Today I am taking part in a blog tour for a book which is a bit different from my usual reads. This is a book which contains stories from survivors of domestic abuse and as domestic abuse is something very close to my heart I had to take part in this tour. Rather than a review I have a guest post for you from the author on why and how this amazing and important book came about.
Synopsis: 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.
GUEST POST: About Clipped Wings
Clipped Wings was part funded by a Kickstarter Campaign which reached 128% of funding.
The purpose of the campaign was to provide each of those individuals who have come forward with their story, with their own copy of Clipped Wings as a means of recognition of their courage in speaking out. It will also enable them to read other survivor stories and hopefully will make them feel less isolated as a survivor.
Clipped Wings will continue my mission of raising awareness of domestic abuse and coercive control and demonstrate that the statistic of 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men is indeed correct. Sadly, this kind of behaviour transcends the age groups with many young men and women entering into relationships dominated by unacceptably controlling behaviours. Together we are stronger and can work to eradicate this insidious and often unnoticed behaviour which is prevalent in an unacceptable number of relationships.
Kickstarter link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/690571062/clipped-wings-1
Why did you decide on collating survivor stories together and putting them into one book?
Since the publication of my debut novel Isolation Junction I have been contacted by dozens of people wanting to share their experiences with me and as a result, I decided that I would do everything in my power to give these people a public voice. Sadly, many of these stories have similar themes and support the statistic that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men have been affected by domestic abuse during their lifetime. It is because of this that this project has developed, and the true impact of the statistic becomes a reality which brought me to this next step, to give a voice to those who would usually not be heard.
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.
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 (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.
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 what’s 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 five, seven, and almost two-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/
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
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 this 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.