Domestic violence is often a taboo subject many wish to keep hidden, but author Steve Matthews is starting the conversation with his new book The Skinny Girl.
Mr Matthews said the book is based on the true events of a close personal friend who wanted to share her story of surviving domestic violence so others could benefit.
"Domestic violence can often be a very isolating and after our friend's marriage broke down and she told us about her domestic violence experience we were horrified," Mr Matthews said.
"We had no idea and she has been very careful not to tell anyone or give anything away. After it all came out she asked if I would write a fictional story using some of her experiences and that is how The Skinny Girl came to be."
Mr Matthews and his wife have a long history of supporting domestic violence victims and so half of the profits from the book will go to the Homicide Victims Support Group and the other half will go to local domestic violence support services.
"This book is about helping people who have been, or who are experiencing domestic violence," he said.
"Since the book was released we have had so many people come forward to share their story and I believe it is helping people talk about something really confronting.
"It is also opening people's minds to the reality that domestic violence is happening behind closed doors right in our communities."
The book itself is focused around Daisy Croucher, who, having lead a sheltered life gets caught up with a narcissist.
Daisy is surprised and flattered when, hounded into meeting her office mates for a drink after work one night, popular pub local Jeff Singleton looks her way. Jeff has always lived by a golden rule when it comes to women-never keep one for more than thirty days. For some reason, Daisy is an exception.
Jeff's a bit rough and more than a little uncouth, but Daisy overlooks his flaws. He's interested in her, after all. Life with him might be a roller-coaster ride, but once they're married, things will smooth out and they'll build a life together.
Unfortunately, Daisy soon discovers otherwise. Her marriage holds awful secrets that she can't imagine revealing or escaping, especially once her two precious daughters are born.
Using experiences from his friend Mr Matthews' book offers a compelling insight into how place and culture contribute to domestic violence.
"It shows how some women are set up to accept physical and emotional abuse without recognising it for what it is, and why those who are abused often find it so hard to leave their relationships, the novel highlights red flags that foreshadow the potential for abuse," he said.
"Many people assume that victims of domestic violence and abuse are identified by their black eyes or broken arms. The Skinny Girl allows readers to walk a mile in Daisy's shoes."
Mr Matthews will be at the Port Macquarie Library for an author talk on Saturday, June 29 at 10am.
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