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6.27.2012

Summer of Indie Discusses SICK With Author Jen Smith


Our next guest on the Summer of Indie blog is author Jen Smith, here today to talk about her memoir SICK. In her memoir, author Jen Smith discusses her own life story, and her experiences with "drug dealing, addiction, and surviving abuse," in the hopes that it will entertain, but also help empower those who are suffering from abuse.



To get a better idea of the specifics of her memoir, we asked Jen Smith to give us a synopsis:

Small time drug deals and a passion for growing pot filled my world before I met Greg. But the first time I got off a flight, strolled over to the baggage claim in my carefully chosen new outfit and picked up two brand new flowered suitcases filled with eighty pounds of Mexican swag pot, I felt like I had found my true calling in life. The adrenaline rush of getting away with something big along with the money I would make was a new kind of high I’d never before experienced. I was instantly addicted. Making money organizing drug runs around the country was intense. Greg and I were a money making duo like none other. Life with Greg was exciting for a while but it wasn’t long before it became a cat and mouse game – then a complete nightmare.

Words like belittling and narcissistic were not in my vocabulary. Later, learning these words helped me disconnect from the mental torture. The tension would build as I protected him while he isolated me from friends and family. Then there would be an incident of abuse which confused me. At first it was lying, hurtful words and actions but quickly escalated to guns at my head, knives, and using my son to manipulate and control me. The honeymoon phase would be another fabulous trip to Hawaii or resort hopping around the world. I didn’t see the cycle or even understand abuse. The drugs and alcohol allowed me to tolerate and numb the pain until my spirit dwindled down to a shadow of nothingness. How could I escape the far reaching sabotage of any attempt at my freedom? Could there be a way out? Could I find a way to spare my son from this drug infested violent existence that would surely crush his soul?

After hearing this overview of her own life story, we delved deeper and asked author Jen Smith about what inspired her to write this memoir and tell her story:
After years of debauchery, addiction, bad choices, and confusion I found recovery and began a life consistent with someone who would be considered a productive member of society. This was painfully weird for me at first and still is a bit awkward. In pursuit of a legal means to support my son, I went back to school and attained a few degrees. The most intense being a Masters Degree in Financial Economics. Soon it was time to get a job. The idea of working was also painfully weird for me but by that time in my recovery I had seen it done by others. One of my first interviews was with Sovereign Bank. They showed me the cube in which I would be working. It was a solitary dark space with high confining walls around it. I cried all the way home.
I did find work in a reputable investment company in a cube that was a little less dark with walls a little less high. It was, however, positioned down a back cold alleyway filled with stale air. Despite this I commence to assimilate into the corporate environment working my tale off learning as much as I could as fast as I could, accomplishing a lot. My boss was a tall well connected man. Before long his deep rooted low opinion of woman was unmistakable. A smart man, his detrimental belittling and minimizing of my abilities were subtle, never saying or doing anything that could be outwardly pined as sexist. This wore on my spirit and had residual effects on how my all men colleagues treated me. Finally this culminated into my boss deciding to demote me from a salary to hourly employee without reason. He said it came down from corporate but the other two men who were my equals were not affected and remained salary. I thought to myself, no matter how much money I make for this company, and I had made a lot, I’m never going to get anywhere under this man. So I began to write.
My story is one of addiction and survival of domestic violence and abuse. Through pain I've grown and recovered with hope to clear a path in some small way for other women to come up behind me. This is why I choose to tell my story. While the escapades and criminal activity may be interesting to some, the real story is the little bits of awakening woven in here and there, about the insidious devastation of abuse. My desperate attempts to understand how a human being can so deeply hurt the one they say they love were sometime futile but sometimes revealing. It’s just sick.
The other day a friend of mine stuck in the cycle of abuse referenced a part of my book where I made an attempt to break the cycle. She said this gave her strength to make an attempt to break the cycle in her life. That was it. That was all I had hoped for by writing this book. Just one person was enough for me. So anything else that happens with this book is icing on the cake!
Being in recovery I have had the opportunity to work on the situation with my boss and the resentments I've carried. At first my thought led to questions like, how could this be happening to me? Hadn't I been through enough? Didn't I deserve to be treated equally and be judged on my merits? Later my work turned towards things like, where could I have stuck up for my self more. I believe we attract what we have in our lives and there was something about me that attracted one more sexist man into my life. The process of writing my book has helped me get rid of that last little bit of victim I was holding on to. Deep into my writing my boss was replaced with a women who, although only my boss for a short period of time, empowered me. The fact that she demoted my prior boss and took away all of his direct reports was nice too. Today I have a fair respectful male boss. But the truth of it all is that from my despair came the strength and determination to follow my dream of telling my story and empowering women who experience abuse.
If you’ve read my book, stay tuned, I’m busy writing the rest of the story for you. You won’t believe what happens next…

After experiencing this glimpse into Jen Smith's memoir, we asked her a few follow up questions about her book. And to end this on a slightly lighter note, Summer of Indie asked a few personal questions as well.

