Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Mary Walters and The Whole Clove Diet

Today I'd like to welcome friend and author Mary Walters. Mary is one of my Amazon friends and is a no-nonsense straight talker—one of my favorite kinds of people. She is kind about it, but holds no punches, frequently the sane voice saying BS (in nicer words) when somebody is getting either egotistical or delusional in the bad way (I'm delusional in the GOOD way... meaning all in fun... and she doesn't seem to mind that). For that reason, she quickly became someone I both like and admire.

So I'm very happy to welcome Mary today as she promotes her latest release The Whole Clove Diet: A Novel. You know... sometimes 'A Novel' as a tag is redundant, but I think here it really helps the case... otherwise she probably would be a super bestseller who then irked readers who'd bought a diet book... but never mind. Mary will surely say all she has to say better than I can, so without further ado, WELCOME MARY!

The Whole Clove Diet: Where the story began

by Mary W. Walters

Mark Twain said, “Quitting smoking is easy. I've done it hundreds of times.” The same could be said for me and losing weight. I’ve bought so many diet books that they’d fill a good-sized bookshelf if I hadn’t given half of them away. And every single one of those diets worked: for as long as I stuck with it.

It is, of course, the “sticking to it” that is the problem, as anyone knows who has ever tried to break any bad habit. It's the “foreverness” of a lifestyle-changing resolution that is so hard to deal with. While you are going through the deprivation period, you feel sorry for yourself. You are certain that you will never again feel normal, much less happy ­– at least not as happy as you were when you were still eating ice cream, or lighting cigarettes, or clicking onto FaceBook for the fiftieth time that day. (Yeah. I can get addicted to anything. : )

I started writing The Whole Clove Diet about a year after I quit smoking. I had tried quitting smoking as often as I had tried to lose weight, but never succeeded until I finally got it through my head that if I did not quit, I was going to wreck my future. In short, it was the will to live (and to live well) – and not the will to quit – that got me through the weeks and months of quitting.

I realized that the same principle must apply to weight loss, or alcohol abuse, or Internet addiction. Focusing on the treatment was not the way to go about it: you needed a bigger reason. The long-term gain had to be significant enough to put up with the short-term pain, day after day after day. So figuring out the long-term gain was the first step.

I began to see how ridiculous (and even funny) all those weight-loss programs had been: they’d had nothing to do with what a person really has to do in order to get in shape, which is to change her entire way of thinking.

That’s when I started to write a novel about a young and unfocussed woman who knows instinctively how pointless it is to be going on and off diets, but is unable to figure out how to stop doing it – or how to stop gaining weight. I may have invented Rita out of my own experience, but as her story evolved, she became less and less like me. Eventually she learned the same lesson I did, but she did it in her own pig-headed way.

I am very fond of Rita, and I am very proud of her: not because I created her, but because she finally figured out how to create herself. As all of us must do.

Book Blurb:

As she breaks 200 pounds, and not in a good way, Rita finds herself married to a self-focused widower with two difficult kids and a mother who almost makes Rita’s own mother look like a role model—which is really saying something. Graham’s first wife, being dead, just keeps getting better and better in everyone’s memories while Rita just gets fatter and more aggravated. She’s tried every diet in the book, but it’s not until a family crisis forces her out the door that she figures out the easiest way to thin is to get rid of the baggage on the inside. Funny and insightful, The Whole Clove Diet is sure to make readers of all shapes and sizes feel better about themselves—and ultimately maybe even about Rita. Recently awarded a B.R.A.G. Medallion, The Whole Clove Diet is available on amazon.com in both paperback and ebook. Amazon Whole Clove Diet

Brief Bio

Mary W. Walters is a highly acclaimed writer and editor. Her first two novels, The Woman Upstairs and Bitters, were published by NeWest Press, and her a collection of short stories, Cool, was published by River Books. Her fourth book, a guide to effective grantwriting, was published by The Johns Hopkins University Press. She’s won a Writers Guild of Alberta Award for Excellence in Writing, and her short fiction has been short-listed for such prizes as the CBC/Saturday Night Fiction Competition and the Journey Prize. Mary blogs at The Militant Writer (maryww.wordpress.com) and in many other places, and her website is at marywwalters.com

Tart Note:  That BRAG award is a big deal!  Congratulations on that!!!

