Author Interview with Janet Stead

Sunday, Nov 23/08

Live Author Interview with www.WomensSelfesteem.com


The Interview started as normal with some general chit-chat, settling of nerves and getting comfortable. Soon the interview was underway!

Here's how it went:


Dorothy.....Janet, Thank you for taking time to be part of my interview.
Janet_Stead......My pleasure!

Dorothy.....Why don't you start by telling me a little about you....where you are from and where you grew up?
Janet_Stead.....Sure, I grew up in London, left school at 16 with little or no qualifications. My father didn't believe in girls doing anything other than working in a bank, so I headed off the opposite way into the computer industry, even though I wanted to be an artist.

Dorothy.....When did you begin writing?
Janet_Stead.....I had always had an interest in writing but it really started when my marriage turned to that of violence and I felt the need to record what was happening so that one day someone would read it and do something about violence in the home, which was being largely ignored.
Dorothy.....I can sense the urgency throughout your story in Just Another Day.

Dorothy.....Do you have any favorite Authors that you would say influenced your writing?
Janet_Stead.....There was a sense of urgency as the book is taken from those diaries and I really didn't think I would make it. As for authors who have influenced my work, there are so many brilliant authors out there but my story came straight from the heart, in fact I had trouble stopping.

Dorothy.....Aside from your marriage...was there anything else that inspired you to write, 'Just Another Day'?

Janet_Stead.....Yes my daughter who throughout was a real support and I didn't want the things that had happened to go with her into her adult life
Dorothy    How did you come up with the title for your story?
Janet_Stead.....That's an easy one, in fact I felt at the time that I was lucky to get through another day. It is also the initials of my ex-husband JAD

Dorothy.....That is interesting....using his initials...was that some sort of revenge or was it more therapeutic on your behalf?

Janet_Stead.....Sure, you asked about why I used the initials. Writing the book as an amazing cathartic exercise, getting rid of something that had been in side me for far too long.
Dorothy.....That is totally understandable.

Dorothy.....Is there anything that you would change if you had a chance in Just Another Day?
Janet_Stead.....An author is never happy with their final work, there is always more I could have done. However it is a true account of how I felt at the time and I trust will be useful for any other women going through similar events.

Dorothy.....Was there any part of your book that you found particularly challenging to write?
Janet_Stead.....Of course, when writing a story like that, you relive places you would probably not wish to, some will remain firmly shut away, so it is an emotional journey.

Dorothy.....Your book is about Domestic Violence...what would your first piece of advice be to women who has just stepped into a relationship?
Janet_Stead....I list tips for checking whether you are going out with the right man in my second book - Beyond Reproach by Jenny Simpson. There is a useful checklist. Manipulation takes many forms and the process is gradual, rely on your friends and family to help you spot things that you may have overlooked when wearing those rose petal glasses.

Dorothy.....So many women ask this question...."why do I keep choosing the same type of relationships over and over again"? How would you advise them on this issue?
Janet_Stead.....These men going looking for you, not the other way around. We think it is us but I have met so many women who started off with high self esteem, they are the ones that usually end up with violence in a relationship. psychological abuse is used to control you. Use your intuition, you know when something seems wrong, if only we followed our intuition.
Janet_Stead.....I don't know what the statistics are in the US but here DV affects one in four women.
Dorothy.....I totally agree with that thought..I have said exactly the same thing so many times. I beleive that awareness is the first key when choosing a partner.
Dorothy.....The stats here are very high....I don't have the exact number at hand, but they are almost inconceivable.
Janet_Stead....Yes sensory acuity is something they should teach at schools along with spotting DV. The stats are off the home office website. It was only 2004 when we had the biggest overhaul of the Domestic violence bill in 30 years.
Janet_Stead.....9 out of 10 rape cases fail before going to court. I live near the city of Brighton and a police friend told me he dealt with 3 rapes on Saturday night and that there are 5 rapes a week, just in Brighton.
Dorothy.....That is totally unacceptable. They have done so much to destroy this rape and violence act against women and it seems to be going totally the wrong way.
Dorothy.....It doesn't make sense....women are stronger today and more willing to say no and fight. That in itself should make a difference.
Janet_Stead.....Don't forget many cases of rape and DV go unreported. 'An incident of DV happens every 20 seconds in the UK '(Stanko 2000). However since the bill was passed on 15th November 2004 many more women are coming forward. Women has as many as 35 attacks on their person before seeking help and I have yet to see one psychological abuse case go through the courts here.
Dorothy.....It all makes me so very embarrassed to be a be a part of the human race at times.
Janet_Stead.....I would agree, it is shameful. Over here w omen's taxes were dealt with as part of their husbands, that only changed in 1990. What spurred me on to write the books was that I thought I lived in a free society and was horrified that my views even when being attacked didn't count as I was looked upon as a 'domestic'.
Things have changed but not quick enough for my liking and as we speak many women still suffer behind closed doors.
Dorothy.....I do believe also that the Judicial system has to undergo a huge makeover and make laws and penalties much more severe and maybe that will make a substantial difference.
Dorothy.....Yes it is definitely an ongoing issue that needs as much exposure as possible.
Dorothy.....Through people's stories and websites....we just have to hope more women will be reached.

