A Conversation with Jennifer Gilmour
Jennifer is a married mom with three children. In addition to being an author, she is an entrepreneur, running a family business from her home. A passionate advocate for women in abusive relationships, she has drawn on her personal experiences to write this first novel Isolation Junction. Since the publication Jennifer has continued to be an advocate for those in abusive relationships through her blog posts, radio interviews and Twitter feed. Jennifer also gained a qualification in facilitating a recover program for those who have been in abusive relationships.
Jennifer continues to publicly support those who are isolated and struggle to have a voice. Jennifer hopes that Clipped Wings gives a voice to survivors experiences and raise further awareness of the behavior which fall into the category of domestic abuse.
Published: October 14, 2016
126 Pages in Paperback
Book Description from Amazon:
Rose is the mother of two young children, and finds herself living a robotic life with an abusive and controlling husband. While she struggles to maintain a calm front for the sake of her children, inside Rose is dying and trapped in ‘Isolation Junction’.
She runs an online business from home, because Darren won’t let her work outside the house. Through this, she meets other mums and finds courage to attend networking events, while Darren is at work, to promote her business.
It’s at one of these events that Rose meets Tim, a sympathetic, dark-haired stranger who unwittingly becomes an important part of her survival.
After years of emotional abuse, of doubting her future and losing all self-confidence, Rose takes a stand. Finding herself distraught, alone and helpless, Rose wonders how she’ll ever escape with her sanity and her children. With 100 reasons to leave and 1,000 reasons she can’t, will she be able to do it?
Will Tim help her? Will Rose find peace and the happiness she deserves? Can Rose break free from this spiralling life she so desperately wants to change?
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Published: October 30, 2017
The silent chorus.
Just imagine you thought that you had met the man or woman of your dreams. This person was charming and you thought they were the one or perhaps that this was fate; it was just meant to be.
But as the months go by things start to change. Their behaviour towards you isn’t the same, they are more critical, more particular about your appearance, what you do, how you do it, who you see. Time goes by and you feel isolated from your friends and family because that behaviour has now changed to threats, maybe violence and you feel that your identity is all but gone. But still you stay. Where would you go? Who would help you? You are not worthy.
But you are.
A group of survivors have spoken about their own experiences. In their own words they show that survivors do have a voice and that it needs to be heard. They show that abuse isn’t unique or strange but that it is, unfortunately, a surprisingly common problem in today’s society.
The message of this book is one of courage, as with courage comes awareness and an ability to understand what has happened to you and take the steps needed to become a survivor yourself.
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JRR (Jessica’s Reading Room) Tell us a little about yourself.
I am a young married mum of three which keeps me pretty busy when I am not writing; I have a 5, 7 and almost 2 year old. As a family we enjoy the hobby Geocaching which gets us out and about, learning about the local area as well as having some fun. It can get rather competitive, if you haven’t heard of it Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location.
I am also a Jamberry Nail Wraps Consultant which brings in most of my income to support my work in the domestic abuse sector including my writing. You can find out more about that on my other website.
JRR: I know about Geocaching! I used to play a game that is on your phone that is similar called Ingress that I played with my husband. You could also play it in groups. There are whole communities of players as the game is made up of competing teams. I’m retired from it now as I have this site but will have fond memories of the game.
Now, you are a survivor of domestic abuse and your novel Isolation Junction and book Clipped Wings reflect this. Did you always want to write these books based on yours and others experiences? What made you decide on sharing your story?
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 what the other women were saying was exactly what I had gone through but just in a different format. Domestic Abuse tends to go in a cycle (see the cycle of abuse image) 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 i.e. that a relationship can be so unhealthy and soul destroying. I realised that others simply needed to know more about this unacceptable behaviour; they needed 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 knew 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 but a message – a way for others to be able to pass a book on 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.
JRR: So many people are affected by this and we may never know who. What about domestic abuse would you care to share?