And on another note, our friend Carol has her book launch today for In Name Only so you should go say congratulations to her, too!


Old Kitty said...

Having bought a jar of whole cloves (they're not cheap are they!??!) and having so far only used a very small amount (one has to smash them to get to the seeds inside - so laborious!!LOL!) I am certainly most intrigued by the title!

Glad it's a novel!! Yay!! Hello Mary!

Take care

Em-Musing said...

Your book title is intriguing and the story will resonate with many. I quit smoking 25 years ago when breast cancer tapped me on the shoulder. Fat cells though just keep doing the happy dance with my hips. They just don't want to stop having fun.

Teresa Coltrin@Journaling Woman said...

The book sounds great. I love the character Rita already.


Alison DeLuca said...

Sounds fantastic. I actually thought, since I'm not very bright, that The Whole Clove Diet was a self-help book. Now I see it is a novel, and I Must Read It!

maryww said...

Hi to you too, "Old Kitty"!

Em-Musing, I had a brush with breast cancer too -- and it STILL took me five more years to quit. As far as the fat cells... well, all I can say is that I'm on The Zone this time. ;) But I actually feel like I might be in Rita's ultimate head space for a change in that department. We'll see. I have a lot of losing ahead of me yet.

Thanks, Teresa. Hey, Alison -- Rodney warned me there would be people like you who wouldn't buy my book! He said I should change the title. That's why I added "A Novel"

And a big thanks and a hug to Hart!!

Connie J Jasperson said...

It's a great book, Mary! You write great characters and great plots! Good in depth interview, Hart!

Jenny Milchman said...

What a fantastic life lesson to create yourself. Congratulations on all your success. Sounds like you have blended multiple publishing paths wonderfully!

Jody said...

Hey, Mary, great interview!


erica and christy said...

Mary, adding "A Novel" was a great idea (as are most of Rodney's ideas) - us ABNA people probably knew, but those who happen upon it in the general Amazon Fiction list could be easily confused. ;)

Anyone thinking about buying it - I recently finished A Woman Upstairs and thought it was excellent writing. Knowing how much writing can improve with subsequent books means this one must be fantastic! Can't wait to read it (I'm taking a summer course that means little/no fun reading now, but soon!)
erica (posted with my blog id - this is Erica Olson)

Sarah Ahiers said...

This sounds really good! And funny!

Hart Johnson said...

Kitty-no wonder it works as a diet! That's a lot of work!

Em-Well done on the quitting thing! Like Mary, I can get addicted to anything (so thankfully, never STARTED smoking)

Teresa-she sounds great, eh? A little like a smart Bridget Jones *shifty*

Alison-HA! I wondered at first, too--like the 'a novel' tag for that...

Mary-there definitely is a MINDSET on diet success... I'm not there at the mo, but I've had a couple long stretches that were good, so I know it's possible. Hugs back atcha!

Connie-YAY for a great endorsement!

Jenny-it IS great when a novel can inspire, eh? I definitely need to read this... I have it...

Jody-thanks for coming by!

Hart Johnson said...

Erica- HA! And another great endorsement, if for the writer, instead of specifically the book...

Sarah-does sound great, eh?

Mary W. Walters said...

Wow! Lots of great traffic here - Erica and Connie, thanks so much for the kudos. Nothing better than word-of-mouth as we all know. I'm so happy you enjoyed what I wrote.

Hart, ever since I quit smoking I've been on and off the weight-go-round, and before that I was fighting it too (I smile now when I think how slim I was the first time I went to Weight Watchers, and because of that sometimes I think, "Mary, imagine if your weight had gone up to 250 lbs before you started to turn it around. If you'd started at 250, and you were now at your current weight, you'd feel skinny!" So I try to use that mindset. And it actually helps.)

I'm down 10 lbs this go-round, but as we all know, tomorrow could be full of M&Ms. The mind is a dangerous thing. :)

Anyway, thanks all for your warm words.

J.L. Campbell said...

The book sounds like an interesting read, something those who struggle with weight gain (which is a lot of us!) will want to think about buying for sure. Can't help wondering if the meaning of the title is as simple as it sounds and how that comes across in the book.

Andy David said...

Just stopping by to say hi. Visiting from the Post A-Z Road Trip - I'm on a quest to visit all 1,718 people who took part in the A-Z Challenge!

Best wishes & thanks for sharing.

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