On this media kit page, you will find all the information related to Christine Clayfield and her novel No Fourth River. This page is divided into 6 sections: Contact Info, Book Info, Photos, Book Trailers, Book Themes and Possible Interview Questions.
Bullet point bio
• Born in Belgium in 1959.
• Lived in the UK for over 25 years.
• Survivor of mental and physical child abuse (non-sexual) as well as domestic abuse in first marriage.
• She endured over 20 years of cruelty, abuse and bullying.
• At the age of five, she was “dumped” in a boarding school, run by authoritarian nuns.
• Suffered from bullying due to two embarrassing and life-changing problems which were a result of her home environment (an ugly scar on her face and bed wetting until late into adulthood).
Christine talks about her boarding school days:
“One defining moment of my life was the walk of shame I had to do every morning, carrying my wet bedsheet through all the dormitories, while one of the nuns would repeat on the loudspeaker: ‘Attention. The girl in bed 49, has wet her bed. Make way for the bed-wetter.’ A scene quite like Cersei’s walk of shame in the TV show Games of Thrones. In later life, I realised that it was a very influential and defining moment for me because I told myself I would never be laughed at, spit at and bullied again like I did during that walk”
• Left abusive childhood home and was penniless and homeless.
• Had a tumultuous adolescence rife with promiscuity and alcohol.
• Was beaten into a coma, eleven months into her first marriage.
• Discovered sports and became a triathlete, winning several trophies.
• Through grit and determination, she became a successful businesswoman and serial entrepreneur and she has set up 15 businesses.
• Married her soul mate, her second husband, an English gentleman who she raised a family with (twin daughters and 4 stepchildren).
• She wrote 5 business books and 1 novel.
• Bestselling author, wife, mother, serial entrepreneur, public speaker, mentor and Internet marketer.
• Her traumatic past has left her with several incurable conditions (short-term memory loss among others).
• She thinks like there is no box. Individuality matters.
• She is a hard worker, passionate, ambitious and result driven.
• When she is not working, she likes travelling, reading, dining, talking business and watching a good movie.
• Opened up about her harrowing past in her debut novel “No Fourth River”, her own life story.
• It is her mission to help others discover their strengths and inspire people who had a bad past to show that your past does not dictate your future.
Christine was born in Belgium, in 1959 and has lived in the UK for over 25 years. Her past holds much pain, but it did not stop her from changing her life and building the future she wanted.
Christine had a hard life as a child and a young adult. She suffered abuse at the hands of the nuns, the children in boarding school, her father and her first husband. She had a tumultuous adolescence rife with promiscuity and alcohol.
After she left her abusive childhood home, she was penniless and homeless. Her first husband beat her into a coma 11 months into their marriage.
She endured over 20 years of cruelty, abuse and bullying.
Through grit and determination, Christine became a successful businesswoman, a serial entrepreneur and has set up 15 businesses.
Christine is a Bestselling Author, a wife, a mother, a serial entrepreneur, public speaker and internet marketer. She has written 6 books: 1 novel (her own life story) and 5 business books.
She wants to empower and inspire the world with her novel “No Fourth River”, based on a true story: her own life. She wants to help others to discover their strengths. She wrote her novel to let the world know that despite the pain of your past, YOU have the ability to change your future.
“No Fourth River” is about having the strength to choose, the strength to become who you want to be, regardless of your bad past. Christine is living proof of what somebody is capable of achieving when pushed beyond the extreme of extremes.
As a result of publishing her novel, many readers reached out to Christine to share their own story of hardship. Christine started #BraveMe to give people a platform to share their own inspiring stories and in turn, give courage to others who suffer in silence.
Christine is now married to her “rock”, her second husband, an English gentleman with whom she raised a family with – twin daughters and four stepchildren.
Her traumatic past has left her with several incurable conditions (short-term memory loss among others) but she doesn’t dwell on them and enjoys life to the full.
After endless torment, Christine made it her mission to be so busy loving her life that she had no time for hate, regrets, negativity, worry or fear. She has achieved her mission.
She donates monthly to the NSPCC “National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children” because she has experienced how hard it is to grow up as a child without love or affection and how tough it is to continually and consistently being abused and bullied.
Christine explains why she wrote her novel, No Fourth River
I don’t usually share my story with others. However, sometimes when I unintentionally mention things from my past, people are intrigued. They want to know more about my life. I’ve often been told that I should write a book because my struggles would resonate with others and my life story could be an inspiration. I’ve listened; I’ve written my book. I hope you enjoy it!
I truly believe that despite the pain of your past, you have the ability to change your future. You can make it happen if you just believe. It all starts with YOU.
Sometimes the people that we love can become cages, trapping us in a life that we don’t recognize or accept. Throughout my life, I have developed strength of character—a real determination that has seen me through some dark and abysmal times. This is the purpose of telling my story—I want to help you to discover your strength. I lived on the other side for a very long time. The other side of happiness.
They say that your youngest years are also your longest; you are too new to realize the relentless pace of the world. I was trapped there in my childhood and my youth, absorbing the pain of my circumstances in slow motion.
For too many years, I lived in utter misery because of my cruel dad, that evil boarding school and my slavemaster husband.
It was as if I had my face pressed against the window of a bakery but I was never allowed inside. Sure, I knew what the delights inside looked like but the taste, the smell, and the rapture of them were lost on me. Happiness was something that belonged to other people. They wore it so lightly, so naturally, that it became a source of confusion for me growing up.
I learned the wrong kinds of lessons. You know, the ones that keep you trapped inside misery forever. I just didn’t know any better. My normal was on the other side of living—it was coping. It took faith beyond reason to jar me out of that life but I found a way to cross over to the other side.
After endless torment, I made a promise to myself: No more. It was time to build the life I desired. I made a plan to change my world.
To say that writing this book has been an emotional experience would be an understatement. I had deliberately buried any memory of my youth because it became too painful to recollect. To write this book, I had to uncover my pain and dig up those memories that were long since put to rest.
In fact, I grew so disconnected from my feelings about my past, it was as if every bad memory I had was automatically locked away in order to protect myself from random recollections. Despite my efforts over the years to keep things buried, writing this book has uncovered these recollections and raw emotions, which now feel like fresh memories burnt into place.
