AUTHOR Tina Hogan Grant grew up in the town of Ilkley and cherishes the fond memories she has of the Yorkshire town. “I miss the long hikes on the moors and the sweet scent of heather. It’s an incredible place to spend your childhood,” she said.

Grant lived in Ilkley for 15 years and graduated from Ilkley Grammar School in 1979. But to her Ilkley will always be home. In her novel, the small town of Tridale is based on Ilkley.

Twenty-five years in the making; Grant’s novel, Reckless Beginnings, is women’s fiction, based on true events and shows the flip side of addiction. Focusing on the families and loved ones of addicts and how they’ve become the silent and forgotten ones.

Written from the author’s own experience, Grant says: “I wanted the white picket fence and the perfect American family lifestyle and ignored any signs that would disrupt that dream. I allowed my life to be dictated by a heroin addict, the father of my child. Believing, his needs were more important than mine.

“While writing the story, I gave myself the title; The Silent and Forgotten One and soon realized, anyone who is involved with an addict becomes such a person. You may ask, why? It’s because over time we allow our lives to be consumed by the addiction. We become a shadow, afraid to speak, stand up for ourselves or make any kind of decisions to better our lives. It’s a lonely place and we only feel safe with ourselves and our own thoughts. We lead a double life, letting those on the outside believe everything in our lives is a bed of roses and yet in reality, behind closed doors we are living a nightmare, hiding our tears from the rest of the world.

“When I couldn’t find, any books written by others living such a life, I felt they should be heard and one should be written. I wanted to show the flipside of addiction. How the significant other of an addict is affected. Back then I was a victim, I now call myself a survivor. But it didn’t happen right away. I tucked the idea away and continued with my battles in life.”

Grant added: “Even though these events took place decades ago, today drug and opioid addiction continues to spiral out of control and is at an all-time high. Heroin usage has hit a record high because it’s much cheaper than prescription drugs and can be easily bought on the streets.

“We hear about these numbers all the time, but we never hear about the loved ones of addicts. Every day is a fight for survival. Normality doesn’t exist. As the addiction intensifies, so does the abuse and violence.”

Grant’s novel, Reckless Beginnings is one woman’s story, (Tammy Mellows) trying to make sense of the chaos surrounding her life and fighting to gain it back. Her journey shows that anyone in these situations has choices and that they don’t have to settle. Their lives are important too.

Reckless Beginnings is published by Page Publishing. Available on Amazon.