Q: Please tell us more about your book
A: My book SICK is a memoir about dealing drugs, addiction, and surviving abuse.
Small time drug deals, following the Grateful Dead, and a passion for growing pot filled my world before I met Greg. But the first time I got off a flight, strolled over to the baggage claim in my carefully chosen new outfit and picked up two brand new flowered suitcases filled with eighty pounds of Mexican swag pot, I felt like I had found my true calling in life. The adrenaline rush of getting away with something big along with the money I would make was a new kind of high I’d never before experienced. I was instantly addicted. Making money organizing drug runs around the country was intense. Greg and I were a money making duo like none other. Life with Greg was exciting for a while but it wasn’t long before it became a cat and mouse game – then a complete nightmare.
Words like belittling and narcissistic were not in my vocabulary. Later, learning these words helped me disconnect from the mental torture. The tension would build as I protected him while he isolated me from friends and family. Then there would be an incident of abuse which confused me. At first it was lying, hurtful words and actions but quickly escalated to guns at my head, knives, and using my son to manipulate and control me. The honeymoon phase would be another fabulous trip to Hawaii or resort hopping around the world. I didn’t see the cycle or even understand abuse. The drugs and alcohol allowed me to tolerate and numb the pain until my spirit dwindled down to a shadow of nothingness. How could I escape the far reaching sabotage of any attempt at my freedom? Could there be a way out? Could I find a way to spare my son from this drug infested violent existence that would surely crush his soul?
Q: Where can people get your book?
A: SICK on Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Smashwords

Q: In your book, who is your favorite character?
A: Being a memoir I am the main character of the book SICK. My plight and experiences are real; there will be no question of this despite some of the outrageous and unbelievable situations I get myself into. I have two goals for my book SICK. First, I wish to entertain you. Second, I hope to give people a peek into the insidious sick dynamics of the mind of the psychopath. The physiological damage that is inflicted as well as a new look at the age old question asked of the abused person, “Why do they stay?”

The other day a friend of mine stuck in the cycle of abuse referenced a part of my book where I made an attempt to break the cycle. She said this gave her strength to make an attempt to break the cycle of abuse in her life. That was it. That was all I had hoped for by writing this book. Just one person being helped was enough for me. So anything else that happens with this book is icing on the cake!

Q: What's your favorite indie book that you've read recently?
A: Biker by Dan Mader

Q: What's your favorite book of all time?
A: I love so many, usually the one I’m reading. Right now it’s ‘A Piece of Cake’ by Cupcake Brown


Q: Who are some of your favorite authors?
A: I love to read books about human nature that help me understand how the world and people work, like Eckhart Tolle and Malcolm Gladwell. I read a lot of self help books and books about being happy like Joe Vitale’s ‘An Awakening Course’, and Andrew Weil’s new book ‘Spontaneous Happiness’.

Q: Do you have any advice for new writers?
A: Don’t quit your day job.

Q: What's next for you?
A: My book SICK is a bit of a cliffhanger. I have more to tell that includes a whole new line up of characters including shady lawyers, cops, an old hippie private investigator, tweekers, and a Hells Angles killer that slept in my bedroom with a loaded assault rifle.
Q: Anything else you'd like to tell us that we probably couldn’t guess about you?
A: I’m an economics geek. Loved Alan Greenspan’s book Age of Turbulence. 
You can find author Jen Smith online at
Facebook:
On Twitter:
Or on her website:


2 comments:

  1. Love your advice for writers and your story sounds compelling! Thanks for dropping by this blog and sharing it with us.

    ReplyDelete
  2. So sorry you were SICK, and lived to tell about it, Jen. I pray that your unhealthy, devastating experiences will help others who might find themselves in the same dire straits.

    I hope you're well and healthy now...and inspiring others by your example.

    All the best with your book and your life.

    Heart Hugs - Betty Dravis

    ReplyDelete