Painful experiences can completely disconnect you from your feelings and the person you truly are, and worst of all, neglect your most crucial needs. I was there. I was at rock bottom and deeply ashamed of the choices I had made. I had to try to find a way to reconnect with myself.
I want to share my story to help others who feel as I did—ashamed, alone, sad and hopeless. Join me on this journey through my life’s struggles. As you join me in this personal memoir, a retelling of my crossing, I want you to hold a thought in mind. If life has kept you shut out of its joys and pleasures, I want to charge you with a single idea: if I could find my way through the bakery door, then you most certainly can too.
As you read my story, I hope you find your own inner strength to escape the prisons erected around you in your life.
I hope you will enjoy reading it.
All the best,
Christine’s message to the world
1) Your bad past has a secret superpower – the determination to have a better future.
2) Your past does not have to define your future – your future doesn’t need your past, leave your past in the past
3) The only limits you have are the ones that you accept – Have the courage to change things. Believe in yourself and anything is possible. I am living proof of what somebody can achieve when pushed beyond the extreme of extremes. Example: riding a bike and learning to drive a car seems impossible at first.
4) Your mental scars can fade away and be only a reminder of your struggles – the hurt is not irreparable.
5) Don’t blame your past for who you are today – Use your bad past to become a stronger version of yourself, despite the pain of your past, you can control your future.
6) Don’t be a victim but a survivor – YOU need to make things happen.
7) Realise the power of a positive mind – believe in your goals and dreams.
8) Want to see how your future looks: create it yourself! – Make your list. The power is yours. Take it and own it.
Christine’s favourite business quotes
“Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve” -Napoleon Hill”
“Never, never, never give up” -Winston Churchill
“No Bees No Honey – No Work No Money”
“Focus on Your Focus” -Christine Clayfield
“Excuses are your limitations” -Christine Clayfield
“Put yourself in your customer’s shoes”
“Being off target is never the target’s fault”
Christine Clayfield is the author of
– From Newbie To Millionaire
– Drop Shipping and eCommerce. What You Need And Where To Get it
– Finding Niches Made Easy
– Design Free Websites
– Work From Home Ideas
– No Fourth River
You can find her author page on Amazon.
Below are a few extracts from different chapters in the book
Growing Up, Down
We were all survivors, programmed from the very start of life to tiptoe around the pillar of fury that was my father. My mother used to tell me that before he became successful in the diamond industry, he didn’t touch alcohol. Alcohol did not excuse who my father was to me and to his family.
He was the kind of man who would strip his children of all self-esteem, then blame us when we could not perform. He delighted in mental harassment and physical beatings.
He was a chain-smoking, whisky-swilling king of the diamond trade. A tyrant to his children.
My brothers and I learned all about the dark, solitary places of our house. At five, I remember hearing noises from behind the cellar door one morning, so I investigated, only to find my brother Oliver huddled in the corner on the cold stone floor, throwing rocks at the wall. My father had sent him there the night before, without supper.
“Oliver, you okay?” I screeched, taking note of his wide, round eyes. They were full of fear and something else…shame.
It was dirty in the cellar and the stone was so cold that the air coming up from the bottom felt like a wave of freezing mist.
He was trapped down there, alone in a frozen ocean of stone, framed by the light coming from my open door.
“Shh, dad might hear,” he called up to me.
“He’s not home.” I sniffled at the weakness and helplessness of my words. I wanted to help him but I couldn’t. It was against the rules.
“What happened?” At least I could give him some company.
“I’m not allowed to grow my hair. Dad told me to cut it, and I told him I wanted to keep it long.” A slight hint of anger lined his voice.
I would not understand that feeling until I was much older.
“Oh. You look cold.”
“I am cold.”
“Should I bring you a blanket?” I noticed there wasn’t so much as a towel on the floor where he sat.
“Better not. I’ll be fine. You go upstairs and play.” He turned his face into the darkness of the cellar. I obeyed and gently shut the door on my brother and walked to the lounge, where my other brothers were. Oliver was not allowed out of the cellar for four days over a long weekend.
Mum brought him a plate of food, once a day. There was no washroom, and he would do his nature calls in a plastic pot with a lid on that mum had to clean every day.
Oliver seemed resolutely quiet, as if his isolation was something to be taken seriously or a vital lesson might be missed. I was very sad about Oliver being in the cellar and didn’t quite know what to do with my feelings.
The emotional impact of being separated from my family at the age of five was shocking and I didn’t quite know what to do with my feelings.
Being “dumped” in a boarding school ended up defining me, and my ability to cope with it.
A nun took me to a huge room with 50 other beds in it lined up against the walls with a wardrobe next to each bed and a trunk at the end of each bed. My cold, metal bed was the second to last one in the line, number 49. I was introduced to the nun in charge of my dormitory, Sister Henrietta. Her round glasses perched on the tip of her nose, too close to her perpetually scowling mouth.
Sister Henrietta loved her rules. The moment I met her she began firing them off at me, one after the other, warning me at the same time that I had better remember each one for my own good or there will be punishments.
“This is your bed. Bed 49. You will make your bed at 5:25 sharp every morning before church. If your bed is not made correctly, you will be punished.”
For the first few years in boarding school, I cried every day, begging the nuns to send me home. “I want my mummy! I want my daddy!” I cried, heaped against the wall at break time while the other kids played and enjoyed the sun.
“Your mum and dad don’t want you at home, child. That’s why you are here. Cry all you want; no one is coming to get you.” the nuns would tell me. It didn’t stop the tears for a very long time.
Crying became the only way I could function through my early studies. There was so much trapped pain and misery that it had to go somewhere. I kept asking to be sent home during classes but I always got the same reply.
The Red Door
I channeled a lot of my anger and my rebellion into those nights at the bar; I did a lot of things I later regretted. At the time however, it made me happy to get out there and flirt with a bar full of people. I was even happy to have sex with the men around me as long as it made me popular.
I was so desperate for human approval and affection, that I had no idea that what I was doing was wrong, nor did I have any interest in right and wrong. I didn’t understand the kind of reputation I was building for myself or the kind of life I was setting myself up for. I was just having fun—for the first time in my life.
Dirty, alcohol-fueled, self-hating fun.
