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Author Interview with Joanna V. Hunter of But He’ll Change

But He'll Change by Joanna V. Hunter

I am so thrilled to be able to interview Joanna Hunter! I had quietly put her writing up there on a pedestal as I wrote my book, thinking if only I could be halfway as good as Joanna, I would be happy. I later found we were in the same groups on LinkedIn and an online forum.

Her book is a must for anyone who is in an abusive relationship. It provides help and advice. She was also on The Kathleen Show.

A brief synopsis of the book, But He’ll Change.

But He’ll Change; End the Thinking That Keeps You in an Abusive Relationship is a self-help book published by Hazelden in 2010. It received a Nautilus Book Award.

In this compassionate book, Joanna V. Hunter offers women who are coping with physical or emotional abuse the information and guidance that she needed when she was in an abusive relationship. Using expert advice complemented by her story and the stories of other women who have survived and turned away from domestic violence, Hunter helps you face, head on, the messages you’ve internalized that hold you in an abusive relationship. You will learn to

  • Identify the lies you’ve accepted and counter them with healthy thinking.

  • Give yourself permission to stop taking the blame for your partner’s behavior.

  • Identify your partner’s power and control plays so they no longer entrap you.

  • Stick up for your own needs and plan for your (and your children’s) safety.

With But He’ll Change you will learn new messages designed to help you build strength and hope. You will develop the tools to operate not as a victim, but as a survivor who understands the power you hold to change your life. “Healing means you’ve taken back your power,” writes Hunter. “My hope is that this book will help you shed labels, transcend the past and walk into a better life–the one you’ve always hoped for.”

What is the ‘back story’ to your book cover and title?

As a rule, the publisher picks the title. Hazelden’s editors didn’t need to include me in the decision, but they did. We spent time tweaking my working title Yes, but… Fighting the Self-talk that keeps you stuck. Titles need to express the concept of the book in a few words. The editors suggested But He’ll Change — which embodied the hope held most fiercely in the heart of every victim. I knew it would speak to those who needed my book. We clarified the subtitle to — End the Thinking That Keeps You in an Abusive Relationship. At one glance, you know exactly what this book is about.

What made you want to become a writer? What were you motivations and inspirations?

I was always a storyteller. When my mother and I were driving somewhere, she’d say, “Tell me a story.” All my growing up years if I wasn’t drawing, I was writing. I’d pass my stories around to my friends. As an adult, marriage and children took center stage. Trying to keep peace in the home wrought with violence zapped my creative energy. I remember feeling crushed and old when I turned 31 and was no longer eligible for the Redbook young women’s writing competition. Submitting a story to them was something I’d always yearned to do, but never had the time or energy to follow through.

Did you employ and editor for the storyline, proofreading or editing?

Hazelden provided me with a terrific editor. She was a dream come true. I knew I could only take the book so far, then I needed new eyes to evaluate it. She was respectful of my work. One thing I really appreciated was that she asked if I wanted her to rewrite the weak sections or if I wanted her to make suggestions and I do the rewrite myself. Since I felt I could learn a lot from her, I rewrote the sections with her guidance.

Are you self-published or traditional/ Why did you choose to publish this way?

My preference was to go traditional. Though, not readily available at that time, I did consider self-publishing.

Being nonfiction, I didn’t need an agent. However, I did have to write a proposal according to the publisher’s guidelines. It took me 6 months to write and pull all this information together. At 100 pages in length, it containing information on everything from what the book is about, why I wrote it, chapter summaries to a market analysis of other books similar to But He’ll Change.

Hazelden Publishing was about the 4th publisher to whom I submitted my proposal.

Do you have any hints or tips that you have found in marketing?

Hazelden provided me with a Publicist. She advised me to use all the electronic social media opportunities out there while she sent out a media blast about But He’ll Change. We had a good response and I did many radio and some TV interviews all over the country.

I got busy and created pages on Facebook and Myspace. Author pages on Goodreads, Linked In and Amazon. Developed a blog. Joined Twitter.

What was your most amazing moment in writing your book?

The way the book was given to me. This was the book I was meant to write. I was working on a novel about the relationship between two women touched my domestic abuse. While developing the characters, all the reasons I and others (women I knew from therapy) had used to justify why we couldn’t leave our relationships came to mind. I started jotting them down. Before long, I had two pages of statements — but I love him — my children need a father — he doesn’t mean to hit me — If I leave now and he changes, I’ll lose out.

This book awakened me in the middle of the night. I knew I needed to write it. I sat down at the computer and the words flowed. Even style and layout was there. I felt like a conduit in the flow of something important. Experts I contacted for interviews were willing to talk and suggest others to contact. It was an amazing process. Humbling.

If your novel was to be made into a movie which actor would you like to play the leading role?

This is not likely to become a movie. However, I was contacted by a young actress who had seen my book and was using it as she prepared for a role.

Is there a sequel forthcoming or any new book in the works?

I just finishing a final rewrite (is there really ever a final rewrite?) of a work of fiction. Regarding a sequel to this book, yes, I have something forming in my mind.

Do you have an inspirational, motivating or funny anecdote you would like to share?

I know that there are stories surrounding us, we need only to take a hold of one and write. If we don’t someone else will. I know this through experience. Years ago, I was at my beach house with not a scrap of paper in sight. I had an idea, grabbed a grocery bag and started writing a story about a young woman married to a struggling architect. A wealthy man offers her a million dollars if she’d spend one night with him. I never finished that story. The grocery sack laid in my drawer. Indecent Proposal came out a few years later written by someone who followed through.

Write your book now!

If you would like to know about Joanna, please click on the links below:

Facebook: Facebook

Twitter: HunterJV

Hazelden book store: Hazelden Book Store

Claire Cappetta
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