Interview with JANET BENTLEY

Author of Don’t Expect Me To Cry

Don't Expect Me To Cry: Refusing to let Childhood Sexual Abuse steal my life

 

Where are you from originally and where do you reside now?

I was born in Encino, California and currently live in Scottsdale, Arizona

If you currently reside somewhere besides where you were born, what’s the story that lead from there to here?

I lived all over Los Angeles as I was growing up. I moved to Northern California when I was 19 where I married and began raising my two children. After a divorce in 1997, I met my current husband who lived in England at the time. After living in England for a few years, we moved to Redwood City, California. Due to my husband’s work travel, we have lived in North Carolina, New Jersey and ultimately settled in Scottsdale, Arizona where we love it.

What made you decide to write and publish your first book?

What really inspired me to write my book was to tell my story of Childhood Sexual Abuse in hopes that others might not feel so alone. I remember the first time I realized that I wasn’t alone in my experience and it was the most validating, comforting feeling I had ever felt. During my stay at The Meadows, a 45 day residential trauma treatment center in Wickenburg, Arizona, I shared my story of childhood trauma with others there. I realized that not only was I accepted for who I am, it helped others to share their own stories. It sparked the idea of one day writing my story and having it published.

How would you describe your books to first time readers?

My book is raw and emotional and the reader will most likely experience emotions of anger, sadness, and pain. However, the reader will also read of resilience and experience emotions of strength, joy and hope. By publishing my life traumas I hope to help empower others with the courage to heal and have a life of happiness and peace, which is something we all truly deserve.

Who do you feel is most likely to connect with the topics you write about?

Survivors of child sexual abuse, their loved ones and anyone who has a desire to help themselves or others overcome adversity in life.

What unexpected or surprising thing did you learn during the process of writing and publishing?

I think I was surprised at how important it was to just start writing and edit and organize later. At first I tried to write while organizing all my thoughts and journals. I just kept getting stuck. When I stopped trying to write “perfectly”, it all started flowing. There were so many edits to the original manuscript and allowing that process without taking anything personally was instrumental to getting it to a Final Draft.

If you could, what advice would you give to your past self before embarking on this journey?

I would say to worry less, believe in your worth and that being authentic and vulnerable almost always leads to positive outcomes.

How many people would you ideally like to reach with your books?

Because I believe in the power and ability to heal from relational trauma through connection and community, I would like to reach as many people as possible. Everyone deserves to feel the acceptance and love that comes from allowing ourselves to connect with others who have been through similar life experiences. Despite our individual experiences, we are all so much more similar than we think.

What has been the biggest challenge and frustration during the process to date?

The biggest challenge for me is that the severity of my childhood trauma will most likely mean a lifelong journey of healing. Trying to be available for all the things that publishing a memoir have opened up for me, while at the same time still learning how to heal from it all, can sometime clash with the other. I may need to ‘shut down’ during a time when I am being asked to speak is just one example of that. I am definitely up for the challenge though!

What’s your biggest strengths when it comes to book a) writing, b) publishing and c) marketing?

a) Writing: I love to write and I love to read. This has been a huge strength in that I don’t have to push myself much in those areas.
b) Publishing: I guess it is more a gift than a strength, but I have been fortunate enough to be in contact with publishers who truly believe in my story and my message. I think that makes a huge difference.
c) Marketing: I have a husband who is very knowledgeable in the area of marketing and again, it is a tremendous gift!

What’s your biggest weakness when it comes to book a) writing, b) publishing and c) marketing?

a) Writing: My biggest weakness is my perfectionism which can get me stuck more often than I like.
b) Publishing: I guess my biggest weakness would be fear – of rejection etc. I am still working on that, and am able to push through it when I need to, which is often!
c) Marketing: I would say my fear of being in the spotlight which really goes against what marketing is about.

When do you think you will write your next book?

I am working on it now. I have been writing thoughts and ideas and will organize later! I want to write about my healing and recovery process from child sexual abuse and relational trauma. I hope to encourage others to persevere.

Are you self published or did you use a hybrid publisher, or a traditional publisher?

I used a hybrid publisher.

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