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Monday, February 02, 2009


Annette Fix: Author of The Break-Up Diet: A Memoir Launches her Blog Tour!

The Muffin welcomes Annette, Senior Editor of WOW! Women On Writing, on the first stop of her blog tour! I’m happy to have the chance to talk with her about her humorous and gut-wrenching debut book—The Break-Up Diet: A Memoir.

The Break-Up Diet: A Memoir is the candid and intimate story of a 30-something single mother and aspiring writer who is working as an exotic dancer, searching for Prince Charming, and trying to find the perfect balance between her dreams and her day-to-day life as Supermom.

This debut author's quirky voice and her fairytale experience provide a true alternative to chick-lit fiction as she shares the humor and pathos that accompany heartbreak and seeking the road to happiness.

***Ladies, Annette will be happy to answer any questions about her book, relationships, or memoir writing as well as respond to comments. Anyone leaving a comment or question will be entered into a drawing to win a copy of The Break-Up Diet: A Memoir.

WOW: Welcome, Annette, thanks for launching your blog tour on The Muffin. Your memoir shares a lot of personal, honest, and gut-wrenching moments with readers. How have they responded to your honest portrayal of a break up?

Annette: My readers have been great! So many of the women say that after reading The Break-Up Diet, they feel like we’re friends—especially those I’ve met in-person at book signings and fairs. We end up chatting for hours about relationships. At least a couple times a week, I receive email updates telling me what’s going on in their romantic lives. I think sharing candid stories about lost love tends to form a common bond. I don’t think I could ever become an “ivory tower” writer who is unreachable. I enjoy connecting with readers too much.

WOW: That is so great that your readers are feeling a personal connection with you. I think almost every woman can really relate to some of the dating experiences that you had. It definitely takes another woman to understand those experiences! What was the most difficult scene for you to write?

Annette: I think “5 Hours in Purgatory”—when my ex came to pick up his personal belongings from our shared house--was probably the most difficult scene to write. I began writing the book soon after the break-up—within a week or so—and that meant I had to re-live the scenes on the page while they were still so raw and immediate. There were times while I was writing that I was crying so hard I couldn’t see my computer monitor. If anyone were there to witness it, I’m sure it would’ve looked like the scene in Something’s Gotta Give where Diane Keaton is wailing and typing at the same time.

In hindsight, that image is funny, but I think still being in that emotional place really helped me capture the intense, visceral feelings and translate them into words on the page.

WOW: Yes, your words are so real and do express such strong emotion. There were times when I teared up while I was reading the book. I know what a wonderful, bright person you are, and I just didn't want to see you go through such a terrible time! But I had to keep reading to the end to find out what happened. You had me hooked! So, what are you most afraid to have readers, friends, and family discover about you and your break-up, if anything?

Annette: I’m completely naked in my memoir—emotionally, and sometimes even physically. (laughs) And I’ve actually joked with my in-laws and told them they’re not allowed to read my book. But, honestly, I don’t have any regrets and won’t make excuses to anyone for choices I’ve made or things I’ve done. I am who I am. And there’s a certain amount of fearlessness that comes along with that attitude. I refuse to pretend I’m perfect. There is a lot of freedom from feeling guilty or worrying about being judged when you own your choices.

WOW: I think those are important things women can really learn from your book--to make choices and stick with them--and especially that none of us are perfect! :) Even though most of the book is about a very difficult emotional time in your life, I found myself often laughing out loud at some of your thoughts about the dating scene! Did you make a conscious effort to include humor in your book?

Annette: It wasn’t a conscious effort. Anyone who has spent time with me, on a personal rather than professional level, knows I have a sarcastic streak and a quirky view of life. And, as part of my sense of humor, I love coining colorful phrases that make me laugh. It’s a bonus if it makes other people laugh, too. My friends who’ve read The Break-Up Diet say it “sounds” exactly like me.

I think the offbeat humor lightens the emotional weight that goes along with grieving over lost love and yearning to find a soul mate. And it helps put everything in perspective when I can find something in my life to laugh about!

WOW: The voice in your book is so real. The humor is never forced, and it does help "lighten" such an emotional topic. Do you feel like your book could or does change the way women look at relationships? Why?

Annette: I don’t consider my memoir a life-altering, self-help relationship book; it’s just my story. More than anything, I hope after reading it, women come away with a feeling that it’s okay to believe in happily-ever-after, it’s okay to want the fairytale—the loving mate who is not perfect but is a perfect match for them. And that they understand that having exactly what they want in life really can happen. That’s the whole point of me sharing my story.