Men from the bar started to take me to their homes but it was never a satisfying experience for me.
The entire time this was going on, never once did I orgasm. I had no concept that I even could, and I wasn’t having sex for my physical pleasure. It was my aim to please the men, nothing else!
I wanted to do things to them that they liked, so they would like me for it. I wanted them to like me. Most of the time the sex was so quick that it was over before I was ever aroused and the alcohol dulled my senses anyway.
I was a messed-up kid looking for approval and love in broken places and anyone who interfered was my enemy.
The Tiny Dirty Room
I walked for what seemed like hours, wandering from house to house trying to find a pub friend who could help me. I begged them to help me. All of them. They all said no; one after another they closed the door in my face, like I was a door-to-door salesman. That was when I realized I was well and truly alone.
Friendless and penniless, my feet took me to a familiar place: the bar I had been frequenting over the last few years. Surely, someone would help me get on my feet. I pushed open the red padded door and stepped into my favorite party joint in the village. With nothing but a little bag of personal items with me, I felt foolish for not taking anything of real value.
“Hi, Mike, is Janine in?”
Saddling up to the bar, I waited for the barman to call Janine, the fiery-haired manager of the place. I had spent many evenings drinking with her and felt like she might give me a job if I asked, as she knew I would draw in the boys to her pub.
Janine sidled over from a back room, wearing blue cleaning gloves. I explained my situation to her.
“I need a place to stay for a while, until I can figure things out. Please let me stay here. I’ll work to cover the rent,” I said, wearing my sincerest face.
She considered me and then said, “Follow me. If you can live in here, you can stay. I could use a good cleaning woman.”
Janine led me upstairs to a small, dark room cluttered with mops, buckets, empty bottles and other junk.
“Start by cleaning this room. This is where you sleep.” I thanked her and did as I was told. The room was positively filthy and much smaller than I had hoped once all the stuff had been moved out of it. The windowless room was cold and dark. It stank of old cigarettes and spilled booze, and some of the stickiness would not come off the walls.
One single, bare, flickering bulb hung from the ceiling. So this was the place that would be better than home, this tiny, dirty, filthy room. I settled in as best I could. A man I met at the bar gave me a second-hand mattress, and I used the bar toilets.
An old tin bucket became my bath, and I had to hand wash myself with water fetched from the sinks in the toilet rooms each morning. It was no hotel, but I was free.
After just 2 days working as a cleaner, Janine told me to serve drinks. She told me that her customers liked me, males and females; she thought I would attract extra customers to her pub.
A week into my new life at the pub and I was drinking like there was no tomorrow. I found the only way I could sleep in that place was to be drunk.
Even though I lived in impossibly dirty surroundings, in constant contact with men that wanted to take advantage of me, I was free—free from fear, free from violence, and free from being told how useless I was.
No Longer a Daughter
Marriage did change Harry but not in a good way. He immediately became nastier and more violent than ever before.
Low on money, we had booked a two-week stay in a two-star hotel in Spain for our honeymoon, which was all we could afford. We drove to Spain by car, as we couldn’t afford to fly.
I sensed something was off when we arrived at the hotel that first day.
Everything would have been wonderful but Harry’s mood was off. He started drinking heavily and did not stop.
I was lying by the pool in my bikini, Harry was helping himself to cocktails directly next to the hotel bar, where he decided we should sit. It was a muggy, sticky day—the kind you had to enjoy with liberal dips in the swimming pool to stay cool.
I laid on a deck chair with my sunglasses on and my straw hat shading my face as the sun baked my skin. Harry settled on a chair next to me, turned, and with the straw still in his mouth blurted out, “Now that your dad’s dead, you can ask your mum for money so that I can start a garage.” I looked at him through my sunglasses, faintly outraged that he was so crass about what he wanted. Harry had always wanted to own a garage where he could repair people’s cars.
“I can’t do that,” I replied offhand, “and I wouldn’t want to do that. We should both work and save up our own money if you want to start a garage.” I watched as Harry’s jaw clenched around the straw and he drained his fresh cocktail.
“Okay, I’ve had enough of the sun—let’s go and get a drink and relax in our hotel bedroom.”
I had been laying in the sun for long enough, so I was also ready to go inside. I thought that what Harry had said to me was just him taking a chance and didn’t consider it again.
We lazily ordered another round of drinks and made our way down the white passages into our bedroom—a small room with a bed, a table, a bathroom and a television. The moment Harry shut the door behind me, I was overcome with a sense of dread.
“Now that your dad is dead, you can ask your mum for money so that I can start a garage.” He opened up again, in a sturdy and angry voice. He stood tall, both arms over his chest.
“Harry, I just told you I don’t want to do that,” I reiterated, growing more fearful. Harry moved to the door, locked it and pocketed the key.
“I am telling you, you useless bitch, that you will ask your mum.” He looked at me, his cruel eyes filled with hate. Then he pointed his finger at me and marched towards me.
I was cornered. I shook my head and stepped back, but he seemed to grow in size and fury at the sight.
He grabbed my arm and pulled me down onto the bed, raising his hand. “I’ll beat you if you don’t ask her, Christine.”
He had never struck me before, so I pushed my luck. The threatening hand came down onto my head and face with the force of a mallet. The next ones were not slaps but hard follow-up punches in my stomach. He grabbed me by my shoulders. I struggled against him but I couldn’t break free; he was too strong. The pain shot through me, and I was winded. I rolled off the bed and hit the floor, wide eyed and terrified.
“You will ask.” He raised his fist and towered over me. “No, no, no,” I gasped, writhing breathlessly on the floor in pain. He hit me and kicked me—connecting with my stomach, my arms, my chest, my legs and my back. My mouth was wet with the taste of blood, my head was pounding. I was dizzy. He meant to hurt me badly. I curled up into a ball and held my hands over my head as blow after blow stole my breath.
Then he stopped and stormed out of the room. I tried to be brave but was soon overcome by a wave of my emotions and I broke down. Hugging my knees in my chest, I rocked back and forth, shivering in disbelief. It was my first real beating from my husband Harry.
I agreed to marry him because he didn’t hit me and I hoped he would change. My belief in him not hitting me was now shattered. I realized what an enormous mistake I had made by marrying him.
