I got older I moved on to poetry and short stories to get through math class. In high school, I signed up for a creative writing class, because I wished so hard I could be a legitimate writer. My bad self-esteem eventually stepped in. I lasted one month before dropping it. Right at the time, we had to stand and share our stories with the class. I tried again in college. The dream still there, still gnawing on my brain. I only lasted a week before we had to share and I ran away.


Me: What’s your life motto? Why does that motto speak to you?

Tara: I always quote Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds: “’Cause every little thing gonna be alright.” It’s the optimism. I want my kids to understand darkness doesn’t last forever.


Me: What do you collect? Why? What personal meaning does this item have for you?

Tara: Catwoman. But the one from the 90s Batman Animated Series none of that Halley Berry mess, lol. I have animation cells; statues, dolls, a cookie jar, coasters and a whole lot more. I even have a tattoo of her. Catwoman and Batman have always been one of my favorite not-exactly-a-couple couples. I love what gray characters they are. Good, bad, all mixed up. And she’s badass. It’s total nostalgia for me. Takes me right back to the 90s when my boyfriend (husband) and I would have to hunt everywhere to find stuff, pre-internet kids. Before all the things you loved were only a click away. 


Me: Tell me about your New Adult Romance Risking Riley.



Riley O’Connor worked hard to get into nursing school, but her brother might derail her plans for a better life when she gets mixed-up in his biggest scheme yet. Between the Mafia guys and his Mixed Martial Arts gym thinking he stole money from them, Riley knows her brother’s life is at stake and does the only thing she can—accepts help from his rival at another gym. And the unexpected attraction between them only complicates things.

Mixed Martial Artist Mikhail Sokolov likes to keep life simple, winning fights and women who know not to expect more from him than one night of fun. A family tragedy taught him early on life’s too short to make long-term plans. But he can’t turn his back on a girl in trouble, especially when he knows the kind of trouble her brother gets into. Stepping into the role of Riley’s protector puts Mikhail on a path more dangerous than he imagined. The scheduled fight for his life he can handle, the part where he might lose his heart is a harder risk to take.


Me: Share with us a favorite excerpt from Risking Riley. Why do you love this excerpt?

Tara: This is the point where my heroine Riley is running away from Mixed Martial Arts fighters from her brother’s gym who are not very happy with her. And my hero Mikhail happens upon the scene. He’s a fighter from a competing gym. Their story was just so fun to write. Throughout the whole book, I kind of always feel like Riley is eye-rolling Mikhail. But the eye-roll you give that’s mixed with a smile because whatever it is, it’s kind of endearing. You know that here he goes again look. Or maybe that’s just me with my husband 😉  

I take off again. My lungs are on fire, but I keep going because I can loose them. When I reach the crowd I’ll be safe. I have to be safe.

So close. I’m almost there. Almost safe.

Until he steps drunkenly out of the bar and straight into my path, a girl under each arm. Hitting the hard wall of muscles steals the last of my breath. I don’t have enough to tell him to move. Get out of my way. I’m losing my freedom.

Mikhail Sokolov lets go of his girls and grabs my upper arms to steady me from our collision. Heat burns through my shirt, scorching my skin, shooting right to my racing heart.

Of all the different ways I fantasized about being close to him, this scenario never came up.

Thanks, Newton. I knew I never liked physics.

“Hello, Solnyshko.” And of course he says something to me in Russian I’m going to have to Google later. “Looks like you could use some help, darling.”

I’m screwed.

Totally and utterly screwed.

Last thing I need is a fighter from Endgame Mixed Martial Arts involved in Kieran’s mess. And if one were, I would never want it to be the vain, egocentric, player. No matter how beautiful he is. How talented he is in the ring. Or how many fights of his I’ve secretly watched.

Why did I think staying in my dorm on a Saturday night would be lame?


You can find Tara here:





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Abbie Roads writes dark emotional novels featuring damaged characters, but always gives her hero and heroine a happy ending… after torturing them for three hundred pages.





About the author: abbieroads

90 comments to “Author on the Couch: Tara Harlow”

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  1. Eileen Boyce - Oct 11, 2017 Reply

    There’s to many successes for you! Thanks for the chance!

  2. Juanita May - Oct 11, 2017 Reply

    Looking forward to reading your book.

  3. Julie Terry - Oct 11, 2017 Reply

    Thanks for the interview, I love learning about authors and when they begin writing and things about their lives.

  4. Terri Quick - Oct 10, 2017 Reply

    Thanks for hosting this giveaway 🙂

  5. Amy Pollard Woolard - Oct 10, 2017 Reply

    I love finding new authors!!! What I have read about your books so far has me intrigued to say the least!

