By Jennifer Gilmour
Over eighteen months within 2015-2016 I wrote my first novel with the aim of not only raising awareness of an insidious behaviour which brings hidden misery to so many but of bringing about changes at a national level. A ‘survivor’ myself, I am well aware that changes to national policies and working practices are still needed so that situations in which women (and men) present in emotionally abusive situations are recognised and dealt with appropriately and with compassion.
I believe that particular training needs to be focused on recognising the perpetrators of this behaviour, as often they are very persuasive people who are able to manipulate the services themselves.
Kickstarter link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/690571062/isolation-junction
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?
About the author:
Born in the north-east, Jennifer is a young, married mum with three children. In addition to being an author, she is an entrepreneur, running a family business from her home-base. Her blog posts have a large readership of other young mums in business.
From an early age, Jennifer has had a passion for writing and started gathering ideas and plot lines from her teenage years. A passionate advocate for women in abusive relationships, she has drawn on her personal experiences to write her first novel Isolation Junction. It details 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.
Since the publication of her debut novel, 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 programme 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 give’s a voice to survivor’s experiences and raise’s awareness further of the types of unacceptable behaviour which fall into the category of domestic abuse.
What was your original inspiration to start to write?
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
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.
How do you focus and not let your work with domestic abuse affect you emotionally?
Originally I didn’t look after myself and worked on Isolation Junction, blog posts and research even if I wasn’t in a good place. I couldn’t switch off to what I felt needed to be exposed and couldn’t understand why something so common was hidden so well. It did take its toll on me and I am happy to admit and address this. The solution was simple and that was to train myself to channel my thoughts and focus on my current happenings and not letting my mind wander. It can be still a challenge but I feel like I manage myself better and take a healthier approach.
How do you direct people who may need support after reading your books?
At the end of my books there is a message from me which include the UK 24-hour free-phone National Domestic Violence helpline, which is 0808 2000 247. There is also a support page on my website; http://jennifergilmour.com/support/
I do receive a lot of messages and I have personally referred to local centres, once I directed someone in Africa to her local support service. I have been a listening ear to many as well, the first step is telling someone about whats happened to you and so I urge anyone to speak to a ‘safe’ person or service. ‘safe’ meaning someone who isn’t involved with the perpetrator or who you most certainly can be trusted and will help you.
What do you do aside from writing?
I am a 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: https://jennifergilmour.jamberry.com/uk/en/
Ice cold rain splattered her face; her toes and fingers were numb and yet she sat there huddled up and gently rocking herself. It was a black night with no stars, like someone had just switched off the sky. The only light shining on her face was the orange glow of a single street light. Rose couldn’t cope anymore, she was crying into her hands so hard it hurt her heart; it was a deep spike of a pain rushing through her body and this wasn’t the first time she had felt it.
Within the book;
Rose woke up at lunch time the next morning with a pounding headache and dry mouth; she had never slept this long since before Millie-Rose was born. Next to her on the bedside table she saw a glass of fresh orange, a glass of water, a cup of tea and a cup of coffee that Tim had made for her. Rose could hear some pottering about going on downstairs and she put on Tim’s robe that was hung up behind the door and went to investigate. Tim was cleaning up and had breakfast ready to cook.
“I didn’t know what you would like so I got everything. Cooked breakfast? Croissants? Cereal?”
Rose blushed and smiled as she looked and saw the selection; she felt so cared for instantly.
Within the book;
It was past midnight and we were still playing and I was starting to get really tired, the tired that you just need to drag yourself to bed or you will be asleep on the sofa, floor, toilet wherever you may be.
“OK, I’m really tired now so let’s call it a day.” I had suggested this as one of us always called it whenever it was just too tiring to carry on.
I didn’t expect his snappy response, “Look, we’re not going to bed until I beat you…and don’t think about just letting me win.”
I laughed as I thought he was joking and tired but he wasn’t. “I’m being serious you know, it’s pissing me off, it’s a fucking stupid game anyway.”
I didn’t really know how to take Darren at times and this was one of them. I didn’t know if he was going to turn around and generally laugh at the fact he was getting frustrated or if he was going to turn around and an awkward atmosphere would come.
I sat for half an hour because I knew that I couldn’t let him win.
Clipped Wings on Amazon UK; https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B076KNZJZQ Clipped Wings on Amazon USA; https://www.amazon.com/dp/B076KNZJZQ
Goodreads author profile; https://www.goodreads.com/JenniferGilmour
Clipped Wings on Goodreads; https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36449221-clipped-wings
Huffington post blogger profile; http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/author/jennifer-