It’s our honour to showcase author Jenny Hayworth’s book this time. Jenny’s life has taken a rough path where she has been struggling to get out of the terrible emotional trauma due to sexual abuse and religious fundamentalism. She has been living a life ”inside” her imagination before she was able to finally express her feelings and face the world ”outside”. Hayworth has survived sexual abuse and religious obligations over the years. Now she is sharing her very own experience being a survivor and sending very important messages to everyone facing similar situations out there that there is life out there waiting to be embraced! Read her interview below:
Where do you live?
I currently live in Queensland, Australia. I was born in England, and emigrated when aged 2 years old to Australia under £10 scheme with my parents. At the age of 9 years my family moved to New Zealand to live. When I was aged 34 years I relocated with my husband and children back to Australia to live. My youngest son was born in Australia. I hope to move to a cooler part of Australia to live within the next two years, on a larger block of land, as my husband and I wish to live a more self sustaining lifestyle.
Why do you write?
When I was at primary school my teacher in Grade 4 wrote on my report card that I “was gifted at writing” and should be encouraged. He also said that modesty was not a virtue if it meant I was self depreciating. I never really understood what he meant until just recently. I never saw myself as a “writer” but I had never stopped writing since school days but it was all in journals and diaries for my own records and often on scrap bits of paper that I ended up throwing away. My writing sustained me for years as a way of putting thoughts and feelings on paper that I could not express outwardly or that I could only experience inside of me in my fantasy world. Writing made more real what I had kept hidden inside of me when I first started to actively write down memories that I had not told anyone about and I was actively trying to heal myself emotionally. Now I have completed my memoir I have an urge to write down real stories about real people who may feel they cannot write down their experiences themselves but have an important story to tell.
What do you write about?
At this point in time it has taken me 6 years to complete my memoir and I am not actively engaged in writing another book at present. However, I am occasionally writing articles for my husband, who runs a website dealing with topical web based issues, as well as local projects I am involved in with the local writing club I belong to. Our town was recently flooded and our group is editing stories that local people contributed about how the trauma of the recent flood affected them. The goal is to release the stories in book form midyear and this will be available for purchase for local community with proceeds to give ongoing help to flood victims. I have ideas for books I wish to write in future but I have confidence that when I am ready to launch into my next book that the idea will “find me”.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I just start writing. I do not worry about beginning, middle or end. If I have an idea or concept then I just free write until I can write no more. Later on, I will edit and change things around. I will focus on paragraphing and grammar and spelling and “introductory sentences” and conclusions etc. I find if I try and think about all these things at the time of writing it interrupts the creative flow and “boxes me” into a particular line of thought and doesn’t allow for free flow of ideas. I cut out a lot during editing as I focus on the “theme” or main idea I am trying to get across but this does not worry me as I usually have plenty of material to “cut down” and work with. Sometimes I found during writing my memoir that I would wake in the middle of the night after writing a particular section of work and the sentence or idea I needed would be in my head and I would have to get up and write it down. I keep a notepad next to my bed for these moments, so I can go back to sleep, and not lose the thoughts, and these are often the most powerful sentences and chapters I end up writing.
What are obstacles that come in the way of writing?
The main obstacle is my paid work. I am meant to work 9-5pm but often find myself starting earlier or finishing late. I get very tired as I work at a demanding job and often feel frustrated that I am too tired to think properly after work. When I was writing my memoir, I would often fall asleep when I got home from work to wake up about 11pm and then I would write for an hour or two before going back to bed. Also, family commitments and friendships can get in the way of writing especially if I have set deadlines for myself. I find when I am actively writing I had to become quite selfish as otherwise I would never have completed the goal I set for myself. I also found that when writing my memoir, my writing would evoke emotions over past events I had recalled and for a few days I would find myself bursting into tears or very “distracted” with recall and memories that would arise that I had not thought about for a long time. This evoking of emotion would be a distraction for me as I did not produce as much material at times due to allowing myself time to experience these emotions, and needing extra sleep or rest. I found long walks helpful for sorting out thoughts and feelings and often ideas for rearranging chapters or what I wanted to write about would become clearer during these walks. I love my family and friends so please do not think I neglect them all the time, but I felt it important to say that I had to severely curtail my time at times with them otherwise I would never have been able to write. All my children fortunately were adults except for one nearly grown up son who is 15 years old and so I was able to be selfish without harm to them. But I did lock myself away with threats of “dire consequences” if I was interrupted during the times I was trying to complete my memoir.
