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A Turquoise Life: One Woman’s Triumphant Journey

Diann M. Kissell with Kathy Bird

Pages: 336
ISBN: 978-145752-902-3
List Price: 18.95
Category: Autobiography & Biography
Available: June 2014
Edition: Perfectbound

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Facing the imminent exposure of an eight-year incestuous relationship with his thirteen-year-old daughter Diann, Luis murders his pregnant wife and three of his ten children. Four years later he is executed in the Colorado gas chamber; the last execution of its kind in the United States. Her father’s crimes and punishment provide the backdrop for A Turquoise Life, Diann’s story of healing and redemption. It chronicles a journey from traumatized little girl to strong, whole, independent woman and offers hope to all victims of abuse. Diann leads a double life. On the surface she’s a happy, well-behaved Latina Catholic who honors her father. In her hidden life with Dad she views herself as a weak, bad, mortal sinner. Silence is safety until she can’t stand it anymore. When she talks, it costs her mom and three of her siblings their lives. She believes the murders are her fault; she talked, they died. Her father’s abuse affects every part of her life; her good side fakes being perfect while her bad side, heavy with shame and self-loathing, makes destructive decisions. She’s promiscuous and marries a man who acts like her dad in his treatment of her. For more than a decade Diann keeps silent about her history until the media again invades her life with Gary Gilmore’s execution; the first in the country since her dad’s death. Determined her children won’t suffer because of her past, she seeks help and a new way of living. She embarks on a healing journey of therapy, redefinition of her spiritual beliefs, self-help books, and workshops on anger and forgiveness. After being a featured guest on the Oprah Winfrey Show (September 2, 1987), Diann realizes talking about abuse can help her as well as other victims. By speaking out, she begins to break her father’s legacy of shame and give meaning to her life. Immediately after the show, Oprah calls and offers to buy Diann’s story. Diann declines the generous offer, knowing she’s in the middle of healing from the far-reaching effects of her father’s crimes; this portion of her story isn’t finished. Six months after her Oprah appearance, marital rape catapults her out of her victim role and out of her abusive marriage. In the process of divorcing herself from her husband and dad, she discovers she no longer leads a double life. She is now healthy enough to attract a relationship she deserves. She finds and marries Fred, her prince charming. Diann’s memoir is a testament to the resiliency of the human spirit. By telling this color rich story- she honors her healing. Today Diann Christine M. Kissell lives a turquoise life and is ready to tell her story to the world.

The Diann/Kathy connection: Upon giving one of many hour-long presentations of her story to a class of counselors in Kathy’s trauma workshop, Diann was again asked by one of the students if she had thought about writing a book. After adjourning the class for lunch, Kathy spoke to Diann in private, encouraging her to write her story if she wished to do so. She explained to Diann that, because of her recovery and the stability of her present life, writing her memoir might be a healing process for her as well as a way to help other victims. Diann liked the idea but knew writing wasn’t her forte. She eventually asked Kathy if she would write her story. The minute Kathy accepted the project, a team was forged and the beginning of a book was born. The process of writing A Turquoise Life has met and exceeded both Diann’s and Kathy’s expectations by being healing, rewarding, enlightening, and empowering. They fervently wish the book will bring hope to many survivors of abuse and insight to those who wish to understand and support them.

Kathy Bird, M.A., L.P.C., CAC III has more than thirty years of experience as a psychotherapist specializing in all types of trauma including PTSD, domestic violence, childhood abuse, and dissociative disorders. She has a private practice in Lakewood, Colorado. For more than a decade, she taught workshops on trauma and domestic violence to counselors and other professionals. She is also the author of a nationally distributed domestic violence program. She loves to write, read, ski, hike, and spend time with family, Unlike Diann, cooking and sewing are not her forte. She lives in the foothills west of Denver with her husband Steve.