This week, Write On! interviews author Jacqueline Francis.
Jacqueline is an author and speaker who writes books that are educational and informative. She is fairly new to writing, having written her debut novella, originally published in 2017 and republished in 2018: Walk Quiet Run Quick. In 2019, she received Author Of The Year 2019 by ‘Divas Of Colour’, for the storyline based on creating awareness of domestic abuse.
In March 2020 she published her second book, a self-help book: The Relationship Jigsaw. 8 Key Pieces For A Healthy Happy Relationship. Jacqueline has also been a contributing author on two anthologies: Blind Spot. What The Eyes Didn’t See and Mind Your Mother Tongue.
Jacqueline has been presented with a Humanity Award by W.A.G.E.S (Woman & Girls Empowerment Support), for her contribution in empowering women and girls to have healthy happy relationships, free from abuse.
WO: How would you describe your writing to someone new to it?
JF: I have two styles of writing. With my first piece of writing, Walk Quiet Run Quick, a fictional novella is based in West London, I had to get my creative juices flowing in terms of creating characters and plots. Walk Quiet Run Quick informs readers of any warning signs, ‘red flags’ if you will, in their relationships, so they can make informed choices.
I would describe The Relationship Jigsaw as informative and educational; more of a self-help book really. I wrote it to create further awareness of the different types of abuse that women, girls and young people, in general, do not fully understand. I also wanted to provide safeguarding strategies for those who may find themselves in a relationship not conducive to their wellbeing.
WO: Can you tell us a bit about your latest book The Relationship Jigsaw. 8 Key Pieces For A Healthy Happy Relationship?
JF: The Relationship Jigsaw is an introductory, educational, self-help book. It goes beneath the superficial level of personal and family relationships, highlighting issues known as the ‘invisible abuse.’ It’s a follow-up to my first book Walk Quiet Run Quick andI have deliberately taken steps to identify what coercive and controlling behaviours are, how they are formed and ways in which they can be remedied.
My book also provides tools and strategies on how to safeguard your personal wellbeing in a relationship. In addition to that, The Relationship Jigsaw holds other stakeholders accountable: parents, authorities, communities and employers, who also have a responsibility to educate and create awareness re tackling domestic abuse in order to help reduce the ever-growing number of people being affected. This is poignant; now more than ever before. Domestic abuse cases have risen since COVID-19 lockdown, and that has become particularly dangerous, since PM Boris Johnson announced back in March that people should ‘stay at home’. This has left women vulnerable at the hands of their abusers.
WO: What inspired you to write in the first place, and what inspires you now?
JF: About seven years ago, I worked alongside a company that provided support to women fleeing domestic abuse. My role was to provide emotional support in what was a very difficult and challenging time for them. Their stories stuck with me and I wondered whether they’d have stayed in their relationships had they recognised the signs of domestic abuse earlier? So, I decided to write a fictional story, Walk Quiet Run Quick, to create awareness and educate others of how easy it is to fall victim, regardless of who you are or where you’re from. I also wanted to describe the different types of abuse, not just physical abuse, which everyone is aware of.
I continue to write because it’s important to keep the message of abuse at the forefront of people’s minds when in a relationship. Having won Author Of The Year 2019 for Walk Quiet Run Quick, I am inspired to continue to educate and create awareness for others. I love it when young people write and thank me for writing a book that highlights abuse.
WO: The current issue of Write On! explores the theme of ‘A Kaleidoscope Of Colours’. The idea is that life at the moment is like looking through a kaleidoscope: ever-changing, ever-swirling patterns we must interpret and adapt to. Can you tell us a bit about how you been adapting to the shifting landscape of this fairly challenging present?
JF: The current climate is that we are all living with a deadly disease called COVID-19, for which there is currently no known cure. We are most definitely living in unprecedented times, where things are ever-changing and ever-swirling. Like everyone around the world, I have had to adapt to new ways of thinking and behaviours: washing our hands, wearing facemasks and keeping social distancing. I guess this is our new normal.
WO: What one piece of advice would you give an aspiring writer?
JF: Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t write. Just go for it! I’m an indie author and my first piece of writing was writing for an anthology. By doing this, you don’t have to commit yourself to write thousands of words. Also, I would encourage aspiring writers to do lots of reading, which will help with their writing skills.
WO: Can you tell us anything about future projects?
JF: I am considering writing an anthology in order to give others the opportunity to become authors. Several people have expressed interest in starting out this way.
WO: Lastly, if you could choose one fictional animal/creature to be a pet or companion, who would it be and why?
JF: I think it would be Simba from The Lion King. The name itself means Lion in Swahili. It denotes a lion’s characteristic of strength, courage and power, just like those who manage to escape abusive relationships and become survivors, helping others by sharing their stories.
Our First Line Generator Competition Is Now Open. The best two ‘first lines’ submitted will win a copy of The Organised Writer by Antony Johnston.
Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t write. Just go for it!