I greatly admire Jacqueline Gum for many reasons, and after reading her author interview, I hope you will too. We met through the Bloggers Helping Bloggers group on LinkedIn, and I was won over by her tell-it-like-it-is personality. We also briefly belonged to the same blogging mastermind group spear-headed by Susan P. Cooper, and Jacqueline and I worked together on whipping a query letter and novel synopsis into shape. She is genuine in the best of ways, and I’m duly impressed by her efforts with organizing the PubSense Summit.
Jacqueline Gum was born in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, and has lived in several locations throughout the Midwest during the course of her life. She attended the University Of Cincinnati College Of Business, and made her career in the heavily male-dominated field of heavy duty restaurant equipment. She started writing as a child, but in the last few years has come to view writing as a vocation. While Confessions of a Corporate Slut deals with the complexities of the life of a corporate wife, the backdrop is based in a corporate environment and the unique way it colors the professional woman and her view of marriage. Jacqueline Gum currently resides in Charleston, SC.
1. Please provide a brief synopsis of your book.
CONFESSIONS OF A CORPORATE SLUT (fictionalized memoir)
A woman’s role in marriage has been in a state of evolution since Adam and Eve. But the 70’s and 80’s were confusing a time. Most women had traditional role models in their mothers and grandmothers who were the typical stay-at-home moms of the era.
But the feminist movement was steaming ahead with a clear message that women could “have it all.” During this time, there was a segment of women who blended those philosophies by becoming “professional” corporate wives.
In this story, Roberta Wendall sells her successful company, and applies her business acumen to the growth of her husband’s company. Working unpaid and behind the scenes, her advice is sought by her husband’s minions and even industry professionals who are aware of her role. At the same time, she masters a specific skill set by becoming the ultimate hostess to his many business associates.
She’s unaware that her much directed creation of her husband’s image, resulting in the dynamic growth of his company, is chipping away at her very substance.
It isn’t until he surreptitiously dumps her that she realizes that she created a world for him, yet is left standing outside the gates peering in. Divorce, to her, was like being fired from a well-earned executive position.
Her journey is filled with irony and wry humor as she slowly comes to grips with the knowledge that she was complicit in her own destruction.
2. Tell us a little bit about what motivates or inspires your writing.
My need to write is born from a simmering need to be heard. As a child, I was a convulsive stutterer and rarely had my say in my vocal, noisy family of five. Writing, for me, is an outrageously freeing and powerful thing. It’s like having a conversation with everyone, real or imaginary, I’ve ever deeply loved and some that burned me, too. Except I’m the only one who gets to talk and I can finally articulate everything! I wish I had something deep to say about what made me want to be a writer. Truth is, I could never figure out how not to write. But about 10 or 12 years ago, it occurred to me to explore the value of my words to others… see if they could breathe anywhere outside the lined pages of my journals.
Like any artist, I think writers fulfill a purpose by leaving something of great value behind. Wisdom, an echo of laughter, a remembered earful or eyeful of beauty. Anything, that as years go by, maintains the ability to whisper in someone’s ear and have them turn and take notice.
3. Writing aside, what passions drive your life?
I’m completely passionate about truth, justice, integrity, compassion. I see these as tangible, though I know it sounds a bit crazy! But if we choose to regard them in this manner, be careful not to break them or bend them too far; if we acquire them, own them, treat them with respect, learn to cherish them as precious things to be passed on intact, maybe the world might become a kinder more righteous place. It’s true that I always try to do the right thing…the good thing…for myself and all those I love. Not because I think I have all the answers or because I’m so righteous. It’s because I learned at a very young age that the world is a vast and unforgiving place. Anything can happen. Amid all the chaos of the world, living by these rules makes me feel safe.
I don’t think that this makes me unique at all. Though, I’ll admit on the occasion or two, it’s made feel alone and questioning whether I should have, could have made a different choice, bent a wee bit more. Should it be the lie that brings a smile, or the truth that brings a tear?
4. It’s hard to pick just one, but what do you consider your favorite novel and why?
A good story… Well, the beginning has to beckon, for sure. I have to want to jump on a pathway and then feel compelled to walk, jog or run straight through to the end. Basically that means that the writing has to engage my senses- sound, sight, touch, smell and taste as well as evoke emotion- love, fear, joy, disappointment, exhilaration.
At the heart of it, pretty words aside, it’s about the story and everyone loves a good one. We’ve been telling them, in some form or another, since the beginning of time. Though I think’s there’s a kind of misconception about writers. Honestly, I don’t believe they understand things more than other people. They invent plots they can resolve, and ask the questions they can answer. I think the talent is in building that path I talked about, offering up a journey that people can’t wait to make.
