So, Samantha Dee, congratulations on your launch! Why did you write a book about Body Positivity ?
There’s something quite depressing about diets and dieting, and I wanted to write a title that says ‘Hey, been there love, you’re not alone’ in a funny and (I hope) heart-warming way. Positivity is such an important psychological state when anyone is trying to lose weight. That, and I wanted to write an account that’s not written by a Doctor or Hunky Italian Celebrity that hasn’t been there and just wants to make a buck.
Is it all about diets and dieting ?
Hmm, kind of. It’s an account of what it’s like to be fat – in an A to Z form, but I’ve tried to make it a funny biography about dieting – on how I nourished my own self-esteem and body positivity – from my own personal perspective. It’s full of funny stories, sad stories, advice, tips and what-not.
Why would someone want to buy a comedy about dieting?
When you’ve been on all the diets and dieting and know the calorific value of every speck of organic matter that exists on the planet, but still show up at a diet club for some stranger to tell you how to do it – it does nothing for body positivity or self-esteem does it? I think you have to laugh a little bit.
Are you promoting obesity?
Absolutely not. Like it or not, we are not built to be heavy. Having ‘too much on board’ leads to other things, joint problems, back problems, headaches, skin issues, fatigue, diabetes, gall bladder issues, enlarged liver. Not to mention issues like self-esteem and depression. Those are just facts.
What it’s (Samantha Dee is) saying is ‘you’re not alone, and when you or while you are losing weight, do it for you, at your own pace, under your own steam, and don’t beat yourself up about how you got there.‘
Was ‘My Big Fat Fat’ easy or difficult to write?
I think the first thought that goes through your head when you start writing, is finishing it! Perhaps that’s just me; I see the finished product in my head, so it’s always on my mind. I have to have a complete volume about being fat in my head before I start.
The idea of writing the title came to me after a sort of epiphany; that over-eating has stolen a very large part of my life and personality, and so the title kind of stemmed from there. It was going to be a serious account, but then I thought ‘There are millions of women on a diet, right at this very moment, what is it we’re all going through?’ – that and my sense of humor really got the words down ‘on paper’. Then it naturally developed into an A to Z, with funny bits and some not-so-funny bits.
It was very easy to write, because these are personal experiences. I loved writing My Big Fat Fat. It’s semi-biographical.
You probably enjoyed reading as a child. Tell us about that. What were your favorite books growing up? What do you enjoy reading now?
Oh gosh I loved it. We had a read club in Primary School, and we’d get a small catalog of books we can buy, of course I always wanted four or five but my family just couldn’t afford it at the time.
Aside from ‘Twinkle’ annuals (remember those?), I had a title ‘My Side of the Mountain’ which I found absolutely captivating.
Then I had a title called ‘Ghostly Laughter’ and after that was hooked on both spooky stories and humor. Those were the earliest ‘proper’ books I read, when I was eight or nine.
The next ‘chapter’ (tee-hee) of reading tastes happened after I read ‘Dracula’ when I was about fourteen. I honestly couldn’t put it down – it was so beautifully written. After that I was hooked on vampire fiction for about twenty years. I used to get vampire books bought for me as Christmas and birthday gifts, so I have two of everything. Didn’t have the heart to say ‘I’ve read that one’.
Now in my ‘ahem’ era, I love reading about Ancient Rome. I love biographies of the old Hollywood stars and I love humor. I also read a fair bit of non-fiction. Ruby Wax’s ‘Taming the Mind’ was a life-changer.
Have you always enjoyed writing? When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always been writing one thing or another. When I was in primary school I wrote a story about a haunted house that was fourteen pages long. I think I shocked my teachers. Since then, I’ve written droves and droves of ‘stuff’, mostly amounting to nothing, but it satisfied my need to write. I had an online vampire fiction magazine in the early 2000’s and I published other people’s short stories on it. It was then that I realized I had no talent for fiction that was authentic or original in style.
But I have some funny real-life stories to tell, and so this title about food and dieting was born.
What have you realized about yourself through writing?
That I actually have a book to write! For many years I’ve read books, part-written books and stories, but in my head, this title wouldn’t leave me alone. This one literally nagged me, for months, to write it. Then the title ‘My Big Fat Fat’ popped into my head – and really there was no stopping me from there. Ultimately, that I can laugh about the fact that I’ve been on a diet all my life. If I can laugh about what I’ve put myself through, anyone can. I went through some very dark times, but learned about self care and body positivity. This this book is partly about how I got out of that hole. I think humor is a good way to challenge opinions, too. It’s easier to be humorous about a serious issue. Take Jim Jeffries’ sketch about guns for instance; absolute genius.
What’s your best advice for new writers?
Some of the best advice I can give – is to write what YOU would want to read. Sod everything else out there. If you wake up and all you can think about is writing, then you’re a writer. Also, get an indie Editor if you can afford it. I recommend Vanessa from Indie Owl Press. That chic rocks.
So Samantha Dee, your first title out, Is there another book launch on the cards? What are you working on now?
Procrastinating. I’ve about mastered it!
Since ‘My Big Fat Fat’, I’ve almost finished ‘My Big Fat Kitchen’, working on ‘My Big Fat Commute’ and ‘My Big Fat Secret’ – the order in which these books get out there is decided using the intellect of The Count from Sesame Street. You’ll have to follow ‘My Big Fat Blog’ for announcements on that front. I post every Friday.
Other than that, I meditate regularly, am a full time cat servant, a complete geek and I work on finding spectacular coffee and cheap vodka. Love ya! Samantha Dee.