This week it’s the turn of Gill Donnell to meet everyone on the Thursday Throng. Gill is the founder of Unlock Your Daughters, an organisation dedicated to developing the potential of women and girls. Her book Celebr8 Success is aimed at the working mum who wants to combine finding her own path with that of motherhood.
A book that claims to talk about how to juggle both family life and your own potential, that tells of twin girls called ‘Drama’ and ‘Crisis’ has to be one that you know is based on the reality of the modern British family. Gill’s book didn’t disappoint.
Too often books like this are full of trite comments, and barely disguised criticism of the reader. They work by shaming the reader into admitting they aren’t worthy of touching the hem of the author’s immaculately cut suit. It was so refreshing to hear someone just like me, admit that managing a life like this isn’t easy and never will be. But who then goes on to give me hope that perhaps I’m not doing too badly after all – and I don’t have kids to look after.
I think the thing that makes this book stand out from the others is that the stories she shares to illustrate the points being made are humorous and honest. There are so many really good ideas that it’s almost hard to know where to start, but the overwhelming feeling I got as I read was that it doesn’t really matter where you start to make a change, just that you do. She sets achievements as something that can realistically be accomplished such as walking the dog twice or ringing the tax man (yes it may have been late, but at least it got done – eventually).
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, downhearted or just plain tired of trying all the time then this little book is read in an afternoon and could just be the help you need to get moving again.
The Gill Donnell Interview
What is one thing that no-one would usually know about you?
Well unless they have read my book, most people would not know that I left the girl’s grammar school that I attended in Bournemouth, after failing my A levels and went to work at Etam. At that time in the late 70’s, a store that gave Chelsea Girl a run for its money as THE fashion boutique to go to for that Saturday night outfit! I spent many a happy hour straightening skirt hems and shirt sleeves!
How did you choose a title for your book?
It was important for me to choose a title that reflected the importance of encouraging women to celebrate their achievements, something, many of us are not terribly good at. It then turned into an anagram for the each of the chapter headings and to the horror of my girls, the text speak ‘8’ seemed perfect for the eight steps to unlocking your true potential. I have now started a book for women who are over 50 and the working title is ‘Rejuvan8’ although I am not convinced, as that sounds a little too much like face cream!
Have you ever wished that you could be or do anything else instead of writing, and if so what?
I have been incredibly fortunate to have had the opportunity to try my hand at a number of jobs before I joined the Police Service and I guess that really made me appreciate the variety that a police career offers. I had a really fabulous time, meet some wonderful and inspiring people and if I had a second chance, I would do it all over again. Since retiring and starting writing, I can now say that I am doing something else that I really love.
Who would you like to play you in a film of your life?
Oh definitely Meryl Streep – preferably in the character of Miranda Priestly from The Devil Wears Prada! If the director were searching for accuracy, it would more likely turn out to be Miranda Hart!
What is the single biggest challenge you faced when writing your book?
Keeping track of time. When I retired from my police career, I was clear that I wanted to spend more time with my twin girls; ’Drama’ & ‘Crisis’- oops there I go again, sorry Emily & Holly. As I had spent the first 13 years of their lives working full time, I told them that I would now be there when they got home from school and a lovely healthy tea would be waiting for them. Unfortunately, too often, as the front door opened at 4 o’clock – I realised that I had not stopped typing for the past 3 hours and no start had been made on the tea.
Do you have any hints or tips for aspiring writers?
Oh yes, ‘Just do it’ and if that is not enough, then buy my book and you will get all the help and encouragement you need to turn those dreams into achievable goals.
What was the most important thing you learned at school?
It may sound very old-fashioned, but I think there is a real benefit to the atmosphere of a girls’ school because there is an expectation that you can achieve at all subjects and sports and there is no ‘impact’ of having boys around, trying to impress the girls or indeed the other way around. That ethos, plus the view of my parents that I could have a go at anything I wanted to, clearly influenced me. I am afraid that I see too many young girls, including my feisty two, more concerned at the views of their peers, rather than trying their hand at something different or even wearing what they like! I feel really strongly about the poor levels of confidence and self-esteem, particularly in many young women and worry about the distorted media portrayal of women. Probably best not to get me started on that!
Where can you find out more about Gill and her book
You can find Gill’s book in Kindle and paperback formats here:
You can also meet her online at:
- her website: unlockyourdaughters.com
- on Twitter: @unlockdaughters
- on LinkedIn: uk.linkedin.com/pub/gill-donnell-mbe-mcmi/25/718/b44
Why ‘The Thursday Throng’?
These posts are called The Thursday Throng in honour of the throng that waits eagerly outside the book store when a new author is doing a book signing event or appearance. On this website it takes the form of a ‘Meet the Author‘ online event with some information about our author’s latest book and an interview. If you would like to take part in the Thursday Throng then why not visit Thursday Throng Author Interview Guidelines to find out more.
If you would like to see all the Authors who have been featured on The Thursday Throng you can click here: womanontheedgeofreality.com/2012/06/17/the-thursday-throng/