I love so many books! But I’d have to say that ATLAS SHRUGGED by Ayn Rand remains my all-time favorite because it impacted my life in ways I never could have imagined. I read it for the first time when I was 16 and since then, I read it every three years or so. While I am not always in sync with all of the philosophies she espouses, the idea that these characters could fight so hard, sacrifice so much for beliefs so deeply ingrained, offered me a first glimpse at the person I wished to become. I am awed that the author is able to connect plots and subplots so masterfully that the threads are visible.
5. What is the name of your blog and what can readers expect to find there?
On my blog, Where’s The Justice, I try to write short (500 words) essays that deal with the little injustices we all suffer daily. Sometimes funny (knee wrinkles) sometimes serious (integrity). The best tool I have found for building a readership is Facebook and the blogging group Bloggers Helping Bloggers on LinkedIn.
6. What does your drafting and/or editing process entail?
I tend to be disciplined in my writing; I’ve always been a results oriented person. That said, I am constantly jotting notes in a notebook I carry for future blogs or maybe even a situation I’d like to see a protagonist navigate. I have not been very successful with online critique groups, yet I’ve had a great experience with a small critique group. There are 3 of us and these writers have been invaluable. There’s an element of accountability that I like. I always seek professional editing. Even the best writers need editorial help! I think the biggest mistake authors make is putting unedited material out there. I self-edit as much as possible, and when I think I have a good product I pass it on to a pro.
7. Are you traditionally published or self-published?
My first book is self-published, but I consider it a bad experience. I had an agent very interested in Confessions of a Corporate Slut but ultimately it didn’t pan out. It was nothing more than impatience that drove me to publish with Author House. Even though I thought I had done my homework, obviously I didn’t do enough. Several years later, I now know how horrible they really are! They designed the cover and formatted the interior and I paid a fortune for their ancillary services, like press releases. I’ve told everyone who asks, to stay as far away from them and their affiliates as possible.
8. Can you offer one or two helpful tips for fellow writers when it comes to marketing and publicity?
Social media, for sure. But I think it’s helpful to choose a few and really work them, rather than try to participate in every forum. It takes some research do determine what works best for your type of writing. But there is nothing like face-to-face interactions with your readers, so I suggest getting to know your local librarian and independent bookstores in your area. Seek out book clubs and try to get in front of as many people as possible.
The best advice I’ve received is to not try and do everything with social media. People live behind computer screens and you need to get out and meet them!
9. What future projects can we look forward to?
I am currently writing a new book, working title The Flame Dame Chronicles which centers on Kim Carlyle, a divorced and broken woman who finds herself living in a condo building filled with gay men. In the process of adjusting to a whole new culture in Fort Lauderdale, she comes to know their individual stories and realizes that their struggles to lead an authentic life are not so different from hers. This unlikely group of men fuel Kim’s desire and help her find the strength to begin again. I hope to have a completed manuscript ready to shop to literary agents by the end of December.
Then I intend to get back to The Accusers Burden, a story about the abuse of power in the corporate world. It’s marinating in a drawer right now.
10. Is there anything else you want your potential readers to know?
I’m not sure how to answer this! A primary driver in my life has been my curiosity. While my parents could get aggravated by my never ending “why” questions, they still encouraged me to keep asking, keep seeking. In addition, they pushed me to observe everything around me so I could resolve some of those questions myself. This taught me self-reliance at a very early age. My father used to introduce me by saying, “This is my youngest. She’s 13 going on 30!”
You can connect with Jacqueline and her social sites via her blog.
Is there anything else you would like to know about Jacqueline Gum?
Permission must be granted by Jacqueline Gum to use the author images in this post.
Jacqueline is a wonderful person to connect with online and then, move the conversation to meeting in person. That’s what I had the privilege of doing earlier this year. She encouraged me to attend this years Pubsense summit. It was a terrific conference. But the highlight was stealing some of her time for my husband and I to get together with her just to gab. I love that we were able to because she was so busy with making the summit a success for another year.
Thanks for this interview of her Jeri.
Patricia, Thanks for those very kind words. But meeting you and your husband MADE my conference. The highlight of all highlights. And your book has been one of the most enlightening things I have read. Thanks again.
I like this interview for the fluency of Jacqueline’s answers and the conviction that she exudes through her style, simple yet captivating. The virtues she upholds makes her a socially committed writer.
I am sure her book would be as interesting as this interview. Thanks for sharing and my best wishes for a successful launch of your book Jac.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read, and I so appreciate your kind words. Thanks for your good wishes, too.
I’ve loved her writing for a while now, but this interview just made me love Jacquie all the more! It’s so fun to hear more about people we think we know a little. Jacquie’s blog always makes me smile and/or think in a new way about her subject, which is a writing ability that I envy. Someday, I hope to be able to paint a word picture the way she does!