That domestic abuse isn’t just about the violent side but actually there is a lot more too it, even aside from the hidden aspects like emotional and financial abuse. It is so difficult for the victim to leave the relationship and many think that once they have left it will be OK, in fact this is the most dangerous time for a victim and they need to be protected. I have spoken with many who have said their ex is still in their lives years later, dropping little hints or making connections with their own friends etc. It is baffling and hard to understand why someone would want to cling on like this but they still want to feel in control.
There is so much I could share or go into but the most important thing is to break the silence on this, to shed a light on it, the more its talked about the more chance of people knowing the signs.
JRR: What was your publication journey like?
Originally I didn’t know where to go or how to publish a book, after publishing my debut novel it opened many doors and also knowledge on publishing including different platforms. Both Isolation Junction and Clipped Wings are self published by myself. with Isolation Junction I wanted to get the message out there as soon as possible because of the media attention starting to build around coercive control.
JRR: You put your heart and soul into these books. What was the most difficult thing and easiest thing to write about with these books? How has the feedback you have received been with these books since this is such a difficult topic?
The difficult part is listening to other’s stories especially if they are still suffering from the physiological aspect of the abuse and how much it stays with an individual. I am lucky to have had some life coaching and if it wasn’t for this and training my mind to focus I would find it very challenging in my every day life and especially writing about it.
The easiest part is sharing the other side, that there is happiness and it can be gained with the hard work of re-training your mind. Everyone deserves to be happy and no one deserves to be isolated and suffocated.
JRR: This really is a difficult subject to think about. People stuck in relationships they need out of and feel that they can’t get out. You are someone who can help others having gone through this yourself(As sad as it is to say) and are achieving this.
Did you always want to become an author? Will you always write on domestic violence or will you write on another topic?
From an early age, I have had a passion for writing and started gathering ideas and plot lines from my teenage years. I have a few unfinished pieces of work I may visit in the future but we will see. I am very passionate about being an advocate for those in abusive relationships and if my work makes a difference to one person then I have done what I set out to achieve.
I have also started to write a blog series which is free to read because I wanted to write about the good things in my life, this is non-fiction and I find it helpful when I am not in the mindset to write on the topic of abuse.
Check them out here.
JRR: I can say that you have accomplished what you set to do! What inspires you to write?
My inspiration is still to bring awareness to domestic abuse and more importantly the hidden side of abuse like coercive control, emotional abuse and financial abuse.
Nothing can compare to helping someone through my written work, I really feel that the lessons I have learnt are to help others. Turning a mess into a message.
JRR: What would you say directly to those who are victims of domestic abuse who feel that they have no escape? How would you encourage those of us who suspect someone is a victim to approach?
I would recommend they tell someone they can trust, a safe person. I often talk about what I mean by a safe person. A safe person is someone not involved especially with the perpetrator, it could be a work colleague or a distant friend. Failing that there are services as well that you can contact and I include some on my website.
It would be useful to have someone who can support you along the way of talking to services, I feel that this was the part I needed someone the most. Holding my hand whilst I was on the phone and facing it with someone by my side.
At the back of both of my books there’s a message from myself which includes a helpline and some advice. I felt it was important to do this in case anyone was affected by what they had read.
JRR: Who was the most influential author you read when you were growing up? Did his/her writings influence you to want to become an author?
I have to say it has to be JK Rowling, simply because of her passion to persevere. Believe it or not her Harry Potter series saw me through my childhood, teens and young adulthood. They were a fantastic way to escape the reality of what was going on in my personal life. I didn’t have a bad upbringing but I did experience bullying and a struggled relationship with my mother. Even now I would still consider reading Harry Potter as going ‘home’.
I didn’t want to become an author because of another author but I certainly take strengths from many and their journeys to help me on my road in my own journey.
JRR: What are your passions? Are there any organizations you work with that you would like to mention?
I have spoken to the FADV a few times and have collaborated with them. The FADV stands for Fight Against Domestic Violence and was founded by Jamberry. You can find out a little more here.
