I am pleased to introduce this week's guest blog interview with author and domestic violence survivor, Gwendolen Wilder. Wilder endured the physical, financial, psychological, and emotional abuse of domestic violence in both a common-law and traditional marriage for twenty-one years. Her new book, It’s OK To Tell My Story! Surviving Common Law Domestic Violence is a work of fiction that’s based on Wilder’s real-life experiences. Similar to thousands of other domestic violence victims, this successful business owner, and retired military veteran felt that the abuse she endured from her ex-common-law husband was her fault. The book details the reality of the continuous betrayals, lack of affection, cruel words, and violent outbursts that so many domestic violence victims endure – and shows how victims can finally get out from under their abusers.
What inspired your latest book?
My son inspired me to write my first book. I didn’t want him to go another day thinking the examples I’ve shown him since birth, regarding adult relationships were considered normal or healthy. I wanted better for him and I wanted to make sure I did everything I could to break the cycle of abuse with me.
What are common traps for aspiring women writers?
A strong tribe. I found it very disheartening when I first started my writing journey that a few of my lady tribe sisters were not as supportive. They couldn’t comprehend why I wanted to write a book or how it could be considered a “real” job. I don’t believe I was taken seriously initially. I was ready to face the world but found it difficult to face the world when my support system wasn’t fully on board initially. But, I believe it was because I was the first in my tribe to take such a magnificent venture (risk) and it was new for them. After I understood this, I helped them understand the importance of why this had to be done. The one’s that got it are still with me. As for the others that thought I was writing the book as a way to get back at my abuser; I said “Bye Felicia” and kept it moving.
What is your writing kryptonite?
My damn apartment and loud ass neighbors. It’s like my neighbors and their dogs know exactly when I’m focused and in my writing zone. It’s right at that moment when I’m ready to inspire myself that my neighbor’s kids are screaming, jumping and almost falling through my roof. Or it’s my neighbor’s dogs acting a dang fool running around; I swear that dog weighs atleast 100 lbs. It’s like the entire apartment complex rallies against me because I can hear every darn noise within a 5-mile radius. I think I wrote the majority of my first book, literally lounging by the pool lol. Lord let these books sell so I can buy a house; a sista would be lethal when that happens.
Do you want each book to stand on its own or are you building a body of work with connections between each one?
My goal is for all the books to complement each other based upon the subject matter of domestic violence. However, my fictional serious are all about the journey of the main character. My third book, which will be the second fiction book in the It’s OK To Tell My Story Series picks up with the main character dating…that journey will be a super fun XXX read.
If you could tell your younger writing self one thing what would it be?
“Girl what that heck, why didn’t you take better care to store all your journals’? And, I would tell her, “Save more money and spend wisely”. Funding this writing passion is no joke. Getting the message out on a zero-dollar budget is a real problem.
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
I’d say it made me more passionate about writing descriptively. I’m more conscious about the use and placement of words.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
A cloud. If I could touch a cloud, I’d imagine it being soft, uplifting and uncontained. Being able to write that first book made me as free as a cloud; nothing to hide. But at the same time. I feel continually uplifted and know I can’t be contained-never again.
Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?
OMGOSH yes! Writing is all about connecting with your source. My source is God. It’s my safe place where I can cry, give thanks, etc. only he and I know why I wrote what I wrote in my journal. There’s something soothing and calming about being able to practice gratitude writing to God. I feel loved. When I write my novels, it’s a different feeling, I feel more as if I’m pleasing God by getting the message out and hopefully bringing others to him; I feel a sense of peace and fulfillment.
What is your writing schedule like?
Crazy as heck. When I was full on in my writer’s mode with book 1…I treated writing like a job. I worked on that book every hour except for when my son was home. When he went to sleep I’d write, when he left for school I’d write when he relocated to college; it got bananas and I barely slept. I had a passion or a burning in my soul and it needed to get out. I think when you are passionate about something it will consume you, but in a good way until it’s accomplished.
How does your family support you in your writing or writing schedule?
My son still asks me, what do you do again; Do you have a job Mum? He’s my #1 supporter and I love his crazy jokes. He cracks me up and keeps me going. The rest of my family supports me now. In the beginning, they didn’t believe I would do it (they won’t admit it I’m sure) lol. They were more concerned about the possible repercussions from writing the book (that fueled me more to write it). For the most part, most them supported me.
It’s OK To Tell My Story! Surviving Common Law Domestic Violence is available on Amazon.
Wilder’s second book, Managing Domestic Violence In The Workplace will be published later this year.
For more information, visit www.GwendolenWilderAuthor.com