I sat there, humiliated and wretched on the floor for what seemed like hours. I was in pain and felt lower than the lowest insect and had no idea what to do. So, I did what I had done for most of my life and cried myself to sleep. He did not come back that evening.
I woke in agony with dark bruises covering my arms, my legs and much of my body. Later that morning, Harry gingerly walked through the door, puffy eyed and somber. He collapsed on the floor at my feet, begging for my forgiveness.
He begged me not to tell anyone, because he loved me and would never do it again. He’d been drunk.
The blurb on the back of the book:
Electroshock therapy, child abuse and modern-day slavery… just another day in Christine’s life.
Take a heart-wrenching yet inspiring ride through one woman’s incredible journey that is so compelling that you are simultaneously trying to look away and unable to stop yourself from reading on.
Christine’s father is a wealthy, tyrannical man renowned in the diamond business. At the age of just five, little Christine is cast aside into a boarding school where she is ridiculed for two embarrassing problems. She grows up in a never-ending circle of traumatic experiences both in her boarding school and at home. It culminates into a falling out between father and child that was never fully mended, leading her into a world of promiscuity and alcohol, eventually landing her in a violent marriage.
Driven to the limits of despair and heartache, she creates a plan to escape her world of misery. Will her plan work?
A story that asks: How do you find the strength, when you suffer almost unbearable abuse and are broken beyond repair, to pick up the pieces of a shattered life?
No Fourth River is available in these book formats: Paperback, Kindle and Audiobook.
TITLE: No Fourth River
AUTHOR: Christine Clayfield
PUBLISHER: RASC Publishing
DATE OF PUBLICATION: November 20, 2017
SIZE: 5 X 8″
RETAIL PRICE: Paperback £10/ $14.97 (price can vary)
RETAIL PRICE: £5.97 / $8.43 (price can vary)
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BOOK COVER, BOOK PHOTOS & BANNERS
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ACHIEVEMENTS & ENTREPRENEURSHIP
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When Christine woke up from her coma, she decided to transform her life.
“I had to find a way to overcome my fears and move forward with my life. I had to cross over to the other side. I was going to meet my fears with the same resistance that a rock shows the wind. I promised myself nothing was ever going to be the same again. This was my rock bottom. I felt broken beyond repair because of all the abuse I had endured but I told myself I was going to pick up the pieces of my shattered life. It was the end of my life as I knew it.”
“After my victories in sport, I knew that I was unstoppable. Anything I decided to do could be done, and I was going to make sure that the world knew that. The feeling of achievement rested in my bones and I was obsessed with finding more of it.”
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Trailer 1 (35sec)
Trailer 2 (35sec)
Trailer 3 (47sec)
Christine’s Story (35sec)
Christine’s Story (1m42)
Extracts from No Fourth River:
“Fear was the first emotion any of us ever learned.”
“Every night was a game, a lucky dip of punishments and hell my father might inflict on one of us next.”
From her early years, Christine was a victim of (non-sexual) child abuse. The horrors she went through continue to shock readers of No Fourth River. Christine’s story raises awareness and gives hope to others who are or have been in a similar situation. Christine suffered abuse at the hands of the adults responsible for her well-being: her father and the authoritarian nuns at the boarding school.
“It is not enough that she shared her story; she endeavours to empower the reader. It is quite a refreshing approach that is entirely selfless.” Review from CarolineS on Goodreads.com
Some of the abuse Christine was subject to:
At the hands of her father:
- Physical beating and being forced to hold stress positions for a long period of time.
- He punished his children with days of isolation by forcing them to live in the cellar.
- He made his children trim the grass or hedges with a blunt knife or another inadequate tool.
- Electroshock therapy in an attempt to cure her bedwetting problem.
- Forcing her to eat 25 extra salty TUC biscuits every evening at 6 pm and she wasn’t allowed any drink until the next day.
- He constantly told Christine she was useless, worthless and would never make anything of her life.
- The household lived in constant fear. Extract from No Fourth River: “We were all extremely scared of our father, especially when he was drunk.”
In boarding school at the hands of the authoritarian nuns:
- They slapped her several times.
- The nuns told her numerous times she was unwanted, unloved, worthless and shameful.
- The nuns made her walk through all the dormitories carrying her wet bed sheets whilst a nun repeated on the loudspeaker: “Attention. The girl in bed 49, has wet her bed. Make way for the bed-wetter.” A scene quite like Cersei’s walk of shame in the TV show Games of Thrones. The nuns encouraged the other children to laugh and spit at Christine and calling her dirty names.
- The many years Christine suffered in boarding schools left her deeply wounded and scarred although in later life she found ways to deal with this.
- Christine lived, for many years, in a constant atmosphere of fear, hate, humiliation and worthlessness. She suffered alone, in silence.
Domestic abuse affects children too
In a household where domestic abuse takes place, the abused partner is not the only victim; the children are the silent victims.
According to statistics in the U.K, 1 in 5 children is exposed to domestic abuse. These children are left with mental scars that can last a lifetime and affect every aspect of their lives. Christine was no different until she took charge of her life and created a better version of herself.
Her first female role model was her mother, a woman who had the nervous disposition of someone always under scrutiny, always held up to measure against standards that were always out of her reach. Her father was as physically and mentally abusive to his wife as he was to his children.
Extract from No Fourth River: “He intimidated and humiliated her in much the same way as he treated us,”
In this environment, Christine learned that a woman’s opinion and value was worth very little in their household. The man of the house ruled the roost and was always right. This had a negative and lasting effect on Christine’s life and impacted her first marriage, during which she endured physical and mental abuse herself, before being beaten into a coma.
It is shocking that at an early age, Christine describes the relationship with her father as “My father was the hunter and we were his defenceless prey.” Extract from No Fourth River.
Christine’s first marriage
Christine’s first marriage was a violent one that saw her beaten into a coma after 11 months of marriage and left her fighting for her life. Looking back, Christine’s violent marriage was a natural progression from her abusive childhood and wild adolescence.
Starved of love and affection, Christine fell into the arms of the first one who showed her some love and offered some longevity and commitment to their relationship. Because she was used to her relationship with others being abusive and selfish, the violence of her marriage was normal to her. Christine suffered through various humiliation, both in private and in public by her husband.
