I have a guest post today on my blog as part of the Blog Tour for “Cruise with an Adorable Fat Girl” by Bernice Bloom. I would love to have read this book as part of the tour, but there is never enough time to read all of the books I want to. This book is available in eBook format HERE. My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the tour and also to Bernice for such a wonderful guest post about her inspiration behind this book.
Mary Brown – our full-figured heroine – is off on a cruise. It’s the trip of a lifetime…featuring eat-all-you-can buffets and a trek through Europe with a 96-year-old widower called Frank and a flamboyant Spanish dancer called Juan Pedro in attendance. Then there’s the desperately handsome captain, the appearance of an ex-boyfriend on the ship, the time she’s mistaken for a Hollywood film star in Lisbon and tonnes of clothes shopping all over Europe.
“Lovely, warm, life-enhancing and laugh out-loud funny,” Glamour magazine.
Welcome to my blog today Bernice. I would love to know what is the inspiration behind the series?
BERNICE: A couple of years ago, while contemplating my next book, I was trying to think of a female character that I could create who would be different from so many others. I wanted her to be modern, bright, funny and outgoing, but I didn’t want her to be a clone of the other women featured in modern literature. What could I do with my character that would make her completely different? Perhaps I should put her in the army? Or in the circus, or give her a dreadful illness that she’s coping with? I really struggled to think of a character who’d be a bit different. Then, it suddenly hit me – I’d make her fat.
The more I thought about it, the more I thought this would be a brilliant idea…a huge swathe of the population is overweight but this is not represented in literature. There are very few overweight heroines. Lots of people in books want to lose a couple of pounds to get into their size 10 jeans, but none are so overweight that it’s a burden that they struggle with every day, like so many people in the real world.
It’s funny, really, this whole ‘overweight heroine’ thing. Heroines can be nasty, cruel, vindictive, and forgetful, they can murder and maltreat people, but they can’t be heavily overweight. Is that because we simply can’t countenance a fat person being a heroine? I’m not saying it’s a sexist thing: heroes are typecast too. But it did seem odd to me that so few people in novels were fat that it was quite ridiculous and at odds with the real world.
Once I’d decided to have a fat woman as a heroine, the next thing I needed to do was to work out what this meant, in real terms. How would being overweight impact on her life. The more you start to think about it, and the more you watch, the more you realise that it affects every part of your life.
Things like overspending, drinking too much, smoking too much and gambling can have a colossal impact on your life, but nothing changes the way you look quite like overeating. It may be much worse for you to be smoking 20 cigarettes a day than to be eating extra slices of pizza and treating yourself to ice-cream, but the impact of overeating is so visual and so difficult to hide, that you are judged straight away.
I went along to a slimming club and found everyone there very jolly, friendly and lovely – they just wanted to lose weight, it was just one part of their personality. It was important to them, but it clearly didn’t overwhelm them. While I was there I met a lovely lady who was very overweight. When she did her weigh in she was twice what she should have weighed.
The woman running the club declared: “My goodness, you’ve put on weight. Every week for the past six weeks. I’ve never had anyone do that before. You were lighter before you came.”
She raised her hand in mock salute and the group cheered. I loved the light, self-deprecating way she dealt with the news, and the seed of an idea began to grow – Mary Brown, my heroine. would be funny and silly in public even though, privately, I knew she would have deep concerns and moments of real anguish about her weight. I thought this private and public view of her would create a complex, rounded character who readers would identify with.
So, I started out…writing novels about her, creating stories for her and challenging her to try and lose a little weight in every book (she usually fails!). The books have worked brilliantly and Mary has become a properly rounded heroine.
A while ago I went back to the slimming club where I’d met the lady who inspired Mary, hoping to talk to her and tell her about my books, but she wasn’t around. She’d given up trying to lose weight and stopped going to the club. The people there said they had been to see her but she had no interest in coming back. I hope she found a way to lose the weight she wants to, and above all found happiness – deep inside as well as on the outside.
YVONNE: This is a really great read, the lady at the slimming club sounds wonderful and a real character. It is refreshing to see a character that is not the stereotypical heroine. Many thanks Bernice for a really insightful post for your inspiration behind the series.
About the Author:
Hello, my name is Bernice Bloom and I am a writer (I write light-hearted rom-com style novels and also work as a magazine journalist and advertising copywriter) and jewellery designer. My recent series of novels is called ‘Adorable Fat Girl’ and it features a heavily overweight woman called Mary Brown. She is bright, funny, friendly and bonkers. She’s also fat. The books blend the comedy of her efforts to lose weight with a more serious backstory about what happened to her in the past that had led to the issues that make her prone to over-eating. I’m fascinated that there are so few overweight heroines in literature. Women can be manipulative, evil, even murderers in fiction, but not fat! Certainly not fat and beautiful with loads of friends! Then along came Mary and she’s developed quite a fan base of people who love the fact that the heroine is large. She gets lots of letters and I have ended up taking her on lots of adventures!
Social Media Links –
∗∗∗ GIVEAWAY ∗∗∗
For a chance to win a Daisy Bracelet and Earring set created by Bernice Bloom (Open Internationally). ENTER HERE
Many thanks for reading my post, a share if you liked it would be great. Or grab yourself a copy of this wonderful book HERE and let me know what you thought 🙂 xx