Thank you so much, Meredith! Your blog is one of my favorites. I so envy your drive for the DIY projects, and your instinct for beauty is obviously instinctive. Every time I think I want to re-do a room, I ask myself, “I wonder if Meredith would come to Charleson!” You’re leaving a vast legacy of beauty everywhere you go.
Having been in the corporate world for twenty years, I think a lot of women will be able to identify with Jacqueline’s story! Best of luck – I will check out her blog!
Jan I thank you for taking the time to read this interview. I appreciate your good wishes very much. Might be fun, if we ever find ourselves in the same place, to exchange corporate war stories:)
I always enjoy reading Jacquie’s blogs. She writes with realness and a vulnerability. She is witty, sharp and ahead of the game.
If I could write like Jacquie in years to come, I will know that I have truly accomplished.
Thank you for sharing this.
Phoenicia, that is very flattering! Thank you so very much…I think I’m blushing….
What a fabulous interview, and so interesting to hear about your experience of self publishing. I’ve always enjoyed your high octane energy Jacquie, and this really shows here. What a great post Thanks Jeri too.
AK, thanks so much for reading this. For the record, I’m quite a fan of your writing as well. Self-pub has evolved since my experience. But Author Solutions has grown more evil!!
Wonderful interview! I also met Jacqueline through the BHB community and have become quite a fan of her writing and a regular visitor to her blog. She has a keen wit and sharp mind and I love the way she gets right to the heart of any subject. Thanks for giving us the opportunity to get to know her better.
Marquita, thanks so much. I’m lucky to have found you on BHB and thoroughly enjoy your blog. So grateful you took the time to read this interview:)
I just want to offer some big time gratitude to Jeri for asking me to do this interview. She is someone I hold in the very highest esteem. We’ve worked on a small project together and I can attest that she is tops, both in ability, professionalism, and demeanor. This is such a great opportunity for independents like me, so I am greatly appreciative for it.
Jacquie, and thank you for the continued inspiration as well with your humor, insight, and wit 🙂
I was excited to see you pop up on Jeri’s interview list Jacquie. I always look forward to hearing from either one of you when I post a new story and your critique and enthusiasm is always well received. I cannot speak too highly of you both.
Tim, I am going to take this opportunity to encourage you once again to get your beautiful words into the form of a book. You need look no further than Jeri, for her considerable expertise and I am happy to help where and if I can. You are a writer, mister. Now own it:)
Terrific interview, ladies. It’s always so fun to learn more about someone that you feel like you know–even though we haven’t met yet! And count me as another big fan of Jacqueline’s blog. She always says what she thinks and that’s becoming so rare these days. Good luck on the agent hunting!
PS I remember reading Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead when I was young. It was the first time I’d been introduced to a strong female protagonist who didn’t apologize for her strength, as well as the concepts Rand espoused. Definitely made an impression.
Thanks so much DV! Feel like I know you too:) I am grateful to all of you who allow me to say what I think! I know it’s not always the popular opinion, but I relish hearing how some folks disagree too! Thanks for your lovely comment…….grateful.
Great interview, dear Jeri!. I always enjoy learning about new authors out there!…
Jacqueline Gum´s book sounds really interesting… And so does her upcoming book!….
Thanks so much for sharing. All my best wishes. Aquileana ?★?
Thank You Aquileana! And for the twitter follow, too! I’ve followed you back and look forward to staying connected:)
Jeri, thanks for doing this interview of Jacquie. I so much enjoy her posts – she either makes my day by starting out with a chuckle or she gives me something to really think about.
Being a BHB member for a while now, I have come to know the other members on a somewhat superficial basis and I feel this interview has let me know the real Jacquie better. She has the high values and principles – and a wicked sense of humour – that has made her such a favourite. Thanks Jeri – hugs Jacquie.
Ah dearest Lenie. Thank you and I’m glad this brings us a little closer, with you feeling you know me a little better. So now, I look forward to getting to you a bit better too. Though your warmth is woven through all of your blogs, for sure. Not everyone can appreciate my humor sometimes. So it’s lovely to hear that you do:) Thanks to you!
Hi, great advice and interview. I went to a writing critique group recently and was terrified but my husband pushed me to go. You are right that you have to get out n the world and shake things up. Just not focus on social media.
I love your sassiness and your tenacity to say what you want to say and not be afraid of it. Good luck with your book and the next one you are writing! 🙂
I am thrilled that you worked up enough nerve to join a writing critique group! Yipee!! I so hope you find it beneficial! Kepp me posted on that, I’m so interested to know. And thanks so much for the props. Lovely to hear….
Great interview. It’s always nice to get an insight into the person behind the pen. 🙂
I appreciate your coming by to read! Thanks!
Great interview Jeri. Brilliant to get to know a bit more about Jacqueline too. I’m Already looking forward to reading Flame Dame Chronicles.