Harry, Christine’s first husband was the typical abuser, he was a master at belittling and undermining his wife’s confidence. Although he wanted money, he was against the concept of working for his money. He wanted easy money, money he did not have to work for, money given to him in a lump sum, from his wife’s diamond magnate father.
He resented his wife’s ambition and willingness to better herself, to learn and to gain the skills needed to earn her living and to better their lives.
Extracts from No Fourth River:
“My earliest idea of love and marriage came from my parents, and that meant I thought of the whole thing as something of a misery—an enslavement of sorts.”
“We started arguing and fighting all the time but each time it would get bad, he would apologize. Harry was a master at apologies and I always believed him. I wanted things to get better.”
“Despite his apologies, his drinking and penchant for humiliating me became worse and worse the longer we lived together. He hated that I earned more money than he did. He simply could not cope with that at all.”
“He came from a lower social background and his parents were on benefits. He couldn’t stand that I found a job, that I was more successful than him.”
“…as someone who grew up being abused, I just wasn’t shocked by his behaviour.”
“He said he loved me. I made excuses for him and believed I could change him.”
“When he wanted sex, I agreed- whether or not I wanted it. Not that he really asked. It would be more accurate to say I complied without fighting back.”
“You never think of the person you grew to love for what they do but for what you think they are—and perhaps that was my biggest downfall.”
“My main problem was not that Harry was abusive and violent; it was that I was too afraid and full of self-doubt to leave him. Loneliness is the cruellest of all emotions and I avoided it to the brink of my own death.”
“I was the first woman in Belgium ever to have to pay alimony, so my lawyer told me.”
Inspirational and relatable aspect of No Fourth River
One of the prevalent themes in No Fourth River is ‘inspirational’. Christine’s main reason behind sharing her story is to inspire others who have had a bad past in order to give them the courage to turn their own lives around as she did.
No Fourth River is unlike any other book describing an abusive past. It certainly covers a horrible childhood and early adulthood. What really sets this book aside is how the author not only shares her woeful story but how she wants to inspire and empower.
Christine also shares 12 ‘Valuable Messages’ at the end of her book. In these messages, she imparts the wisdom and the lessons she learned through her life.
No Fourth River is gripping, harrowing, uplifting and inspiring. It is a shocking true story of survival, courage, redemption and triumph that will pull at the readers’ heartstrings and engage their emotions. A story that strikes at a visceral level and one that latches onto the brain like a tick.
It is an inspirational tale that shows that you can move beyond your perceived limitations and fears. A story that resonates with readers who are struggling to find the strength not only to survive a shattered life but to thrive in style.
In No Fourth River, Christine lays bare the events and consequences of her past, but the novel also highlights one of her goals: Helping others realise that they have the power to change their lives, despite how bad their life can be. There came a turning point in Christine’s life when she said enough was enough, she deserved better. She worked her way out of poverty and a violent marriage in order to build the life she really wanted. Having lived through shocking abuse and hardship from a very young age, she knows that changing your life is not easy, but it can be done.
‘Tough times don’t have to define you, they can refine you.’ – Quote from No Fourth River
In the era of awakening to how the world has been treating women, in the times of the #metoo campaign that made us aware of things we didn’t see thus far, Christine’s novel is completely aligned with this recent trend in our society.
She encourages others to share their stories of how they have overcome hardship in their lives and shine a light on domestic violence and surviving a bad past with the hashtag #BraveMe. This campaign is to give people a platform to share their own inspiring stories and in turn, give courage to others who suffer in silence. The movement focuses on our resilience and ability to push through bad experiences in order to live the life we want to live.
Read the #BraveMe stories here: http://nofourthriver.com/bravemestories
What readers think
However, when it comes to inspiration and inspirational stories, what matters the most are the opinions of the readers. Here’s what they are saying:
Review extracts from readers:
“I have learned so much for myself from “No Fourth River”! It makes me ask myself – if Christine has overcome so much adversity and has made her life a success in every sense, whatever on Earth can stop me?” Review on Amazon.co.uk by Pure Nature Cures
“What a truly inspiring and empowering read! I read this book in two days I couldn’t put it down. Christine’s story resonated with me on many levels, especially in the way she was able to move beyond her past and become a successful woman despite everything.” Review on Amazon.co.uk by Dina Blanco
Please visit http://nofourthriver.com/reviews for a selection of reviews.
ADOLESCENCE & BAD CHOICES
Being a teenager is not easy for most, Christine’s abusive childhood led her to a tumultuous adolescence.
Christine sought acceptance and approval in all the wrong places, she was heavily influenced by peer pressure and did what was needed in order to be accepted. This led to some bad decisions, including promiscuity and heavy alcohol consumption.
The friends Christine found during her adolescence, did not only have a bad influence on her, but none of them was there for her when she needed them the most.
Extracts from No Fourth River:
“I learned the wrong kind of lessons. You know, the ones that keep you trapped inside misery forever. I just didn’t know better.”
“I wanted to do things to them that they liked, so they would like me for it.”
“I modelled my new self so closely on my new friends that I never even considered what I actually liked myself.”
“Now I had the magic potion to take the sting from their words and I could get it at any pub”
“I was desperate and desperately lonely. I had no money, no job, no food, no real friends, no love and no home to live in.”
PARENTING COMING FROM AN ABUSIVE BACKGROUND
Christine’s family was a typical 1960 family, with mum taking care of the house and kids while dad was the sole breadwinner. But this family was not the typical loving family where the children are loved and supported and mum and dad love and support each other.
Extract from No Fourth River: “Fear was the first emotion any of us ever learned.’ while most young children are given lots of love and made to feel safe.”
Christine’s father was a domineering, strict and selfish character who ruled the roost with a firm hand.
Extract from No Fourth River: “Everything had its place- and the children were no exception.”
Although he came from a modest background as a mechanic, Christine’s father made his fortune in the diamond industry. He was a rich man but never gave his five children much. When he died, one of his children took over the business and kept most of the money for himself without sharing it with his family.
He constantly reminded his wife and children of his position, he was the one in charge and he particularly delighted in reminding everyone that he was superior, he was successful and he knew best.
He told his children over and over again that if they didn’t follow his rules, they wouldn’t do well.