What is the most memorable thing said/asked by a reader about your work?
I am only newly published (15 January 2014) and so I only have a few reviews written so far on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk and Goodreads. The first time someone wrote a review after downloading my eBook and stated: “I couldn’t put the book down, moved me from the first page” I wanted to cry. I just wanted to provide hope and encouragement for those who had experienced similar situations in life, and enlightenment for others who had no experience of such things but might know someone who had so they could be empathetic and understand a bit more deeply. If only one person is helped or feels supported then I am happy.
What would you say is your interesting writing “quirk?”
I think the fact that sometimes I dream up scenarios and then write them down and then go straight back to sleep. One time we had a workshop coming up where we had been encouraged to present a 5 minute talk on anything we wished in relation to our work in front of our colleagues. I dreamt about this and came up with 3 scenarios (all acted out in my dream) of exactly what I wished to say. When I woke up I wrote them all down, including the “one liners” that concluded or began the 3 scenes and I was so happy as they were perfect for what we had to do. I believe other writers have this occur but it is something that ones may feel is “quirky”.
What do you think makes a good story?
Any story has to engage the reader and the reader has to become connected to the main characters (good or bad) and feel invested emotionally in what is happening to them. If your characters are boring, or the reader cannot relate to their experiences, or they dislike them with nothing redeemable or fascinating or horrifying about them, then no one will be interested in what is going to happen next. So I suppose for me, I have to be moved emotionally in some way by what I am reading to feel that a story is a “good” story.
Something about the author:
Jenny Hayworth (1965-) was born in England, emigrating in 1968 with her parents to Australia when she was only 2 years old, and then moving to New Zealand at the age of 9 years. She returned to Australia in 1997 and has lived there ever since.
Her first book, a memoir, Inside/Outside was published in January 2014 by Createspace. She lives with her husband, who is also a writer, in a blended family with 3 of their teenage sons still living at home and 3 adult children living away from home, now making their own way in the world. She also shares her space with 2 dogs, 2 cats and 4 chooks, and proudly shows off her permaculture food forest and perennial garden she has created in her backyard.
Jenny completed her Bachelor of Science, majoring in Psychology in 2010, and currently works with prisoners. She was in the cult-like religion known as Jehovah’s Witnesses for over 30 years, after her parent’s joined when she was only 5 years old. After she left, she was announced as “dissassociated” and was treated as if dead by her mother and all her friends who remained in the faith. She is well equipped to offer support and share her story with others who have experienced shunning and estrangement from their families due to religious fundamentalism. She is an advocate for those who have experienced child abuse and are trying to recover as adults, and also has a passionate interest in advocating and supporting refugees.
Link to purchase book : http://www.amazon.com/Inside-Outside-Womans-Recovery-Religious/dp/1492994707
It’s our honour to showcase author Jenny Hayworth’s book this time. Jenny’s life has taken a rough path where she has been struggling to get out of the terrible emotional trauma due to sexual abuse and religious fundamentalism. She has been living a life ”inside” her imagination before she was able to finally express her feelings and face the world ”outside”. Hayworth has survived sexual abuse and religious obligations over the years. Now she is sharing her very own experience being a survivor and sending very important messages to everyone facing similar situations out there that there is life out there waiting to be embraced!
Join the book trailer release events here:
“ One step at a time. One minute at a time. One hour at a time. One day at a time. One week at a time. One month at a time. One year at a time – life grows and evolves and takes shape.” This is the voice of an individual who has survived childhood sexual abuse, the healing of her own children’s sexual victimization, and escaped the clutches of severe religious fundamentalism.
This is Jenny Hayworth’s voice. Her memoir, Inside/Outside, tells of her journey, beginning inside. She felt trapped inside a closed religion, where she was abused and belittled. She lived inside her imagination – the only place she felt safe.
Then, she travelled outside – discovering a life in the world outside of that religion and learning how to develop real, flesh and blood relationships based on trust.
Hayworth’s inspirational story provides hope for a better life to anyone living with tragedy.
Author’s website: http://www.jennyhayworth.com
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Jenny Hayworth: Then A Victim of Sexual Abuse and Religious Cult; Now A Survivor!