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Monday, May 11, 2009

Elizabeth Fournier, author of All Men are Cremated Equal, Launches her Blog Tour!

& Book Giveaway Comments Contest!

After she got over her dream of being a Solid Gold Dancer, Fournier promptly headed into the local funeral home and asked for a job, any job. She became the live-in night keeper which meant she resided in a trailer in the far rea
ches of a large, hilly cemetery and slept with a shotgun near her bed. It was the scariest summer of her life.

She is currently the voice of the autopsy exhibit in the forensic wing at the United States National Museum of Medicine and a full-time mortician. She is also a ballroom dance instructor at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. But she couldn't resist writing the story of her unusual method of dating that led her to the love of her life.

You can find out more about Elizabeth by visiting her website:

Book Giveaway Comments Contest!

If you received our Events Newsletter, remember, we are holding a contest to win a copy of Elizabeth's book, All Men are Cremated Equal: My 77 Blind Dates, to those that comment. So, grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair, and enjoy the chat, and share your thoughts, and comments, at the end.

All Men Are Cremated Equal: My 77 Blind Dates
By Elizabeth Fournier

Elizabeth chronicles her true life dating spree as a marriage-minded mortician in her mid-30's. Set off by her broken engagement, she enlists everyone in sight to set her up on blind dates in a passionate quest to meet just one really great guy. Armed with a 10-point list of dating criteria, skintight jeans, and flash cards on Nascar, football, and micro-breweries, she spends one full year doing the blind meet and greet. Names are changed to protect the rejected as she humorously dishes dot-com hotties, compulsive bloggers, and tattooed graduates of the Gene Simmons School of Dating. Bridget Jones would be proud of her American cousin.

We will randomly choose a winner from those who comment. Enjoy!

Interview by Jill Earl

WOW: Elizabeth, thank you so much for launching your blog tour with WOW! I know that our readers are interested in getting to know you, so let’s get right to it.

For many people, turning their dating experiences into a book for all to see would be intimidating, to say the least. Not only did you do that, but you wrote your book while you were a newlywed. Can you tell us about your book and what inspired you to write it?

All Men are Cremated Equal: My 77 Blind Dates is the memoir of a lovelorn mortician that captures the experience of being single, female and fast approaching 40, still longing to find “The One.”

I was freshly broken up with my fiancĂ©, and wasn’t in the market for yet another dead-end relationship. I made a list of the ten qualities I was looking for in a man and forwarded the list to my vast social network. I then ventured on 77 blind dates, letting friends act as matchmakers in the Portland and San Francisco Bay Area dating scene.

I take my readers along on the good dates (the sexy local candidate), the bad (the concert promoter who ended up bloodied), the utterly bizarre (the man who speaks in quotations), and the educational (the contractor who invites her along on a last-minute concrete pour). I chronicle the giddy anticipation of a first meeting, the sense of adventure as the night lingers on, and the challenge to remain optimistic when there were 55 dates down, and 22 more to go.

Throughout, I discuss my life in the funeral industry, from the workaday tasks, to the more unusual aspects of the business. My memoir describes how I balanced my social life (with the living) with my professional responsibilities (to the dead).

WOW: Looks like your life offers a new spin and perspective on the work-life balance issue! It’s not always easy, but you’ve figured out a way to make it work for you.

Now, with your completed book in hand, you made the decision to go the self-publishing route, as opposed to traditional publishing. Why?

ELIZABETH: Unfortunately the route was chose for me. I banged out my memoir and was gung-ho to have it picked up, published and purchased. The proposals sent out by my agent did receive decent feedback, but ultimately an offer was not to be. I thought that publishers would read the synopsis and opening chapters to see if I had a feel for idiom and a talent for crafting my story. To that scope, I did achieve something. Although every submission came back with a dismissal, it was apparent they had enjoyed reading my work.

But I knew that I was in fine company and that all would eventually work itself out. Robert Persig, author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was rejected 121 times; Louis L'Amour - 200 rejections. Deepak Chopra and Zane Grey were self-publishers. Life went on for them, didn’t it?

WOW: I had no idea that Persig and L’Amour had the number of rejections they did or that Chopra and Grey were self-published. That’s great inspiration for the rest of us to keep plugging along. Duly noted!

Can I just say that I LOVE your book’s title? All Men Are Cremated Equal is a delightful play on words, but alludes to one of your other occupations—mortician. How did you get into that field?

ELIZABETH: Comfort level, I guess. I spent a lot of time in funeral homes as a kid. Not because of my family in the business, but my family in caskets. Fourniers don’t exactly have the best longevity record.

At my tiny Catholic school (where most students lived with both parents), I stood out. Everyone knew my mother had died, and they all knew that when they suffered the loss of a family member, or even a pet, I was the person to talk with. I was the only death resource in the community of students. When I got into junior high, and when someone’s parent or sibling would die—anyone, really—I’d be the person they’d seek out. Everybody looked at me as their go-to girl for death.

The funeral industry seemed like such a natural life path, and I truly feel that it is my calling and my ministry.