Because of my personal situation at the time (single mother/aspiring writer/exotic dancer), I was the least likely person to be in a position to find relationship happiness. But, even after a devastating break-up, I never gave up on that possibility. It’s far too easy to settle. Women do it every day in big and small ways, in relationships, and other aspects of their lives. My one wish would be that women realize it doesn’t have to be that way.

WOW: Those are words of wisdom, Annette! "It's far too easy to settle. . . My one wish would be that women realize it doesn't have to be that way." I know so many women who could really benefit from realizing this, and I'm so glad you wrote your book to share this message with the world! What has been your best experience or best reader response since you have published your book?

Annette: I’ve had so many wonderful responses. But, I’d say my favorite was a reader who emailed to say she keeps my book on the nightstand beside her bed with Angela Bassett’s book (Friends: A Love Story) and the Bible. After I joked that I hope she doesn’t get struck by lightning from having my book too close to the Bible, she said, “Your memoir gives me hope.”
That was incredibly humbling, and it really gave me a sense of joy that my message touched her. For a writer, it doesn’t get any better than that.

WOW: Thanks for sharing your story with us. We are so glad you joined us today, Annette. Ladies, please check out Annette’s websites: and
To purchase a copy of The Break-Up Diet: A Memoir, go to: or your local independent or chain bookstore.

If you would like to read more about Annette’s publishing journey, check out Angela’s interview with her on WOW!

Stop by and comment at any (or all!) of the blogs on her tour:

Feb 6 @ Hell or High Water - Topic: Memoir Writing

Feb 9 @ The Virtual Wordsmith - Topic: Independent Publishing

Feb 11 @ Reading, Writing, & Stuff that Makes Me Crazy - Topic: Book Promotion

Feb 12 @ Bookish Mom - Topic: Memoir Writing

Feb 13 @ The Daily Blonde - Topic: Relationships

Feb 16 @ The Urban Muse - Topic: Memoir writing

Feb 17 @ Confessions of a Book-A-Holic - Topic: Interview about The Break-Up Diet: A Memoir

Feb 18 @ Momma Said - Topic: Q&A about The Break-Up Diet: A Memoir and “Housewife Awards” Story Contest & Book Give-Away

Feb 20 @ Day By Day Writer - Topic: Balancing writing and life

Feb 23 @ MomECentric - Topic: Following your dreams

Feb 26 @ A Blonde and Her Blog - Topic: Homeschooling

Feb 27 @ Sybil - Topic: Interview about the Writing Process

Feb 28 @ Clever Girl Goes Blog - Topic: Q&A about The Break-Up Diet: A Memoir

Mar 2 @ Betty Confidential - Topic: Relationship Break-Up Stories Contest & Book Give-Away

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Blogger Joanne said...

Good morning, great interview! I love the reference to Something's Gotta Give, what a great scene that is that so many writers can relate to. It sounds like you really put your heart on the page, Annette, which is often the best writing. Best wishes on your Blog Tour, looking forward to hosting you!

6:25 AM  
Blogger Ruth J. Hartman said...


Great interview! I'm so glad you finally found your Prince Charming. Good luck on your tour!


6:48 AM  
Blogger Annette said...

Good morning, ladies!

I'll be popping by throughout the day to answer questions. If you'd like to download a free digital copy of The Break-Up Diet: A Memoir, send an email to info [at] mybreakupstory [dot] com.

Ruth, there were plenty of toads along the way, but my fairy godmother finally came through for me when I was 35.

Joanne, I laughed so hard at the scene in SGG because I really could relate! I'm looking forward to the tour. See you on Whole Latte Life on Thursday!

7:43 AM  
Blogger The Daily Blonde said...

I'm excited to be hosting a stop on the tour on Friday the 13th. This should rid me of all my superstitions about that day because I'm already half way through the book (just got it today) and I can totally relate to it.

You are my inspiration, Annette!!

11:33 AM  
Blogger Annette said...

Awww...thanks, Cheryl! I can't wait to stop by your blog. It'll be fun. Maybe we can stir up your lurking Neanderthal! LOL

I'm glad you like the book! Make your list (p. 85)--I swear it works!

11:51 AM  
Blogger Jan said...

Hi Annette,
Just want to wish you luck with your new book. It sounds wonderful!

I was really struck by something you said in your interview. About not making apologies or having regrets. Such an important thing for us as women to begin to live fearlessly.