JRR: Jamberry seems to be a great organiztion with everything they do to help in this area. They are the perfect organization for you to work with being a Jamberry consultant!
Who is your favorite author as an adult? Who inspires you?
I don’t really have just the one but a few that pop out to mind and they are other women that write in a similar sector as myself.
I have to say Rachel Thompson has been a big inspiration and I met her through Twitter with her book on marketing, I found it a coincidence to have come across her when I found out her other work was also about abuse. Rachel’s knowledge on media is outstanding and she has valuable content in all her blog posts which I believe has had an impact on my own media work.
You can also find out what I thought about her books on this review on my site.
JRR: If you could have dinner with three people(living or dead) who would they be and why?
Living it would have to be the Queen and Theresa May to give me the opportunity to voice thoughts and opinions that have come from so many as well as me. Not to criticise but to give attention too and direct them on their way to make the necessary changes in the UK.
That in turn I would also like to have dinner with a TV producer to bring Isolation Junction to a drama series in the UK to shed awareness this way. I do think it would give people the opportunity to experience what it is like to be in a controlling relationship and help give that understanding even further.
JRR: You never know, maybe you will reach that goal and Isolation Junction becomes a series! More awareness! I just happen to live on the wrong continent when that does happen… Maybe a visit will be in my future…. I just need to get a new passport… And money of course! lol
Which book have you always meant to get around to reading, but still not read?
As mentioned before I love JK Rowling as cheesy as it sounds. I haven’t read some of her work and I would like to get around to it, although my TBR list seems to grown even though originally I was reluctant to be influenced on this, everyone’s suggestions happen to pop up on there now.
JRR: I LOVE her Cormoran Strike series she writes as Robert Galbraith! I am anticipating the next one as the last book left us hanging!
What’s the best advice you have ever received?
Rather than advice I think these two quotes sum it up for me:
“Even the word hopeless has the word hope in it”
“Failing to prepare is preparing to fail”
JRR: Wow, both of those are good but I love the first one. Seeing that gives me hope with some things going on in my life right now. Thank you for sharing that! It’s very encouraging!<3
Are you working on anything now? If so what can you share with us?
There are a few things I am working on. A next in a series to Isolation Junction, I planned out three books in the series. A short story is on the cards and will most likely come out before the second in the series. Alongside writing a column monthly for CCChat Magazine (the CC stands for coercive control) , I also host #AbuseTalk each Wednesday on Twitter as a Twitter Chat 8-9pm GMT.
Find out more about CCChat Magazine.
Find out more about #AbuseTalk.
Keep up to date with my journey by signing up to my newsletter via my website.
JRR: I feel you have become a personal friend with all the time we have communicated online and the support I have given you with your books. I feel that the subject is very important. I wish we were on the same continent! Maybe one day we will get to meet.
Jessica this is really lovely of you to say and I feel likewise. You never know, we may cross paths in the future and until then I know we will both continue to share. If you ever need any help or support from me in your blogging world then I would be delighted to help.
As I mention in my acknowledgements in my latest release Clipped Wings;
“Thank you to book bloggers – without your support I would at times feel like I am talking to myself in the land of media. Never think your role isn’t important because you motivate, encourage and inspire writers to continue in their work. A special thanks to Jessica Page Johnson from Jessica’s Reading Room…”
JRR: Thank you for that too. That makes me feel like what I do is worth it! I enjoy doing this, but seeing that on paper gave me all the happy feels!
Is there anything else you would like to say?
Thank you once again for having me and thank you for being a passionate blogger on this. I believe those like you help spread awareness and this is invaluable.
I would also like to say that no matter how hard something may seem and how many obstacles are in the way, you can still reach the other side. Its just a case of when you will get there, so take that first step in the right direction. The direction in which you deserve to be happy, loved, making your own decisions and having freedom of speech.
Thank you for your time with this interview Jennifer!
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