He took reprimanding and disciplining his children too far. He was physically as well as verbally abusive.
He punished his children with long hours, often days of isolation, withholding meals, painful stress positions and physical blows. One of his favourite punishments was to make the children trim the grass or hedges with a blunt knife.
The family took care to stay out of dad’s way. Extract from No Fourth River: “My father was the hunter and we were his defenceless prey.”
Christine fell out with her father when she left home, and the two never reconciled.
Christine’s mother was the only female role model Christine had for a long time. She was fearful of her husband and she was not exempt from his cruel words, physical blows or punishments.
She had four children in four years and had trouble coping and keeping her children safe. Christine ended up with a disfiguring injury that marked her for life.
Extract from No Fourth River: “She would regularly let things happen to us, preferring a distant style of parenting that led to a lot of wounds, scars, and burns.”
Christine’s relationship with her mother improved as the two got closer after the death of Christine’s father and after Christine ended her first marriage. Christine looked after her mother, during the last stages of her dementia, until she passed away (see photos in the photo section).
Breaking the cycle of abuse
Christine parenting style differed wildly from that of her parents. From her own hands-on experiences, she knew how disastrous the effect that lack of support, love and understanding can have on one’s life.
She endeavoured to provide love and security to her twin daughters, making up for what she lacked during her own upbringing.
Due to her own past, Christine was anxious when her daughters hit their teenage years. She was a strict but loving parent. However, she had to find the right balance of giving her daughters advice and letting them find their own path.
Extracts from No Fourth River:
“I found myself getting too strict with them. The more they pushed for new freedoms, the tighter I clung to them in fear of what mistakes they might make. I worried, though, that I was starting to make the same mistakes as my dad. He’d been right about the people I was mixing with, but he had failed to explain it to me, and I just thought he was cruel.”
“We were all survivors, programmed from the very start of life to tiptoe around the pillar of fury that was my father.”
“Mum could never do anything right in my father’s eyes. She was, just like the rest of us, constantly told that she was useless.”
“Mum never got involved in any decision about our education. She could never say anything that was acceptable to him. Her opinions were always considered useless.”
ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND BEING A FEMALE ENTREPRENEUR
Christine had no money when she started her first business. She started her business empire with a small bank loan.
Extracts from No Fourth River:
“I had no money, no job, no food, no real friends, no love and no home to live in.”
“The room was positively filthy and much smaller than I had hoped once all the stuff had been moved out of it. The windowless room was cold and dark. It stank of old cigarettes and spilled booze, and some of the stickiness would not come off the walls. One single, bare, flickering bulb hung from the ceiling. So this was the place that would be better than home, this tiny, dirty, filthy room. I settled in as best I could.”
Tenacity and hard work
She did not let anything get in her way and started by cold-calling 100’s of potential customers when she set up an Apple dealership, her first business venture. She worked her socks off and her Apple dealership had a multi-million turnover in the first two years. She became a phenomenon in the computer industry – a woman who had outdone all her male competitors.
She set about finding ways to earn her own money where she would be in total control and did not need to answer to anyone. She never wanted to beg for money again like she did when she was married to her first husband who demanded all her money to waste it in pubs and on gambling.
Christine is a now a successful serial entrepreneur and has set up 15 different businesses since the start of her entrepreneur’s journey. Her first foray into entrepreneurship, started soon after she decided to take control of her own life after she came out of her coma.
She is a best-selling author, Internet Marketer, Entrepreneur, Infopreneur and Public Speaker.
She has spent years helping others take control of their own finances and led them down the entrepreneurship path.
Extracts from No Fourth River, after Christine decided to turn her life around:
“The nuns. The girls at boarding school. My father. Harry. Even the teachers at my second boarding school told me I would never make anything of my life.”
“I met the stranger who was inside me all my life but never had the chance to appear. The stranger I knew well became the new me. I found myself.”
“Never again would I take orders from anyone. I made a promise to myself that nobody would ever control me again and tell me what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. I would be completely independent and free.”
The hurdles of being a female entrepreneur
Not only did Christine start from scratch but she was at a disadvantage.
In the early 80s, business was very much a man’s world and many of them were not happy about a woman making her own way in their industry nor did they believe a woman could be successful.
Christine recounts: “One man, in particular, tried to take advantage of the fact that I was a woman. He asked for a meeting with me one night when I was alone in my office. I expected a business proposition, but instead, he tried to rape me. Thankfully, I escaped just in time. In business, you meet a lot of people who want success but are not quite prepared to do the work. These same individuals resent it when someone comes along and work for their success. This resentment is a lot worse when you are a woman.
Extract from No Fourth River: “The other passengers on the cruise were all Apple prize winners from all over the world. Richard and I got the feeling that they were not very friendly to us. He felt one of the main reasons for this was because I was the only woman who achieved the target in a male dominated industry.
While they didn’t actually “do” anything to make me feel uncomfortable, I felt an undercurrent through their conversations that they were just not happy to have me there. After all, I was a threat to them – taking the top seller’s trophy.”
Wetting the bed overnight when you are still young is quite common, but for Christine Clayfield it was something that made her life a nightmare from an early age and plagued her well into her adult life. The causes of her bedwetting were the atmosphere of constant fear, insecurity, low self-esteem, lack of support and loneliness.
Extract from No Fourth River: “In retrospect, it was a reaction to the constant fear but at the time, it felt like daily humiliation and evidence that my father was right about my general worthlessness.”
Extract from No Fourth River: “I was terrified of my father but more terrified of being sent away to some strange place, mainly because of my bedwetting and my ugly scar.”
Bedwetting at boarding school
Because of her bedwetting problem and her scar Christine was continuously laughed at in boarding school. She was different and she was scared which made her a prime target for bullies. The authoritarian nuns who ran the school did not like that she made extra work for them, they made sure that she was punished and humiliated every time she wet her bed, which was on a daily basis.
The punishments she endured at boarding school include:
– A daily walk of shame carrying her wet bedsheets through all the dormitories in front of the other girls while a nun would repeat on the loudspeaker: “Attention. The girl in bed 49 has wet her bed. Make way for the bed-wetter.”
– Being stripped naked and having four buckets of ice-cold water poured over her head.