I actually said something similar to a man who I was having a business transaction with. When he learned I was a writer, he sort of rolled his eyes at me and asked me what I really wanted out of life. I told him this: "To live with no apologies." He didn't know what to say and I didn't either! It just sort of rolled out of my mouth, but it was true! And to give voice to that sentiment changed my life. I think in that very moment I became fearless (smile).

Carry on! You've got a potent message here. Blessings of success...

12:27 PM  
Blogger Annette said...

Jan, thanks so much for the blessings. In spreading the word about a book, I've found that it takes a story you believe in, a LOT of promotion, people willing to tell their friends, and a healthy dose of blessings sprinkled on top!

I'm so glad to hear you said what you did to that guy! That was such a powerful statement of intention!

There are so many people (my ex included) who worry too much about what people think about them. And there will always be people (like the guy you encountered) who are too afraid to follow their own dreams so they feel the need to pass judgment or bash someone else's. I'm glad you put him in his place--along with claiming your fearlessness.

YAY for fearless women! =)

12:46 PM  
Blogger Carrie said...

Annette and Margo!

Fabulous Interview! You both did such a wonderful job!

Congratulations with your new book. I honestly can't wait to read it. I have to admit that because of you releasing your book and getting it out there, you have inspired me to work harder on completing my book.

We can't let fear run our lives. You are right in saying that women need to be fearless. It can be so difficult sometimes that we just freeze up and don't know what to do. We need to keep moving forward. So many times, I have personally let fear run me and I know that I need to stop and step outside of that comfortable box.

Good luck on your tour and I hope you have tons of fun with it. You are such a wonderful person. I am so glad that I have gotten to "meet" you and work with you. I wish you all of the best of luck with this wonderful book!


Great job with the interview. It looks like you had a lot of fun working with Annette!

Happy Writing!

1:34 PM  
Blogger Annette said...

Carrie, I think what really helps to inspire us to behave fearlessly is to remember: the only way to truly fail is to fail to try. =)

Keep writing!

We only get one life on this Earth (as far as I know), so why get to the end of life and be full of regrets about things you wish you would've done?

I've decided I want to slide sideways into my grave with my hair a mess, yelling, "Woo-hoo! What a ride!"

2:03 PM  
Blogger Cathy C. Hall said...

Hi Annette!

I'm wondering one, no, two things:

Have you had much success in marketing your book to college-aged women? (I see so many young women at this age whose identity is wrapped up in the guy they're dating rather than finding their own identity FIRST-and though I haven't read your memoir yet!, it sounds like it might touch on this issue of loving and knowing who you are...)
Um, can you tell I have a college-aged daughter? :-)

Oh, and the other does your son react to reading such personal info about his mom (and maybe himself, too)?

2:32 PM  
Blogger Annette said...


I haven't specifically targeted college-age women, but I had a personal assistant during the summer who was a Cal Poly SLO senior. She read it and said she loved it, as did the girlfriends she passed it around to. She said her gay male roommate was raving about it too. =)

I do advise Moms that it's NC-17 as far as the content and some language.

One of my husband's clients (the wife) bought it and read it and then passed it on to her high-school-age daughter. So, I guess it depends on how open women are with their daughters about sex, emotional relationships, etc.

I guess it could be called a high-interest book because I've had readers (including my assistant) who've said they haven't finished a book since high school, but they couldn't put mine down. And I've been told it's a quick and easy read that's hard to put down (from the Small Press Dept Coordinator at B&N). So, that's always good to hear that from a professional! =)

I think, when it comes down to it, you can either relate to it or not.

As for my son, he hasn't read it, though he knows what it's about. And that he's in it. His last two girlfriends bought and read it. A couple of his friends bought it, read it, and passed it on to their girlfriends who read it and passed it on to their mothers. Which I think is cool, but a little weird, too. LOL

Of course, being a small publisher, it'd be nice if there was a little less "book sharing" and a little more book buying! ;-)

I can see the headline now: "Author Starves to Death, But Everyone Said They Loved Her Book!" LOL

As far as touching on the issue of knowing who you are and not getting wrapped up in a guy, I'm guilty as charged. My book is a cautionary tale of what happens when you do lose yourself in a guy. I could see it potentially opening up a dialogue between mothers and daughters about the folly of letting that happen. I don't mind being an object lesson. ;-) And I also think it could potentially help women (and their daughters) see that when a relationship ends, it's time to let go. Because if it were the right person, it would have worked out.


Of course, my book does have a happily-ever-after ending. I found the perfect mate for me. And that's what I wanted in my life. =)

3:16 PM  
Anonymous Kelly L Stone said...