Dorothy.....So tell me, getting back to your book...have you had to do much traveling in promoting it?
Janet_Stead.....Well, the legal system was set up for the perpetrator to be innocent until proven guilty, which is right but somewhere along the line they forgot about the victim. The current government have assured us that the victim should be the center of any investigation and offered safety should they need it.
Janet_Stead.....Promotion of the book came to a halt when I developed ME, which knocked me out for a couple of years. I am recovered now, guess I was so passionate about the subject that it affected my immune system but would be happy to travel, is that an invite?
Dorothy.....I almost have to agree that we still live in a 'Good Old Boys' type culture when it comes to even our laws.
Janet_Stead.... We call it the 'OLD BOYS NETWORK' over here and yes it still exists.

Dorothy....Your story had to be told for your own inner-balance and also for your daughters.
Dorothy.....Is there any other reason that you felt compelled to tell your story?
Janet_Stead.....My story was told because I was sick and tired of being labeled as a result of what happened and didn't want my daughter to go through what I went through, believe it or not when I wanted to publish, publishers felts it wasn't what people wanted to read.
We have many about childhood abuse but not from an adults viewpoint. So I took my savings and published myself. My uncle in Canada invited me out there, and as he is also a self-publisher, speared me on to publish. I was invited to the House of Commons to hear the new bill of 15th November 2004 come into play
Dorothy.....Janet I commend you on your ability to continue to move forward. It is vital for all women out there that feel they have no one or no where to turn.

Dorothy....One last question and then I will open this up to the other women ....

Dorothy.....Is there anything that you would like to tell your readers about Domestic Violence?
Janet.....Yes the feeling of isolation can be overwhelming but you must go on otherwise the abuser wins and one thing is for sure, the sun will come up tomorrow and if you are in an abusive relationship, plan and plot your way out, keeping you and your children safe.
Dorothy.....I have always felt that an abuser will abuse because he can.
Janet_Stead.....Domestic violence is a bit like brain washing the techniques used by an abuser are those used in interrogation.
Dorothy.....It is a right of passage to him when he gets away with even the slightest negative reaction or act.

Janet_Stead.....The abuser is wired in differently to us. their brains are wired up in a way where they believe what they are doing is ok. They take the marriage vows literally - to have and to hold till death do us part.

Dorothy.....I agree.

Dorothy..... Janet.....thank you so much for being so open and trusting with your story!
Janet_Stead.....You are welcome, my story is just one of many but there is a way out.
Dorothy.....I agree.
Dorothy.....I was once told that it takes PURE GUTS to leave a relationship.
Janet_Stead.....Dorothy, yes it takes guts and a bit of planning but you have your whole life ahead of you, so why leave it in the hands of an abuser
Dorothy.....Now I will sit back and invite the women who have taken time to join us ask you a few questions.

Val.....Janet, how are you now?
Val.....How are your daughters?
Janet_Stead.....Val, I have one daughter who is now 26 years old. She has had some issues to look at but is a wonderful person and she has a wonderful man in her life, who is not an abuser
Val.....Then you did your job!
Janet_Stead.....I Forgot to say Val that I am fine
Val.....that is the most amazing thing you can say
Dorothy.....Good question Val and Janet I totally agree that it should not be left in the hands of the abuser.
Janet_Stead.....My job was complete when my daughter stood behind my work and is my number one fan and has become my best friend.