– Being forced to stand with her wet bed sheets in the middle of the playground whilst children laughed at her.
Extracts from No Fourth River:
The walk of shame punishment
Christine talks about her boarding school days: “One defining moment of my life was the walk of shame I had to do every morning, carrying my wet bed sheet through all the dormitories, while one of the nuns would repeat on the loudspeaker: “Attention. The girl in bed 49, has wet her bed. Make way for the bed-wetter.” A scene quite like Cersei’s walk of shame on the TV show Games of Thrones.
“In later life, I realised that it was a very influential and defining moment for me because I told myself I would never be laughed at, spit at and bullied again like I did during that walk.”
Ice water punishment
“On one occasion, the nuns dragged me into a bathtub, forced me to undress completely, while they proceeded to pour four buckets of ice-cold water over my head. They made me sit in the tub for twenty minutes, totally naked and shivering of cold. During those twenty minutes, I had to repeat: “I am sorry; I won’t wet my bed again. I am sorry, I won’t wet my bed again, I am sorry, I won’t wet my bed again.”
Holding wet bed sheet over her head punishment.
“You dirty child, I’ve had enough of you. You have to stop wetting the bed!” I started to cry, as I realized it wasn’t the end of my punishments for bedwetting at all.“
“You will stand here for 30 minutes, with the soaking linen on your head so that everybody can see you,” she commanded.
Immediately all the children gathered around me and began laughing and spitting at me, calling me dirty names. The nuns encouraged the children to do so.”
Bedwetting at home
The punishments Christine suffered at school were not the only ones she suffered because of bedwetting. At home, her father was quite cruel too.
Christine’s father’s attempt at stopping her wetting the bed included:
– No drinking after 6pm.
– Being woken up every 2hrs to use the toilet.
– Being forced to eat 25 extra salty TUC biscuits at 6pm and not be allowed to drink until the next morning.
– Being woken up every 2 hours during the night for a period of five months.
– Trying four different medications, all of them had horrible side effects.
– A chart-based reward system for every dry night but nothing ever appeared on the chart.
– Visiting several psychiatrists without any success.
– Using several different machines that sound an alarm each time she wet the bed.
– Several doctors have done various tests, x-rays, scans and ultrasounds to rule out any physical causes and they have concluded it is all in Christine’s mind.
– Electroshock therapy at the age of 14yrs old. Christine will never forget this for the rest of her life and this therapy had a major influence on her rebellious teenage years.
When the bedwetting stopped
None of the above stopped Christine’s bedwetting. Her bedwetting caused her further humiliation and shame as she grew up and started relationships with men.
Extract from No Fourth River: “I told Harry about my bedwetting before we moved in together. He seemed fine with it and didn’t act like it was a problem. Then came the first day that he actually woke up in wet sheets at 6 a.m.
He snorted. “Looks like living together is going to be a lot of fun! What the hell! Is this how it’s going to be every day? It had better not be! It stinks and it’s disgusting! Take these sheets off the bed immediately, put clean sheets on and you go downstairs so I can sleep a few more hours in a dry bed.”
Christine stopped wetting the bed in later life . She calls it an “unexpected miracle”.
THE POWER OF A POSITIVE MIND
Christine owes a lot of her achievements to having a positive mindset. It started when she woke up from her coma and realised that if she wanted her world to change she had to do it herself. Despite her past full of misery, instead of letting her past dictate her future, Christine decided she had to move forward.
Extract from No Fourth River: “I made the ultimate decision. I realized that nobody was going to come to my rescue, I needed to rescue myself from the bad place I was in. I am my rescue and it will never end unless I end it.”
When she started building the life she wanted, she put together a list of everything she wanted in order to keep her focused on the positive and not the negatives like her abusive past.
Extract from No Fourth River: “I remember a quote I read in a book by Napoleon Hill: “Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” After reading that quote, I made my list of things I wanted to achieve in my life.”
Having reaped the benefits of having a positive mind, Christine imparts the lessons she learned as ‘Valuable Messages’ at the end of her novel No Fourth River.
Extract from No Fourth River:
“Accept your past without regrets. Tough times don’t have to define you, they can refine you.”
“The only limits you have are the ones that you accept. If you believe in yourself, anything is possible.”
“Don’t ever say something is impossible if you haven’t tried it. The word ‘impossible’ has the word ‘possible’ in it!”
THE POWER OF TRUE LOVE
When Christine talks about her love life, two things come across very clearly:
1. She had kissed a lot of frogs.
2. She has found her soulmate and has spent the last 27yrs raising a family with him.
Her journey was not an easy one but when she found the right person, he made her life complete. He stood by her and supported her. They both made sacrifices for each other to make their relationship work.
Hurdles standing in the way of Christine finding love
Love, however, was never easy for Christine. She comes from a family with no love or affection and had no idea what love really looks or feel like.
Extract from No Fourth River: “My earliest idea of love and marriage came from my parents, and that meant I thought of the whole thing as something of a misery—an enslavement of sorts.”
Christine’s scar made it hard for her to make friends and she was shy when it came to boys. Her first foray in love when she was just a teenager meant she was an easy prey to anyone who showed her some attention.
Extract from No Fourth River: “Receiving such lavish attention when I had been starved of it all my life was exhilarating.”
She met Harry her first husband while she was working in a bar. She had left home and had no contact with her family. Harry had showered Christine with attention and praise but he had an ulterior motive that became apparent only after they got married. When he didn’t get what he wanted he carried on beating Christine until 11 months into their marriage, he beat her into a coma.
After she left her first husband, Christine did not trust men at all. When she started dating again she had a rule in place of “no sex for the first six months, so that ulterior motives were removed from the equation.”
Extract from No Fourth River: “I had zero tolerance for any man who might use me for either sex or money.”
Richard, Christine’s now husband of 27yrs
After several failed relationships Christine did not want to take any chances. When she met her now husband Richard, he was still married to his first wife. They did not start dating until he ended his relationship with his first wife. Extract from No Fourth River: “Sometimes when you lock eyes with people, you know at that very moment they will affect your life. That’s how it was with Richard, the very first time I looked into his eyes.”
