As part of the featured author Q&A sessions, I am very pleased to announce that the featured author for November is Jennifer Gilmour.
Hi Jennifer, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background? 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 moms 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.
What are your ambitions for your writing career? My ambitions are really to root down with the message my debut novel brings and that is of bringing awareness to coercive control and emotional abuse. Its more than a novel because it does bring that knowledge to the hidden side to domestic abuse. I would like the taboo subject to be continuously discussed and shared to bring more light to this unseen behaviour. I will be writing more and continue down the same road with this taboo subject and I hope this will open many eyes. I hope to speak with local charities and perhaps even national charities, speak at local and national events about this and continue talking to victims.
So, what have you written? Beside’s around 5 unfinished novels I finally released my debut novel last month which is fictional. My unfinished work over the years have included fiction and also fantasy.
What is your most recent novel? My debut novel Isolation Junction: Breaking free from the isolation of emotional abuse which came out on October 1st 2016. It became a best seller on Amazon in the first week of publishing on paperback and I hope to achieve this on kindle in the near future.
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special? Rose is a young mum of 2, she is a natural beauty with lovely long red hair and a peachy bum. Rose is a caring character that has got stuck in Isolation Junction but she is determined to make anything work and that’s why she set up her own business from home, she wasn’t allowed to have a job anymore so she tried to find an answer to a problem. Rose is loyal and it’s what she finds the biggest challenge when she is being mistreated by Darren (her husband).
What genre are your books? My debut novel is fiction and can fit into women’s fiction, contemporary fiction and health, family & lifestyle.
What draws you to this genre? Fiction can be anything, it can go in any direction and its like an alternative world. I love creating characters and looking at how they would deal with different situations. Fiction allows you to be creative with the plot, characters and places. I am naturally a creative person and so this is the perfect genre fit for me as a writer.
When did you decide to become a writer? I decided to become a writer when I realised I wasn’t the only person that had suffered emotional abuse, I wondered why it wasn’t spoken about in the media or between people. I had already channeled some emotions from incidents in a diary as I found it cathartic to write it down, I had written in a diary since I was a teenager. I started to collate these and realised I had my emotions fresh from incidents and this was great material to use and this became my starting point.
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured? I don’t have a specific time or a time I would schedule out and say this is my writing time. I do however have moments I feel the urge to write and I find myself writing it down to collate at a later date. I will sometimes wake at 2/3am and feel the urge to get out of bed, go downstairs and type. I suspect however that this has something to do with me being a mum of 3. Generally I will collate anything I have written down and piece it together at the end of the week this generally happens on an evening when my children are in bed.
Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day? I didn’t for my debut novel but you are the first I have told that I will be releasing a sequel and this has a shorter time frame, I am in the planning stage at the moment but I will be working out how much I need to get done in a week for me to hit the deadlines. I believe this will help my productivity and I will be able to keep track of where I am up to.
Where do your ideas come from? For Isolation Junction it came from my own personal experiences and followed with other women’s experiences, speaking in person, watching documentaries and talking online to other survivors. It wasn’t hard to pin point the struggle of emotional abuse when I used to be in an abusive relationship myself but it was hard to see if I had shown these personality traits to readers through the character Darren. I had to ask myself each incident – would someone who hasn’t been abused pick up on these traits? It is difficult especially as it’s a pressure that builds so the early part of the process is hard to recognise.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you? I definitely need the beginning, middle and end like old school to start with, whether I end up at the end or it changes that’s another thing. I do need a structure and as I am a naturally organised person I need this to be able to function on any project including writing.
How long on average does it take you to write a book? My debut novel took me 18 months but the sequel I plan to take less than a year. I have learnt what not to do from writing my first piece of finished work so I am hoping this will reflect in the process of the sequel.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively? Creatively I guess it has to be how to bring the book to life virtually and in life. For example trying to get the message across virtually is a challenge, so I have been for the last week sharing snippets from the book. I had a virtual launch party which I had an amazing engagement with (you can see more about this here) and it’s constantly trying to share the book with people online but also explaining it’s a fictional book and not a text book, it has some humour and romance and isn’t all negative with the domestic abuse side. In real life it’s easier as I can talk and explain and it often ends in discussion. I have sent a copy of the book out in the real world to see if we can get the message out and bring awareness and I wrote a message from myself to see how far it can get: see here.
Do you read much and if so which writers inspire you? I had a break from reading when I started to write my novel 18 months ago but now that I have finished my novel I have started to pick up a book or two again. I am certainly enjoying reading other indie authors work and currently I have a few books open. Christie Barlow has inspired me to keep going and I have spoken to her a few times, she has had great advice to give and she is having a fantastic journey as an author. I was excited to get the chance to meet her in person last year and I follow her work and her journey still.
What is your favourite book and why? It has got to be Harry Potter and that’s because it helped me through my childhood and teens to escape to a different world. J K Rowling is also a writer that inspires me because she came from nothing and was determined and worked hard to get where she is now.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers? Plan, plan, plan. Have a plan and stick to it. Also try to get the first draft written, don’t keep going back and editing. I found it a struggle to keep moving forward but someone told me to just write and it really helped.
Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included? I think we have covered a lot but I would like to thank you for having me as your featured author of the month.
How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Facebook: click here
Twitter: click here
LinkedIn: click here
Amazon Author Page: click here
Goodreads: click here
Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview.