Hi, my name is Raquel Whiting Gilmer and I am a wife, daughter, aspiring mother (I don’t have any kids yet but I want them.), sister, friend, small group leader, lawyer, entrepreneur, confidant, advisor, blogger, twitter attempter, soon to be published author, and accepter of crumbs. Well, a recovering crumbs accepter. What’s a crumb accepter? Is it as bad as it sounds? It’s bad, but it’s preventable and curable.
Freedictionary.com defines a crumb as a small fragment, scrap, or portion. And it defines accepter as one who accepts. So a crumbs accepter is one who accepts small scraps. No bueno, right? How did I get like this? Well, I think my low self-esteem was the root cause of it. And I’ve learned that when your self-esteem is bad then you will accept anything including crumbs in all areas of your life. BTW, my biggest crumbs area was definitely my relationships with men.
Things are different now and I have committed myself to Live Crumbs Free. Live crumbs free? Yes, I am committed to not accepting crumbs in any area of my life. But to get to this point, I had to do some work. I first had to work on my self-esteem. And after lots of therapy I got to a place where not only did I have high self-esteem but I started a website, www.perfectlyme.com, and a girls’ program, Perfectly Me Girls to encourage other women and girls to embrace and love who they are and not judge themselves by the world’s standards. Our motto is I’m not perfect, I’m just Perfectly Me.
Once my self-esteem was on the rise, I could start to look at the crumbs in my life. And I knew I had to deal with my personal crumbs and I’m happy to report that after many failed relationships and mounds of crumbs, I met the love of my life and married him. Yay!!! I have the full meal and then some now and it has changed my life. I want everyone to have that full meal and I know how bad the crumbs are so I’ve written my first novel about a woman struggling with relationships who finally figures out that Crumbs Aren’t Enough. I hope you will read my blog at www.raquelwhiting.com, check out my novel, and follow me on twitter, @perfectlyraquel, as I dole out advice and wisdom (my limited wisdom) on keeping your self-esteem high and getting rid of the crumbs.
Tell us (we won’t tell promise!) is it all it’s cracked up to be? I mean what are the perks and what are the demands?
Wow, tough questions out the gate. I think interrogate is probably a better verb than interview. Just kidding. J Is it all it’s cracked up to be? I can honestly say I don’t know yet. I definitely have a sense of pride and accomplishment from completing Crumbs Aren’t Enough. I worked so long and sacrificed so much personal time on this project that holding it, selling it online, and reading great reviews makes me feel awesome. The biggest perk is definitely reading reviews where people clearly “get it.” I wrote this novel to be entertaining and to have a message about low self-esteem and the impact it can have on personal and professional relationships but I wanted to be sure that the message wasn’t too heavy handed. I wanted to inspire women, in particular, through storytelling to think about when they’ve accepted crumbs and why they did. It feels great to see that I accomplished what I set out to do. The greatest demand is getting the word out. I worked for years writing and editing the novel and now I am anxious to have a large audience of women read it, not just for book sales but because I think no one should accept crumbs and I hope the novel will help women get to the important realization that Crumbs Aren’t Enough.
Which route did you take – traditional or self-published – and can you give us the nitty gritty low down on what’s that like?
I personally decided to self-publish. I considered going through the traditional-publishing process and to be honest there are definitely moments when I wish I had. Self-publishing is amazing because you have freedom and control. For example, I was committed to a certain look and feel for the book cover. Because I self-published, I had the control. I hired the photographer, staged and styled the table exactly how I envisioned and directed the photographer to get the best shot. I couldn’t have done this if I’d traditionally published. But, one of the drawbacks is definitely getting traditional media attention. It is difficult to get press coverage (although I know this is hard for all authors unless you have a big name and following) and even some bloggers won’t review your work if you are self-published. I am still working to figure this out. The one piece of advice I give to anyone interested in self-publishing is it is crucial to get the right team through your publishing company. I used Mill City Press to do my publishing and they are a great group. They have all of the services of a traditional publishing house and most importantly they have great editorial services. My editor, Kate Anofski, was amazing. She really helped me turn the story around to make the best impact.
Tell us for real what your family feels about you spending so much time getting your book written, polished, edited, formatted, published, what have you?
My family is extremely supportive. My husband is the best and while he does miss hanging out with me while I’m writing, he knows that this is my dream. We don’t have any children yet, although we are trying and I am certain that they will change the amount of time I have to write.
Do your pets actually get their food on time or do they have to wait until you type just one more word?
We don’t have any pets but I can say honestly that they would probably have to wait to get their food. Once I am on a roll, it is hard to stop. I find myself rocking back and forth because I don’t even want to stop for a bathroom break.
In writing your book, how did you deal with the phone ringing, your family needing dinner or your boss calling you saying you’re late?
I’m lucky, my husband, Mike, cooks so that wasn’t an issue. My mom and friends always knew what days and times were put aside for writing so they didn’t bother me. Work, however, definitely interferes with my writing constantly. I have a crazy schedule and a very demanding job. I even tried to take vacation days to write, but I couldn’t devote the time I wanted because of my work demands. Hence, it took me over five years to complete my first novel.
How about the social networks? Which ones do you believe help and which ones do you wish you could avoid?
I would say Twitter is the most important social network that I use. It’s so easy and there are so many people on it. I haven’t had as much luck getting the word out on Facebook yet. I’ve heard amazing things about Pinterest but I have not had the time to really dig in.
What is one thing you’d like to jump on the rooftop and scream about?
I want to shout accept no crumbs!
Okay, too much sugar for you today! Here’s a nice cup of Chamomile tea and come on over and sit under the cabana and watch the waves roll in. Now…can you tell us what you love about being a published author and how all those things above doesn’t matter because it’s all part of the whole scheme of things and you wouldn’t have it any other way?
I love that I’ve finally published my novel and that it’s out there and people are reading it. I was inspired to write it because of my own personal relationship challenges. Like Charlie, the main character, I accepted a lot of crumbs from men I dated. I had lots of crappy relationships and I couldn’t figure out why. This went on for years. I wanted to have a great relationship, I wanted to get married, but I couldn’t seem to attract the right guys or develop positive romantic experiences. Then, I found an amazing therapist who helped me change my life. Throughout the therapy process, I learned that a big part of my problem was that I didn’t think “I was good enough.” Not even good enough for the crappy men I was dating. This feeling was the direct result of my low self-esteem. I had to build myself up before I could even think about getting involved with anyone romantically. When I finally got to that place of feeling good about myself and knowing that I was “good enough,” I could start attracting the right relationships. I don’t think I was alone in this struggle. In fact, I’ve watched some of my friends go through the same battle. So I wanted to share with women some of the lessons I learned during my journey to self-love and acceptance. I want others who are in crappy relationships to know that there is a different way. They can have better relationships and they should demand them. I’ve had people ask me why I didn’t write a self-help book or a memoir instead of a novel. My answer is always the same - while I am passionate about helping women feel better about themselves and hence attract the right relationships, I am not an expert and I don’t ever want to give people the impression that I have all the answers. But, I believe I am a great storyteller and I hope the story that is weaved in Crumbs Aren’t Enough will help other women get to the place where they are seeking out the best relationships. I hope women can relate with Charlie and learn from her clear mistakes. She is such a fun woman and she is easy to love – and when you love her, you want the best for her. And I want every woman reading it to want the best for themselves.