I am delighted to welcome Jennifer Gilmour on the blog today.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and, as Jennifer’s novel, Isolation Junction, deals with the subject of domestic abuse, it is particularly pertinent to have her here with me today.
Welcome, Jennifer. Tell us a little bit about you…
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. A passionate advocate for women in abusive relationships, I have amalgamated and fictionalised other survivors’ experiences alongside my own to write my first novel 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.
Your inspiration for Isolation Junction?
My inspiration for Isolation Junction comes from the lack of support from the national services when I was in an abusive relationship. At the time, the UK law for coercive control wasn’t in place and the only help I could gain was from the police; solicitors required money, phone lines didn’t know how they could answer my questions, local housing dismissed me, the social services were similar and the family courts were initially blind to the abuse. Times have changed but there are still many women and men facing the same problems as there still needs to be policy changes and training to enable the new law to take a true effect.
I really admire what you’re doing. Are there any sites or organisations you would recommend that could help women facing the types of issues addressed in your book?
I have spoken to a few charities about my book and the current law. They share the same view as me in that there needs to be more discussion, training and work to bring justice to the new law for coercive control. I would highly recommend Women’s Aid and I actually reference them within my novel. They have a fantastic website with a lot of material and assistance including finding your local service in the UK. Womens’ Aid is clearly one of the leading charities but there are so many out there and I urge you to seek one for support and help if you feel you are in need of it; they all share similar values and will listen to you.
Where and when do you write?
I write on the sofa in my living room, it’s where I’m most comfy. I found that I could write away at any time but when I hit a block or run out of juice I simply had to stop. I then found myself waking up at 2/3am and having a power writing session as everything came to me. I am a mum of three and this tended to be the right time for me as a mum.
Are you a planner or a pantser?
I am most certainly a planner or should I say that’s how I started out. I was on track for the main plot line of the book and then it seemed to whisk me away. It was a hard write with it being written from personal and other women’s experiences and knitting these together with the fictional side meant it took a lot of checking. When I had moments of flying away with the book I had to keep check on the time line as the book is in present and past tense alongside 3rd and 1st person.
Do you do any research? If so, any sites or sources you care to share?
As I have mentioned before, I have drawn on personal experiences and from this I went onto a course to find out why and identify what I had been through. This course was called the ‘brave’ course and was a 14 week programme. The course opened a lot of doors for me, I made friends and realised their stories were of the same nature but tuned a different way, yet the pattern of abuse was ultimately there. Through talking to other women this helped me with the plot line of my book. I have also done my personal research through talking to the council partnership in place in my local area, watching documentaries and reading material.
Do you read inside your genre or out when writing?
I was very careful not to read too much from the same genre as I didn’t want to be influenced by them, but rather run with my vision with the book. However, I connected with around 5 authors of books that relate to the subject. They have been very helpful and supportive of my novel and vision. I do look forward to reading their books when I have the time and I believe I will be working alongside a couple of the authors for views and different projects so I am looking forward to exploring this.
Your author heroes?
I guess this may seem unusual but it would have to be JK Rowling and not for her success but for her determination to succeed. I know there is hearsay that JK Rowling was also a victim of domestic abuse and so this strikes a chord within me. Her determination has been kept in mind whilst I have been going through the writing, editing, PR and really, every aspect of the book. It was a hard book to write and I have spent 18 months on it, purely because of the nature of the story. I had to be kind to myself and make sure I was in the right mind-frame. I was reminded of JK Rowling and my message is imperative and I knew in my gut that I had to keep spurring through just as she did for her own reasons.
Thank you, Jennifer, for joining us today.
You can connect with Jennifer regarding her book, or the subject of domestic abuse, on her website, Facebook, and Twitter.
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?