I’m thrilled to welcome author Jennifer Gilmour to my blog today and to share a fascinating interview that I got to do with her.
Please tell my readers a little bit about yourself.
Born in the North East, I am a young, married mum with three children. I am an entrepreneur, running a family business from my home-base and I have a large readership of other young mums in business for my blog posts.
From an early age I have had a passion for writing and have been gathering ideas and plot lines from my teenage years. As a passionate advocate for women in abusive relationships, I have amalgamated and fictionalised other survivors experiences alongside my own to write my first novel Isolation Junction detailing the journey of a young woman from the despair of an emotionally abusive and unhappy marriage to develop the confidence to challenge and change her life and to love again. I hope that in reading my book, I will raise awareness of this often hidden and unseen behaviour and empower women in abusive relationships to seek help for themselves and find the confidence to change their lives.
What is your book about?
I wrote my debut novel based on true events from my own and others experiences. My book follows the story of Rose who is stuck in an abusive and coercive relationship referred to as Isolation Junction. After years of emotional abuse, the self doubt about her future and the erosion of her confidence, Rose takes a stand. Finding herself alone, penniless and frightened Rose wonders how she will ever escape from the situation to provide a better life for herself and her children. With 100 reasons to leave and 1000 reasons why she perceives she can’t – will she have the courage to do it? And will she find the support to regain control and confidence?
How did you first come to be a writer?
I was on an awareness course about Domestic Abuse. Alongside me were about 8 other women who had been in abusive relationships. As the day progressed, I found that I simply couldn’t believe that some of the things that other women were saying were exactly what I had gone through but just in a different format. Domestic Abuse tends to go in a cycle and whichever way it begins, the behaviour spirals again and again. At first it could be months between incidents but for me, as time went on, there were many instances within one day. It is quite normal to try to prevent the cycle from starting again by changing your behaviour as much as possible. By the end of the course I had come to understand that we were all subjected to the same behaviour and that no one knew before that this could even happen to someone ie that a relationship can be so unhealthy and soul destroying. I realised that others simply needed to know more about this unacceptable behaviour; they need to see the warning signs before the relationship goes further or the behaviour gets even more serious. On the other hand, I needed others to see the behaviour for what it is. If people are in a relationship and the behaviour within it is not acceptable and is not their fault, it can’t simply be changed by changing yourself.
I absolutely knew that I had a story to tell and with my previous unfinished written work I realised my first novel had to be more than a book. It had to be a message – a way for others to be able to pass on the story to help victims and to get the penny to drop and bring about realisation of what is happening sooner. This means that when the relationship ends victims and survivors realise they are not the only ones out there and its ok to talk about the abuse.
Where does your inspiration come from?
My passion for being an advocate drives my inspiration to write. Ultimately my own experiences and the want to change develop knowledge in those who don’t know what it is like to be subjected to emotional abuse and coercive control; as well as reassure other survivors that they are not alone because surviving is hard http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/jennifer-gilmour/surviving-is-hard_1_b_13011174.html.
What is your writing routine?
I didn’t have a specific writing routine but to write my first book I had lots and lots of notes and even diary entries to aid my writing. I felt so passionately about why I was writing it came naturally and I only needed to sit down and make time to write. Towards the end of the journey my editor was part of this process. Writing book number two, I am more careful when I write and it will take naturally longer as I find that going back and writing about domestic abuse sometimes affects my emotional state. It is very important to me that I remain positive throughout my writing process and this is why I have brought out a series of stories you can read for free on my blog ‘The Fox Stories’; these have been more lighthearted and enjoyable for me to write. www.jennifergilmour.com/blog
What has your journey to publication been like?
As a self published author the road to publication was interesting and challenging and not perhaps as stressful as I had imagined it would be. There was a lot of flexibility with my debut novel and the choices I made like the cover for example, I was very excited seeing my work and vision come to life because of this. I was pleased to be a part of Team Author UK who help self published authors publish their manuscripts, and provide support through understanding how Amazon works and getting the book printed.
I am yet to approach publishers as I am self published. I decided to self publish because I wanted to start to get the message out there immediately. I have had interest but it is finding the right publishers for the novel and more specifically to find a publisher where my work fits into their portfolio as it is a work of fiction. The novel does include sensitive material which could be emotional for some people but I have, however, woven through the story romance and some comedic moments in the book to try and make it a more entertaining read despite its serious message.
What are you reading at the moment?
I have just finished Emotional Aid by Hayley Wheeler. Hayley is someone I have connected with due to the nature of both of our books. I am now reading ‘The Happy Woman: What can you learn from Kids, Dogs and Men’ by Jealeith Leigh-Brown who I have recently connected with as authors from the North-East. It is clearly emotionally beneficial for authors to support one another.
If you were to be stranded on a desert island and could choose just one author’s books to read, who would you pick and why?
It would be J.K.Rowling’s books simply because she provided me with escapism in my childhood, teens and early adult years . Every time I read over the Harry Potter series I pick up some ‘newisms’ I like to call them. Basically these are things I hadn’t noticed before. The detail J.K.Rowling has gone to that makes this happen in her books makes this possible, I never get bored of the plot line.
Is there a question that you wish an interviewer would ask that you’ve never been asked? What’s your answer to that question?
How do you cope with ‘trolls’ or people that question your work?
I have had a couple of cases when I have had negative feedback about my writing on domestic abuse. Often this stems from individual self guilt. I don’t reply to those negative, personal trolling posts and I focus on those who have read the message behind my work. Usually a perpetrator is blind to what they are doing to the victim and so they feel frustrated in reading social media posts because it is normal behaviour for them and they like to defend their way of life. I have had messages of concern regarding my feelings where comments have been of a personal nature and have felt appreciative of the positive support offered which I feel is very endearing. At the end of the day, positive debate regarding these issues is important and I am thankful that it doesn’t hinder my career as I am able now to discuss the issues and to draw strength from this. Ultimately, I am lucky to have a supportive network around me.
How can people connect with you on social media?
Like me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/isolationjunctionbook
Follow me on Twitter at @JenLGilmour
Check out my website and subscribe to my blog and newsletter at www.jennifergilmour.com
Isolation Junction is out now and available from Amazon