My book is titled, Be Ye Encouraged! Strategies for Lasting Weight Loss and Good Health. This is my journey of weight loss and success, what lead up to finding the perfect diet strategy and what it takes to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle for a lifetime. Everything in the book is useful to everyone, even if you are following another program, and anyone who takes the advice given will be able to lose unwanted pounds and keep them off. The diet regimen that I follow is easy, uncomplicated and inexpensive and the exercise plan is low impact(and a little “out of the box”) that anyone can do. It’s good, common sense written in a fresh, new, light reading format not a boring clinical study.
Tell us something about yourself.
I’m a native Californian, born and raised in Sacramento, married for 38 years to the same man, have two children and eight grandchildren. My professional profile is in the death industry where I worked for many years as a Funeral Arranger, an interesting, and at times crazy, job. I’m also an artist and, now, speaker as well as writer.
What inspired you to write the book?
Working in a funeral home taught me a lot about what happens to a large person after they pass away. They may require a custom built casket or two grave spaces, or they need special care in being handled (too big for dressing, or being moved, etc). One lady was so big she could not be cremated in the regular retort and had to be sent to a special crematory that would accommodate her girth. All of these things cost their families more grief as they had to spend more money. Not a dignified way to go. I felt so bad for both the deceased and their families. At the time I was working, I started facing some health problems and on a routine visit to my doctor, I inadvertently saw my medical chart which was marked at the top(in big red letters, it seemed) with the terrible word “ OBESE”. I never thought of myself as being that overweight; maybe a little heavy, but not obese. After a short time and some other occurrences, I made the decision to start eating right before I ended up like my clients-dead. As the weight melted away, I had many people ask me to write down how I was accomplishing the seemingly impossible and thus, my book was born.
How did you chose the title?
I feel that encouragement is a huge part of staying on track in dieting. Ideally the people around you should be supportive, but sometimes that isn’t the case. There are some who would like to see you fail. And you certainly can’t count on yourself to keep up the enthusiasm, because there are times when you are dieting that you are really down on yourself, questioning why you’re doing this or why you got fat in the first place. You are your own worst enemy. So, my book is meant to motivate and encourage you, to keep you moving forward until you successfully reach your goal. I’m the dieters personal cheerleader because I believe in them and that they can do it.
What obstacles did you encounter in getting the book published?
The biggest obstacle was finding a publisher who was even interested in another diet book. I hated getting the rejection letters. I had read that you had to grow a thick skin to be a writer and that is certainly true. I forged on and found Nancy at Wyatt-MacKenzie who was interested. Then after the book comes out, the real work starts. Marketing is really tough and time consuming.
Do you have any writing rituals?
I would get many of my ideas in the middle of the night and have to get up and write them down. This went on for months and just when I thought I was done writing, a thought would pop up that needed to be included. That would happen, too, when I was riding on the back of our Harley, and I would have to ask my husband to pull over so I could write down an important thought.
What did you learn from writing and publishing this book?
I learned that I had the fortitude to accomplish a mighty task. I learned a lot about myself, my strengths and my weaknesses. I learned I have a real passion to help and encourage others who struggle with weight issues.
If you were doing it over again, what would you do differently?
I would learn more about the process of getting published. I thought I did my homework, but there is so much more to learn. Maybe it’s a learning process that can only happen after you’ve written the book, though.
What types of books do you like to read?
Right now I’m reading Fueled by Faith by Jennifer Kennedy Dean.
Are you working on your next book?
Well, I have 2 or 3 ideas, but I haven’t committed to any of them yet. I would like to do a book on maintaining a healthy weight and call it Beyond Encouraged because after you’ve reached your goal, maintenance is the hardest part. I have an idea on how color affects dieting too. Then there are children’s books. So many ideas, so little time.
What is the best advice you can give to other writers about writing or publishing?
Do it! Write your book with enthusiasm knowing that you are the only one who can give your perspective on a subject. Be bold and get tough. Grow that thick skin. Take rejection letters in stride. Learn as much as you can about your subject, know what other books are out there dealing with the same matter. Do your research on publishers,like which ones will most likely be interested in your subject. Then go for it!
Who is the perfect reader for your book?
Everyone who struggles with weight challenges and wants to overcome them victoriously. Anyone who wants to live a healthy, happy life. Who doesn’t fit into either one of these categories? We all need to be encouraged!