Hi Annette,

Your book looks wonderful! I cannot wait to read it. What courage it took to write the book so closely on the heels on the actual event! I wish you the greatest success.

Best wishes,

4:33 PM  
Blogger Annette said...

Kelly, thanks for stopping by. =)

The memoir started as just journal entries until I read one to a friend who suggested I turn it into a book. When I started writing my story, I had no idea how it would end. I'm just glad it ended the way it did!

Ladies, you might remember (and in case you don't)--I interviewed Kelly on WOW about her book Time To Write. You can check it out at:

4:59 PM  
Blogger Alison said...

Yay :) It's time for the blog tour I've been eagerly waiting! I'm glad you share your story, your life, your craft, and your great honesty with all of your readers and all of the WOW community. I can't wait to find a copy of your work to read. Wishing you the best!

5:11 PM  
Blogger MP said...

Popping in to say hi and best wishes for the blog tour. Hope you find new readers and sell lots of books!!

5:29 PM  
Blogger Annette said...


If you are looking for the book, you can download a digital copy during the blog tour by sending an email to info [at] mybreakupstory [dot] com. There is an auto-responder set up that has the download link in it.

There is an excerpt in the media room at my book website:

Of course, there's the Search Inside feature at Amazon:

AND, just by leaving a comment, you are also entered to win a signed copy of the book. So, there are certainly plenty of ways to find it! =)

Who says I'm not marketing my chair-flattened arse off! LOL

I either deserve a shameless- self-promotion award...or a straight-jacket!

5:39 PM  
Blogger karen97 said...

Hi Annette,

I'm interested in how quickly after the break-up, you began writing emotional scenes in your manuscript. Did you do any re-writing after some amount of time had passed? If so, did some emotional distance improve the scene at all?

Karen G

10:29 PM  
Blogger Annette said...

Karen, I started journaling about the break-up a few days after it happened. I've never been consistent at journaling in my life--for whatever reason, I seem to do it when a relationship goes bad and ends, and then I start up again at the beginning of a relationship when I meet someone new.

But this time, within a week or so after The Break-Up, I decided to write it as a book (based on the suggestion of a friend). I never thought it would go anywhere. I didn't know how it would end. It was really just for me, something I could focus on--something to use to record what was happening, how I was feeling, who said what, etc.

Once I began writing it as a book, I did have to go back and craft a week's worth of journal entries into scenes, re-living the experience rather than writing it like a stream-of-consciousness journal dump.

Rewriting? Ohhhh yes. There was a lot of that. Mostly tightening. As an example, the scene I referred to in the interview was much longer. It took five hours to play out in real-time with extended weepy dialogue that was repetitive--both my ex and I said the same things to each other in so many different ways. Transferred onto the page, it was overkill. I sometimes wonder if I cut enough or too much.

And there was a LOT of cutting. After she read it, an editor at Simon & Schuster requested that I cut 50 pages out of the manuscript. No specific places, she just wanted it 50 pages shorter overall, so a lot of scenes ended up being harvested to drop the page count.

The editor and my agent also wanted to see more scenes with my son, so I probably cut 100 pages total just to get more of him in there and still hit that "50 pages less" mark that they wanted.

I cut shopping therapy scenes, several disastrous first dates from nightclubs to blind dates to My agent felt that the guy turnover was too much to keep track of because you never saw any of them again in the story after I sabotaged each date. It was too soon after the break-up for me to have been dating. And that part of the story in itself could probably have been a whole 'nuther book! LOL

I've had some reviews from readers who've said they felt like I left out things they wanted to know. But there really is only so much you can include unless you're writing a 900-page book.

As for emotional distance, it was an interesting balance I had to maintain when I was rewriting after some time had passed. I had to fight the urge to change things so I didn't sound so emotionally pathetic in the entire "Kevin and the Kubler Rossian Process" section. But, I decided to keep it authentic and messy and raw--like it really was.

Was it a good choice? Was it too much? I dunno. I've never read anything written that candidly before. But I wanted it to be real, so that was the way it had to be.

2:17 AM  
Blogger Krysten said...

Great interview! Love reading that you wanted to publish the book and not hold back--so important! Best of luck!

4:31 PM  
Blogger Annette said...

Marcia and Krysten, thanks for the well wishes! I'm looking forward to the rest of the tour! =)

11:06 AM  
OpenID bronzeword said...

Thank you for sharing. I can't imagine how you got through writing all the hard parts of this experience. I commend you.
Jo Ann Hernandez

7:44 PM  

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