  6. Katrina Dehart - Oct 10, 2017 Reply

    Nice to get to know you ☺

  7. Michelle Catallo - Oct 09, 2017 Reply

    Love author interviews; great Q&A session BTW. Can get to know them a bit more and see if their books are what I want to sink into next.

    • Tara Harlow - Oct 09, 2017 Reply

      Thank you for stopping by Abbie’s couch and reading my interview, Michelle! I love reading and getting to know authors as well 🙂

  8. Katie McBride - Oct 09, 2017 Reply

    I like the mixed martial arts aspect of the story.

    • Tara Harlow - Oct 09, 2017 Reply

      Thanks for stopping by, Katie! I love mixed martial arts. There is just something so innately bad*&% knowing all these different techniques and finessing them with personal style. Although, my favorite part really is the end of the fight when they give a shoulder-pat/hug and show respect to their opponent and their skill. I’m working on a whole series. If you visit my blog (the link is above) I interviewed a local Cleveland MMA fighter 🙂

  9. Nikki - Oct 09, 2017 Reply

    I liked the interview and thanks for the chance on the Rafflecopter.

    • Tara Harlow - Oct 09, 2017 Reply

      You’re welcome! Thanks for stopping and reading, Nikki! Good luck 🙂

  10. Pamk - Oct 08, 2017 Reply

    Interesting interview. Enjoyed getting to know you

    • Tara Harlow - Oct 09, 2017 Reply

      Thank you for reading it, Pam! I was really excited to be a guest on Abbie’s couch 🙂

  11. Tori - Oct 08, 2017 Reply

    Hey how are you?

    • Tara Harlow - Oct 09, 2017 Reply

      Hi, Tori thanks for stopping to read my interview on Abbie’s couch!! I’m great (well if you want the honest answer, I’m really tired. A long day at work and kid stuff, lol 😉 How are you?

  12. SABINA EDWARDS - Oct 08, 2017 Reply

    There are different books for different people!! I’ve shifted thru out the years from what I started reading as a teen (Nancy Drew of course!! lol. )to harder sci fi as thats what my dad read and was the only thing available to me (as a child I got to skip out of school for a city trip with my dad that was strictly book buying!! ) I think I’d enjoy reading your books!!

    • Tara Harlow - Oct 09, 2017 Reply

      I agree, Sabina, there are different books for different people. We are all unique and that’s what makes reading so enjoyable. I loved Nancy Drew when I was a teen, too. I read pretty much every teen series my little library had. What an awesome dad!!! I love the idea of special book trips. What a great memory and gift he gave you. (My kids would love the skipping school part, lol) Thank you for saying hi! 🙂

  13. Audrey Stewart - Oct 08, 2017 Reply

    Great interview! Which original Catwoman was your favorite? Julie Newmar, Lee Meriwether, or Eartha Kitt?

    • Tara Harlow - Oct 09, 2017 Reply

      OH, AUDREY!!!! Love your question!!! I am giving you a terrible answer, lol, a libra answer, (one I give my kids on the daily 😉 ) I can’t pick favorites. They were all stunning (and so lovely and iconic to their time period.) I guess I’d go with Julie, just because she was the first and set the precedence. Thanks for visiting Abbie’s blog and reading my interview 🙂

  14. lori byrd - Oct 08, 2017 Reply

    Great article. Thank you

  15. Jodi Hunter - Oct 07, 2017 Reply

    Thanks for the interview.

  16. Jana Leah - Oct 07, 2017 Reply

    I’m glad that you were able to use your writing as therapy.

    • Tara Harlow - Oct 09, 2017 Reply

      Thank you, Jana! It really helped give me an escape and also a sense of fulfillment. And it’s great for quiet time 😉

  17. Julie Bock - Oct 06, 2017 Reply

    Great interview thank you

  18. Suz_Glo - Oct 06, 2017 Reply

    Great interview! Happy to meet/discover a new author.

    • Tara Harlow - Oct 09, 2017 Reply

      Thank you for stopping by to say hi, Suz!!! Nice to meet you too 🙂

  19. Tashia Jennings - Oct 06, 2017 Reply

    Great to be introduced to you. Love meeting new authors. Thank you for this wonderful chance!

    • Tara Harlow - Oct 06, 2017 Reply

      Nice to meet you, Tashina!!! Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by! Good luck in the drawing 🙂

  20. Nikolina Vukelic - Oct 06, 2017 Reply

    I really enjoyed reading your interview, thank you!