Christine was still weary to commit so she did something unheard of, something that got the approval of numerous readers of No Fourth River: she compiled a question list and a compatibility list. Extract from No Fourth River: “For months, I had been developing a compatibility list of what I wanted in a partner. I had to break out my list and make sure that Richard was the one. On that bench, I spent the morning questioning and re-questioning Richard as my perfect partner, and he indulged me.”
Extract from an Amazon review: “I wish you would publish your list of questions for your future mate as it would be a helpful guideline for other engaged folks. To have honest answers to such basic questions would surely be an eye-opener.”
Possible Interview Questions
NO FOURTH RIVER - QUESTIONS
What prompted you to write this book? Closure? To help others?
Have your bad experiences shaped who you are today?
You’ve endured over 20 years of misery and pain. What were the most important factors/incidents that influenced your life?
How was the writing process for you? Was it easy to write about your past?
How have your bad experiences left their mark in your everyday life?
In your novel ‘No Fourth River’ you don’t hold back, you share your experiences, the choices you made, the good and bad ones. Are you worried about what people will think?
What was the reaction you received when people you know read your novel?
What message do you want to send with your story?
What would you like someone who read your book to do?
Who do you want to read this book?/Who is your book for?
You’ve had quite an eventful life. Who are you now?
If you could change anything in your life, what would it be?
Did you ever have any counselling sessions as a child or an adult to help you work through your past?
CHILD ABUSE - QUESTIONS
What form of child abuse did you suffer? (Note to interviewer: Christine did NOT suffer any sexual abuse).
Who were the perpetrators?
You mentioned the Walk of Shame in boarding school in your book. Tell me more about that.
You have a chapter called Dr. Kitzel in your book. Tell me a bit more about that.
Did your child abuse years have an influence on your teenage years?
How did it affect you and how did it make you feel then?
How did you deal with it when it happened?
What support did you have?
Does your past experience of abuse still affect you now? How so?
In your opinion, do you think that a person can mentally heal from the scars of their abusive past?
What would you say to a person who has had an abusive past too?
DOMESTIC ABUSE - QUESTIONS
The coma chapter in your book must have been difficult to write. Is this correct?
What was THE turning point your life?
Your novel ‘No Fourth River’ relates your own experience of domestic violence. What would you say to someone who is in the same situation right now?
What are the factors that lead to a violent marriage/ domestic violence?
What was the deciding factor for you to leave him?
Where did you find the strength to leave him?
Who did you turn to for support, during your marriage?
How did your violent marriage influence your later life?
Who did you turn to for support after your marriage?
How do you find people react when they learn about your violent marriage and what you’ve been through?
INSPIRATIONAL - QUESTIONS
Did you realise when you shared your story you would become an inspiration to others?
What is your message to any readers who use your book as inspiration?
What is your message to other people who have experienced similar horrible things in their life?
You wrote your book to help others. Tell me more about that.
Have people who read the book told you it’s an inspirational story?
How have you inspired others?
What particular part of your story resonates with your readers?
Following the response from readers of ‘No Fourth River’ you have started the #BraveMe campaign, what is it about?
ADOLESCENCE AND BAD CHOICES - QUESTIONS
You’ve had a tumultuous adolescence, what is the impact this has had on your life?
What would you tell your teenage self, if you could reach back in time?
What was the worst thing you did/happened during your adolescence? Do you think this could have been avoided?
What would have helped you during your teenage and early adolescent years?
What support do you think teens need?
As someone whose teenage years are the stuff of parents’ nightmares and a mother who has seen her children through their teenage years, what advice would you give other parents?
PARENTING COMING FROM AN ABUSIVE BACKGROUND - QUESTIONS
How does your parenting style differ from that of your parents? and why?
What are your feelings for your mum and dad now?
In your book, you said that you forgave your dad for the things he did. Tell me more about that.
Do your experiences make you a better parent? How?
What would you say to others who have had a similar childhood to yours?
Do you think that parenting in the 1980s and parenting now, in the 21st century has changed? Do parents need to do things differently?
You have spent your parenting years building your business. There are a lot of working parents who face the challenges of juggling work and family, how did you do it?
ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND BEING A FEMALE ENTREPRENEUR - QUESTIONS
You had no money when you started your first business. How did you manage to grow the business into a big and successful company?
Did your past experiences help you tackle the business world? How?
Are you still an entrepreneur? What do you do now?
How did you start your entrepreneurial journey?
Is it easy for someone to start their own business?
What are the challenges that one can face?
Where do you recommend someone start when they decide to start their own business?
What makes you successful as an entrepreneur?
Do you think your bad past helped you to succeed in the business world?
Women And Entrepreneurship
What was it like being a young woman entrepreneur in the early 1980s?
What is it like being a woman entrepreneur now?
What are the challenges that women tend to face in entrepreneurship that men don’t?
BEDWETTING - QUESTIONS
When did the bedwetting start for you?
What was the trigger?
What were your reaction and that of your parents when you started wetting the bed again after being dry at night?
What remedies did you try in an attempt to stop the bedwetting? Did they work?
You went to a boarding school run by nuns, what was the reaction of the nuns and the other children?
Tell me more about your Walk of Shame in boarding school, when you were only 5 years old.
How did it affect your life long term?
When did the bedwetting stop?
Do you have any advice for children who wet the bed at a late age?
THE POWER OF A POSITIVE MIND - QUESTIONS
How did your positive mindset affect you in changing your world around?
How can it help others?
How do you cultivate a positive mindset?
Do you think you can achieve more with a positive mindset? Why?
THE POWER OF TRUE LOVE - QUESTIONS
Do you believe in true love or is it just a fairy-tale?
How did meeting your second husband influence your life?
How did you meet the ‘One’?
How did you know it was true love?
Can you describe some of the relationships you had before you met your soulmate?
There were quite a few barriers to your relationship with your second husband on both sides, tell me a bit more about it.
The Question and Compatibility List
In your novel ‘No Fourth River’, you talk about a list of questions you asked your second husband before you took your relationship to the next level. This is unheard of, why did you do that?
How many questions were on that list?
What was his reaction when you brought out your list?
Can you share a few questions on this list with us?
Did he pass the test?
Did this list help your relationship?
How long have you been married now?
You also made a “compatibility list” before you decided to take things further with your second husband… Explain what that was and why.