I had the pleasure of conducting my very first interview over the weekend. I met with Tara T. Stallings, author of two books, Ladies Let’s Talk – Life, Lies, Love and Relationships Revised and Let’s Talk Breaking Unwanted Cycles – A Guide to a More Fulfulling Life. I’ll be honest, the idea of interviewing someone made me extremely nervous. I’ve seen other interviewers ask the most inane questions and I was worried I would mess up and do the same. But from the moment I met her, Tara Stallings was an absolute joy to interview and I felt at ease immediately.
We met at the Novotel in Times Square and I was greeted with a warm hug and a big smile. Once we were all set up, we got to talking. The first thing I wanted to know was how she decided to write advice books. She was very forthcoming and said she used her life experiences. When she began writing the first book, Ms. Stallings was married with two children. In her words, “we were married but I was single. I didn’t like my husband, I didn’t like my marriage and I really didn’t like myself. So I had to go on a journey, finding who I was.” That journey would get her through a bad marriage, a bout with breast cancer and the rebuild of her mind, body and spirit. But she always had the counseling and advisor parts within her.
As a licensed cosmetologist, Ms. Stallings is no stranger to giving advice. As most cosmetologists do, she listened to her clients and gave advice when she was asked for it. But she also noticed the patterns that her clients had when reacting to life situations: overeating, buying unnecessary things and other decisions that impacted their lives negatively. She observed and analyzed her friends and others and noticed how early trauma affected these people. So she took the tools she used to get her life in order and put them in her first book.
One of Ms. Stallings’ strengths is her transparency and she uses it to help women heal. Although she said her transparency can sometimes come off as comical, “it sparks conversation.” And she is very transparent. Her openness is inviting, which I’m sure makes the people she helps feel comfortable talking about their own issues. As a certified Christian life coach and current Ph.D. candidate, Ms. Stallings’ goal is simply to help.
But the author doesn’t just give advice, she lives it. She used what she’s learned in her own life and made sure she believed what she was selling because she knows that there are so many out here who need help. And with the rise in social media use, the hurt has increased dramatically. So her counseling was desperately needed.
I asked Ms. Stallings about her journey from paper to publisher. And although she says she isn’t a “spooky Christian,” it seemed like God definitely wanted her book to be published. She started writing in 2007, first in long hand because she wasn’t a fast typist. But it was on a cruise that her first book started coming together. She would do the same thing while on the ship: get up, exercise, then head to a quiet area on the ship and “peck” the words out on a laptop. Once she was done, a client of hers offered to format what she had written. Then a friend who just happens to be an English teacher offered to edit her pages. After that, a new hair client, also an author, mentioned that she was writing a book and had a publisher. Curious, Ms. Stallings mentioned that she also was writing a book and the client gave her the name of her publisher. She sent them three completed chapters and they offered to publish her book, which was published in 2009. Unfortunately, her publisher closed its doors (the now defunct Tate Publishing) but instead of finding another, Ms. Stallings decided to self-publish. She revised her first book in 2017 and re-released it and then self-published her second book this year. It didn’t take her long to finish her second book because she already had the material she needed from her blog.
Let’s Talk Breaking Unwanted Cycles almost didn’t happen because she didn’t realize that she would be writing another book. But she noticed a theme in her posts and the second book was born. This one is shorter because Ms. Stallings knows her audience. Readers who need advice don’t want a novel, they want to know what they should do and how to do it in easy to follow steps. And we’ll be getting another book hopefully in September of this year tentatively titled Girl Code.
Because she’s a busy author, hair stylist, counselor and blog poster, I wanted to know how Ms. Stallings takes care of herself. I didn’t want to use the term “self care” because it’s been used so much, no one really knows what it means anymore. Again, Ms. Stallings was forthcoming. She gets the rest that she needs, knows her triggers and doesn’t overextend herself (which is something I still have trouble with). She may not do it perfectly, but Tara Stallings is a woman who knows what she wants and uses the knowledge she has to help those who will benefit the most.