    • Tara Harlow - Oct 06, 2017 Reply

      I’m glad you enjoyed it, Nikolina! Thank you so much for stopping by and reading 🙂

  21. shirley - Oct 06, 2017 Reply

    Great interview, thank you.

  22. Suzanne Pierson - Oct 06, 2017 Reply

    Great interview! Thank you!

  23. Mary Preston - Oct 05, 2017 Reply

    A great interview thank you.

  24. Gabrielly - Oct 05, 2017 Reply

    Nice interview. Thanks for sharing.

    • Tara Harlow - Oct 06, 2017 Reply

      Thank you for stopping by and reading, Gabrielly 🙂

  25. Cathy Matuszak - Oct 05, 2017 Reply

    I think we all have that self-doubt. I always see such beautiful things in other authors’ work but I have a really hard time seeing it in my own. Luckily, I have some really amazingly talented and wonderful critique partners. 😉

    • Tara Harlow - Oct 06, 2017 Reply

      Self-doubt comes with the territory, I guess, lol. One day soon everyone will be reading all of your beautiful words!! And I can’t wait!!!

  26. julie murphy - Oct 05, 2017 Reply

    I have self doubt too.

    • Tara Harlow - Oct 06, 2017 Reply

      Thank you for stopping by and reading, Julie! Self-doubt is terrible!! But we have to make ourselves push through it!

  27. Sue A. - Oct 05, 2017 Reply

    Thank you for sharing such an honest and soul baring interview!

    • Tara Harlow - Oct 05, 2017 Reply

      Thank you, Sue!!! And thank you so much for reading. It was a little harder than I thought it would be. Weird how nervous I was all last night. No taking it back now, haha!! It turned out better than I could’ve hoped with all the new and wonderful people I’m meeting 🙂

  28. Amy L. - Oct 05, 2017 Reply

    A refreshingly honest interview! Can’t wait to read it, Tara! You’re an inspiration! <3

    • Tara Harlow - Oct 05, 2017 Reply

      Hugs!!! (I’m not usually a hugger, lol) Thank you so much, Amy, for your really sweet and encouraging words!!! I cannot wait for it to be out… just those slow baby steps I need to pick up my pace! Hopefully, it will be available soon-ish 🙂

  29. Cassandra D. - Oct 05, 2017 Reply

    Nice article.

    • Tara Harlow - Oct 05, 2017 Reply

      Thank you for stopping by and reading, Cassandra 🙂

  30. bn100 - Oct 05, 2017 Reply

    nice interview

  31. sherry fundin - Oct 05, 2017 Reply

    Enjoyed the post and I couldn’t help but smile at the closing excerpt.
    sherry @ fundinmental

    • Tara Harlow - Oct 05, 2017 Reply

      Thank you, Sherry!! I loved writing Mikhail and Riley.

  32. Yoselin - Oct 05, 2017 Reply

    I learned so much from this 😊

    • Tara Harlow - Oct 05, 2017 Reply

      Thank you, Yoselin!!! Glad I had a few words that could help 🙂

  33. jodi marinich - Oct 05, 2017 Reply

    enjoyed reading the post today

    • Tara Harlow - Oct 05, 2017 Reply

      Thank you for reading, Jodi!! I’m really happy you enjoyed it 🙂

  34. Reese - Oct 05, 2017 Reply

    I liked that excerpt! It sounds promising (and I’m crossing my fingers that there’s a scene where he teaches her how to fight or something like that, but even if there isn’t, I bet they’ll get into other interesting situations)

    • Tara Harlow - Oct 05, 2017 Reply

      Thank you, Reese! Riley is the kind of girl who can hold her own, for sure! My fingers are crossed I get it published soon-ish, then you will get to read about all the interesting situations, lol!!

  35. Molli Vandehey-Taylor - Oct 05, 2017 Reply

    thank you so much for introducting yourself… your stuff looks timeless!

    • Tara Harlow - Oct 05, 2017 Reply

      Thank you, Molli! That’s very sweet of you! It was harder than I thought it would be introducing myself to everyone! But Abbie is so amazing I didn’t want to miss the chance to hang with her on the couch 😉

  36. Penny Mooney - Oct 05, 2017 Reply

    I am impressed that you have faced all your doubts and came out a well rounded person and a great author. To think that you wrote when you were 10 shows the true talent you have. Thank you for the chance. xoxoxo

    • Tara Harlow - Oct 05, 2017 Reply

      Oh, Penny, thank you so much!!! I always like to think the road might be hard, but it gets us where we really need to go! I’ve always wanted to tell stories. I am so thankful that I’m finally at the right place in my life to do it!!! (and hopefully do it better than I used too, lol!!!)

