Monday, November 30, 2015

GO With What You Know

My name is Linda Tillis and I am giddy with excitement. The Wild Rose Press has accepted my manuscript, A Heart Made For Love.

This story is a reflection of my work history of forty years. Whew! I forget sometimes just how old I
am. But to be fair, I started my working days at the age of seventeen. It was the month of June, I had just graduated high school, and you had to be eighteen to apply for the job. I lied. My birthday was in August; I lived in fear for two months that I would be caught, and fired.

That lie was the beginning of an eighteen year career in the fashion industry. For nine years, I worked on a high speed sewing machine, churning out high end dresses that were sold in New York City. We created items for labels like Manhattan Dress, Schrader Sport, and Lord & Taylor’s.

After nine years, my supervisor submitted my name for a new position being created. I became the assistant to the Production Manager. I began to work with designers and suppliers, from New York to Miami, and I loved every minute of my job. I got to see the “it” fashions before they even hit the runways. I soaked up the color and textures everyday.

Near the end of the eighteen year run, it became apparent the garment industry was in decline in the United States. We were one of the last large manufacturers located in Central Florida. I saw the handwriting on the wall, and decided to change professions. (the plant closed a year later)

Talk about a change in profession, I went to work in Law Enforcement. I spent almost a year in dispatch, then moved up to Crime Scene Investigator. It was civilian position, meaning I was not in direct danger, which was okay with me. I spent the rest of my twenty years looking at the bleak side of humanity. The only colors I could soak up were blood-red and black and blue bruises. I learned more about domestic violence than the average citizen can imagine.

My husband sat me down one day. He said, “This job is killing you, slowly, and you need to get out.” I realized he was absolutely correct. So I got out.

It took me a year to actually “see” the average world again. He bought me a camera, and I began to photograph living things. I began to thirst for color again. I knew how to sew, but I needed a challenge.

So I became a milliner. In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s a woman could make a living creating beautiful, feminine gowns, and matching hats. After creating, and photographing lovely hats, I decided to write about them.

I sat down one day, and the next thing I knew, a story was pouring out of me. The story of a young woman who was sexually assaulted by strangers. A story of triumph over fear, of perseverance and faith. With a little murder and revenge thrown in. And of course, a milliner.

It is a story for all women; because if you’ve never been personally abused, you know a woman or child, who has. And if you know one who has survived, and managed to get past it, you know what an emotional battle she fought. Such is the story of 'A Heart Made For Love'.

Please go to my website and sign up for the newsletter. There will be give aways for the Cover Reveal and you don’t want to miss your chance. In the meantime, enjoy the photos of some of the hats I've made.

Linda Tillis

1 comment:

stanalei said...

Awesome post, Linda. And love your hats! So beautiful!