Val.....how did you have the (for lack of a better word) guts, to self-publish?
Janet_Stead.....At the time there was a group of men (there is a good book called the monster pact) around me trying to prevent me from doing just that, one being my ex.
The first book spilt over into the second but I was advised to publish that as fiction or rather my perception of the truth. I felt that if I didn't publish and I have sent copies to MP's and police authorities that my voice would be silenced and that was where I had lived for a number of years. I took out my savings found a printer, after a number of tries that didn't mind the subject matter and went ahead. By this time I also had a good friend in the police force and his colleagues proof read the book.
I think most people thought that I wouldn't stop till it was published and it has caused problems in my family but the message was more important to me.

Peggy.....Did you keep a journal?
Janet_Stead.....Yes Peggy I kept a journal, many because I didn't think I was going to survive but would advise any woman going through this to keep one. It keeps you sane, because when it is written down you realize no one would believe you but only you know the truth.

Val.....was this man the father of your daughter?
Janet_Stead.....Yes Val he was the father of my daughter and that made it difficult because he didn't want to let go.
Val.....I know I know!
Janet_Stead.....However, Val, Kate my daughter no longer keeps in touch with him and made that choice herself.
Val.....they can sucker the rest of the family as well
Janet_Stead.....Val the whole family are told stories about you. My ex told everyone I suffered from PMT and had violent outbursts which is was defending himself from.
Val.....and you end up being the crazy one.
Val    even your own family starts to look at you that way.

Peggy.....before you married him ... did you have any indication ....?
Janet_Stead.....Probably Peggy, if you sit down and analyze but you are too much in love and in my case, there was no-one else in my life. My parents had split up and don't even talk to each other today and my best girlfriend was killed in a car crash. That's why it is important to ask family and friends before you make the mistake. But don't forget these guys can be very charming and manipulative.

Dorothy......Janet...I have to say when I was engulfed in your story...I was so frustrated and wanted to higher a hit man to shoot that person.
Dorothy.....He was very intelligent in his ways around other people and being able to read the story after the fact made it even more difficult.
Janet_Stead.....Dorothy, a hit man was recommended but how could I have looked at my daughter and told her that the violence she had seen spurred me on to another violent act
Dorothy.....I know...it is a self gratifying thought though!
Dorothy.....Men that are psychopathic...or narcissistic are almost impossible to deal with and they are very good at their game.

Spry.....Not to bombard you with questions, but I don't know what to do for a friend who always asks why she always falls in love with that kind of man. She wonders why she can't find a good one.
Janet_Stead.....Spry, the guys who are abusive are looking for vulnerable women, carry out the checklist tips for spotting the wrong man page 116 of my second book Beyond Reproach by Jenny Simpson.
Your friend needs to look at her own self confidence and ask herself what she wants in a man and when she is happy about herself she will meet the right guy.

Peggy.....did you ever ask "why me"?
Janet_Stead.....Yes Peggy I did ask why me but it only made me feel worse, so I concentrated on getting out, remember planning is the key and don't look back.
Dorothy.....Self-respect and self-acceptance are our best weapons.

Dorothy.....Ok Ladies one more question for Janet as I do not want to take up too much more of her time.

Janet_Stead.....Spry there are women just like men who hate being alone, personally I would rather be alone and happy than with someone who ultimately wants to ruin my life
Dorothy.....Janet there is another old saying..." a man would rather have any wife rather than no wife at all"
Dorothy.....I would say that goes in reverse gender also.

Val.....You are a lovely, intelligent and enchanting woman and easy to talk to....Thank you!

Peggy.....Thank you... for taking the time and also for writing the books!

Janet_Stead.....One thing ladies, is that we can all look back and wished we had done things differently, but you should never blame yourself you just had a lack of knowledge at the time, which if you went back today you would take a different route.

Spry.....I agree, Dorothy!
Spry.....I like AA's saying: We don't regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.
Dorothy.....Very good saying Spry.
Dorothy.....It is not about yesterday...it is about right now!
Spry.....And what we plan to do with "Right Now"! Today is the first day of the rest of our lives.
Dorothy.....That is exactly right Spry!
Dorothy    Now if we can all apply those fantastic words of wisdom...we would all be on top of it:)

Janet_Stead.....I am happy to talk to anyone 100 or more should it help.
Janet_Stead.....Val thanks for your comments, for years I thought I was stupid until I woke up.

Dorothy.... I do however want to thank you so much for being here and sharing with us your knowledge and experiences involving Domestic Violence!

Janet_Stead .....Thank you Dorothy for putting this together and I will bade you all a fond farewell, take strength from what we have discussed and put it into action, LOVE YOURSELF!





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