  37. Sally Gearhart - Oct 05, 2017 Reply

    It was a pleasure reading about your journey and i must say how amazing your story really is! You didn’t give up and that’s awesome, truly inspiring. Sounds like great books and can’t wait to read it soon.

    • Tara Harlow - Oct 05, 2017 Reply

      Sally, thank you so much for reading and your kind words!!! Sometimes it’s hard not to give up! But we really need to find that inner strength and dig deep. We all need to go after our goals, whatever they may be! Fingers crossed you will be able to read it someday, soonish 😉

  38. Lacey Waters - Oct 05, 2017 Reply

    thank you 🙂

  39. Elizabeth Robinson - Oct 05, 2017 Reply

    Great Interview. Thanks for the chance to win.

    • Tara Harlow - Oct 05, 2017 Reply

      Thank you for stopping by and reading, Elizabeth!!! Good luck in the drawing!!

  40. Kimmy Ripley - Oct 05, 2017 Reply

    Thank you so much for the chance to win and I hope you have a lovely day!

    • Tara Harlow - Oct 05, 2017 Reply

      Thank you for stopping by and reading, Kimmy! It’s my 15 year anniversary today. Although we didn’t do anything today (work, kids, etc…. we get to go out for dinner tomorrow night, yay) it was a lovely day! Hope you had a beautiful day too!!

  41. Joy Giachino - Oct 05, 2017 Reply

    I love your outlook on life and thank you for sharing with us

    • Tara Harlow - Oct 05, 2017 Reply

      Thank you, Joy!! (and what a perfect name, we all need Joy in our lives 🙂

  42. Sandy Klocinski - Oct 05, 2017 Reply

    Hope you are having a great day! I’m glad you are able to overcome your self-doubt. It was great to read your take on the writing process

    • Tara Harlow - Oct 05, 2017 Reply

      Thank you, Sandy! I am having a great day. It’s my 15 year wedding anniversary today!
      Overcoming self-doubt is a continuing struggle, but the more confident we become (hopefully) the easier it should be!! Hope you had a wonderful day too!

  43. Karen Giasson - Oct 05, 2017 Reply

    Hi Abie, Hope you doing well. Looking forward to reading this book.

    • Tara Harlow - Oct 05, 2017 Reply

      Thanks for stopping by and reading, Karen! Can’t wait for the day Risking Riley is available for everyone to read!

  44. Susanti - Oct 05, 2017 Reply

    I must agree that “self-doubt” is the most horrible & avoidable, for me, thing. But I’m glad you shut it out, Tara!

    • Tara Harlow - Oct 05, 2017 Reply

      Thank you, Susanti!! It really was/is a struggle, but in the end, we need to go after our dreams. We can’t be the thing that beats ourselves!!! Keep working hard, I’m right there with ya!!!

  45. Patricia Fursteneberg - Oct 05, 2017 Reply

    I enjoyes this interview. Your quote, “If you really want to do something then don’t let anything hold you back, including yourself.… “, I feel the same.

    Thank you, Ladies!

    • Tara Harlow - Oct 05, 2017 Reply

      Thank you for reading, Patricia! It’s crazy how we really can stand in our own way. We can be our own worst enemies. But I think once we are able to see that, then we can change our way of thinking for the better 🙂

  46. Maggie Wells (Margaret) - Oct 05, 2017 Reply

    I think many of us struggle with the demon of doubt, but I am glad you persevered! Love these sessions, Abbie! So fun to read another author’s take on the process and share the struggles.

    • Tara Harlow - Oct 05, 2017 Reply

      Thank you, Maggie!! Demon is the perfect word for it! Doubt is a real pain to fight through. I love Abbie’s sessions too. It’s so interesting to learn everyone’s life stories along with all the amazing fiction they put out for us!

  47. Amanda Uhl - Oct 05, 2017 Reply

    Love your excerpt Tara! So glad you’ve made a commitment not to give up. Can’t wait to see your book in print.

  48. Ashley Kendall - Oct 05, 2017 Reply

    I think it’s so interesting you first wrote Gone with the Wind type stuff at 10!

    • Tara Harlow - Oct 05, 2017 Reply

      Thank you for reading, Ashley! I not only wrote Gone with the WInd stuff, but I also used to untwist coat hangers and make hoop skirts and walk around the neighborhood with a terrible Scarlett accent, lol!!

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