Thanks so much! I hope to be finished by the end of this year:)
I love this interview. Jacqueline, I’ve seen your picture in comments here, and every time I see it, I think Reba McEntire.
Your motivation and inspiration for writing is so touching. I come from a very loud family, so I could relate to that. I’ve never had a stuttering problem, but what you said about being able to talk through your writing is so wonderful. “Except I’m the only one who gets to talk and I can finally articulate everything!” This is pretty awesome.
As I get older, I try to be a better person. Approach people with the well-known quote that everyone has a battle to fight that I know nothing about. I try to do little things, whether it’s smiling at someone or wishing them a good morning. I believe if we all do these things, make people feel like they matter, we’d see less sadness, violence in the world.
Thanks for sharing.
Hahaha! I am always so flattered to be compared to Reba… and I do get that a lot. When I was younger, there were a few times that I had to convince some people that I was NOT Reba!!! I love that idea… approach people knowing they are fighting a battle you know nothing of. That’s so wise! Can you imagine if that kind of empathy became contagious???
thx for this interview, Jeri. I’m a big fan of Jacquie, too, and it was great to learn more about her.
Well, the feeling is mutual Doreen! I am a big fan of yours too!
What a nice surprise to find an interview with our mutual online friend, Jacqueline, Jeri.
Truly believe you have painted a correct portrait of Jacqueline. Her writing is intelligent and amusing. Sometimes we have different opinions on subjects she writes about. But that’s how it should be. Imagine how boring if we all had the same opinion.
Catarina, I look forward to reading your posts every week too! I appreciate diversity of opinion when it’s informed. And that’s why I appreciate our differences of opinion sometimes, because you don’t make an argument unless it IS informed. Love that!
**Should it be the lie that brings a smile, or the truth that brings a tear?**
Jacqueline, I loved and savored every word.
Thank you for your wisdom, insight, knowledge, & TRUTH.
Thanks, Jeri, for another relevant, great interview. xxxx
Love and Appreciation from MN.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read th interview…and to comment:) MN? I lived in Minneapolis for a few years when I was a kid!
Every time I read something of yours, whether it’s your blog or this interview, I feel like I know you a little better. You’ve got a gift for expressing yourself very succintly and candidly; it’s not easy to open up and talk about yourself with such honesty. Admiring you very much for putting yourself and your voice out there!
Well thank you so much, Krystyna! Oh my gosh, I so enjoy your blog… becaue you are really an amazing writer. Not too many folks could bring such life to topic like cars!!!
I love the concept for your new book, Jacqueline! I live in West Hollywood, CA which has a very large gay community so I could see something like that really happening. I’ve read your blog for quite a while now, but this was the first I got to hear about what motivated and inspired you to write. Thank you, Jeri for showcasing Jacqueline and thank you, Jacqueline for sharing some of your story.
I didn’t know were lived out there! Next time I go, we’ll have to meet! I ould so love to get your perspective on Flame Dame! Thanks so much for coming by to read the interview:)
I love Jacqueline, her engaging personality oozes over the internet. I know if I met her at a party I’d be standing next to her,with our drinks in hand, devouring the the cocktail shrimp. It’s wonderful reading about her creative process discovering more about her journey.I enjoy your interview posts Jeri , you ask great questions, Thank you
I love the whole idea of that! Oh I hope we do get to stand next to each other at a cocktail party some day:) And NOT a virtual one!!!
Another great interview. Jaquie always keeps it real in her post. I’m sure her novels are the same way.
Ha! You know what is so strange? That so many real things seem so UNreal! LOL Thanks so much Jason.
Per A.K.’s comment above, I’m sure I speak for many when I say that I am inspired by your energy, Jacquie. May you stave off burnout and stay focused for as long as you can.
Oh that is so sweet! What a wonderful wish…I will put that one in my pocket:) Thanks Andy:)
What a great interview with Jacqueline Gum, it is so nice to know a little more about her.
I really wish her good luck with her book. Thank you for sharing this with us.
Thanks for that and I wish you the very best success with your books too!!
I’ve enjoyed reading Jacquie’s blogs and connecting with her online. It’s great to learn more about her in this interview. I’m impressed with her energy and enthusiasm. And, of course, I love her sense of humour.
It has been wonderful to connect with you too Donna. I am such a fan of your blogs. I say that with great admiration…I can barely keep up with my one little blog:)
What a nice surprise and great interview, Jacqueline and Jeri.:-). Jacquie is one of my favorite people. Always supportive always encouraging. And oh so funny. Just love your sense of humor. It’s always nice to read these interviews though and get to know people a little bit better.
Susan thanks so much for stopping by to read the interview. I feel like we know one another! LOL I truly do hope to meet live and in person one day. You are such an inspiration to me…you really have so much drive.