Next Big Thing Blog Hop!

I was chatting recently with an author friend (Lauren Dawes), and she pointed me toward a little blog hop going on called The Next Big Thing. It sounded like fun, I made some connections, and here I am - introducing all of you to my first experience with a blog hop.

To begin, I'd like to give another shout out to Lauren Dawes (author of the Half Blood Trilogy), who pointed me toward Michelle Turner (author of Reviving Bloom), who ended up tagging me to bring me into the hop. But first, the rules:

  • The "hop" requires me to answer ten questions about my book.
  • I'm also supposed to tag other authors to answer the same questions about their newest book. 

The great thing about this is that I get to get the word out on my work, I get to meet and work with other authors, and I get to show you the way to other authors who want you to check them out! So, let's get on with it, shall we?

Ten Questions About Fat Chance

1. Was Fat Chance always the title of this book, even when it was a work in progress?
Fat Chance was the title of this book right from the second the concept occurred to me. The moment Cass Keaton's story entered my mind, the title appeared alongside her. Sort of a play on words, which leads to the next question.

2. Where did the idea for the book come from?
I grew up in a small town, with a somewhat small family. We didn't have a lot of money, and most of us spent a good deal of time sedentary. As an absolute book addict, I probably spent more time than most kids sitting still with my nose in one book or another. Because of this, I grew up a bit overweight, and once puberty and hormones kicked in, my weight got more and more out of control. As a young girl, that led to many instances of injured ego, ruptured pride, and simple lack of self-confidence.

I like to think that I've improved greatly in that, and I'm thankful to be able to say most days I can look in the mirror with a grin and a wink at the woman looking back at me. Giving life to Cass Keaton was easy, because so much of who she is comes from my personal experiences.

3. What genre is the book?
The book is what I like to think of as a "classic" contemporary romance, which is what I tend to read most often and therefore, it is the "place" I am most comfortable, most myself, and most authentic.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in the movie?
For Cass, I'd love to see Kaycee Stroh, who is very nearly a perfect match for the way I imagine Cass to look. Another possible is Brooke Elliott, the actress from Drop Dead Diva. She's beautiful, she's sassy, and she looks the part. My first thoughts - who didn't fit Cass's description but are still remarkably beautiful in spite of (or because of) their larger bodies - included Queen Latifah, who has always been sort of my "fat girl" hero. I have always always loved the way she owns her body and her look, and I have never seen her as anything other than absolutely GORGEOUS. I thought of Kirstie Alley too (circa 2005), who is lovely in her own right and stands up so proudly to public scrutiny, which gives her the right personal experience to be Cass. Too bad she has blue eyes, like Melissa McCarthy, who also came immediately to mind. McCarthy is most known (to me) for playing Suki on Gilmore Girls, and she is truly a beautiful woman, full of energy and spunk and sass - just like Cass.

As for Drew ... I'd actually love to see Jackson Hurst in the part of Andrew Kingsley. He plays Grayson on Drop Dead Diva, and he looks almost exactly the way I imagine Drew to look. Other suggestions from fans were Jesse Metcalfe, Jared Padaleki, and Rob Morrow - but I think Jesse and Jared both look too young, and Rob Morrow is just ... not quite right for me.

5. What is a one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Fat Chance: one woman's journey to self-acceptance and love.

6. Is the book self-published, or represented by an agency?
At this point, all of my books are self-published and likely to stay that way. I'm open to the idea of an agent and a contract at some point if one comes my way, but in the moment, I'm enjoying the experience of sort of being my own agent. I like the freedom of knowing that I'm in charge, and the only person my career needs to please is myself. Probably, it'll stay that way - I'm sort of a control freak when it comes to my writing, so I don't anticipate liking the idea of having a "boss."

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I'm not sure, really. Fat Chance was an idea for a while, but the actual writing started sometime around the end of December 2012, just after Christmas. By the end of January, the book was out - and that includes editing time, etc. So definitely not long.

8. What other books would you compare your story to, within your genre?
Well I'm not sure. I haven't read many books like this one, honestly. And so much of it was really drawn from my personal experiences.

9. What inspired you to write this book?
My personal history - growing up as an obese teenager, subject to the cruel things kids can say and the unconscious ways that family/friends can damage the confidence and self-esteem of a "big girl". As a heavy woman, some of that has not changed, but I like to think that my outlook has - and that I have learned more self-acceptance that doesn't depend on feedback from others. I want to be healthy, and like many women I'd love to be thinner, but for the most part I can now look in the mirror smiling. I have come a long way, and I'm closer than ever before to remembering on a regular basis that I am not the number on my scale.

10. What else about your book might peak a reader's interest?
Well, I think of Fat Chance so much as a personal journey for Cass; she spends much of the story batting her inner demons, facing the way society looks at her, and learning to deal with the negative way that she's learned to look at herself. But twisted into that plot line is a love story with a hot guy who is sweet and incredibly sensitive. And who doesn't love a love story?

And Now, To Tag a Few Other Authors So They Can "Hop" Too!
First up, we have Aurelia B Rowl, who writes contemporary romance and also YA fiction. She is all over the web and can be found at the following sites!

Next up, Jacinta Maree is also a YA fiction author! Go check her out at any of the following links!

Edited to add: You can now download Fat Chance for FREE!! Find out how to download the book from your favorite e-book market here. (May 2018)