WOW: It definitely appears that this industry found you! I think the best part is that you discerned what your natural gifts are, and went for the occupations that fulfilled your passion. Speaking of which, another occupation of yours is ballroom dance instructor. How long have you been at it and what got you into it?

ELIZABETH: I became an Arthur Murray dancer right out of college. There was an apprenticeship open at a funeral home in Portland that I had my eye on, but they didn’t hire me. The newspaper was the main job hunting source in the early 90’s and finding another mortuary position listed was bleak at best. I spied the dance instructor job and something clicked. I stared at my closet for quite a long time, figuring out what a ballroom dancer would wear. I finally dressed, made my way to the studio, and was hired after an hour of practicing the waltz and foxtrot. That was 16 years ago.

My dance partner, Scott, has been the Instructor of Ballroom Dance at Reed College since 1995, and I am presently his lovely assistant. Teaching students of this caliber of smarts is really riveting. They actually get into it. Not only do they catch on super fast, they want to know the expression and the origin of the dances.

Most dance steps are taught in segments, repeatedly walked through and then danced with music, and maybe three dances are taught to the group for the duration of their lessons. Not so with Reedies. We can teach more than basic box steps. They crave rhythm, style, and advanced techniques. It is a test for our teaching ability to answer all the questions their hungry minds need for nourishment. No more “the man is the frame; the lady is the window.” These kids are too cool for school.

WOW: Hearing about your ballroom background takes me back to the semester I took ballroom lessons when I was in college. I was far from being ‘Reedie cool’, but it was fun--eventually.

Now, do you have any writing advice to offer us?

ELIZABETH: Read aloud what you have written. Generally your ear is better than your eyes, and if you read it out loud you are much more likely to find dreadful sentences, terrible tenses, and other errors.

WOW: Great advice which I’ve found very effective in my own writing. Are there other genres you’d like to pursue in your writing? Or do you want to stick with nonfiction for now?

ELIZABETH: I love telling a true story. I love connected with people through something I’ve written, and being able to possibly make a difference in someone’s life through something I’ve personally experienced. When you read non-fiction, you're being exposed to the imagination of reality.

WOW: You’ve certainly connected with me and I think that’ll be the case with our readers, too. So, what’s next with you, Elizabeth? Can you share a bit of what you’re working on now?

ELIZABETH: I have been asked to start compiling my notes for another book. There is interest in my life as a small-town female mortician who lives where she works and brings her baby to work at the funeral home. I have years of funeral and cemetery experience that has been rather fascinating, and I am flattered and equally thrilled to move forward with my first draft.

I’m also doing book promotion. It’s a full-time job. And trying to get some sleep. Some weeks I hardly sleep. This week was like that, but I guess I’ll sleep when I’m dead.

WOW: (Laughs) Well, we hope you’ll get that much-needed sleep well before then! Elizabeth, again, it was a delight getting to know you! I can’t wait to get my own copy of your book! Good luck on the tour!

Want to join Elizabeth on her blog tour? Check out these dates and mark your calendar! You can also snag a copy of WOW's Events Calendar HERE.

Blog Tour Dates: Come and join the fun!

MAY 11, 2009 Monday
Elizabeth will be chatting with WOW! Women On Writing at The Muffin. Stop by and share your comments! One lucky commenter will win copy of Jan's book!

MAY 12, 2009 Tuesday
Elizabeth will be stopping by Carolyn Howard-Johnson's blog, The New Book Review. Stop by and hear what readers are saying about All Men Are Cremated Equal!

MAY 13, 2009 Wednesday
Elizabeth will be stopping by Cheryl Phillips' blog, The Daily Blonde, to share a few bits of advice she learned while on her blind date marathon! This will be a fun stop!

MAY 14, 2009 Thursday
Elizabeth will be stopping by Mom-e-Centric to give readers an insider's view on self-publishing. Mom-e-Centric will also be holding a book giveaway contest to those that comment!

MAY 15, 2009 Friday
Elizabeth will be stopping by Day-by-Day Writer for an exclusive interview on how she managed to write her memoir while working full time, and her journey through self-publishing and marketing. If you're an author, aspiring or established, this is not to miss!

MAY 18, 2009 Monday
Elizabeth will be stopping by TV Boyfriends to share some online dating stories! Stop by for the fun and enjoy a laugh!

MAY 20, 2009 Wednesday
Elizabeth stops by Mary Jo Campbell's blog, Writers Inspired, for a fun interview about writing, her job as a mortician, and being a newlywed. Not to miss!

MAY 21, 2009 Thursday
Elizabeth stops by Annette Fix' blog to talk about what it's like to capture an uncomfortable experience (like the worst blind date in history) with your writing. Elizabeth tells all today!

MAY 26, 2009 Tuesday
Elizabeth stops by a fascinating blog, Wedding Skulls, to chat about romance and death. This should be an interesting post!

MAY 27, 2009 Wednesday
Elizabeth stops by Stacie Connerty's blog, The Divine Miss Mommy, for a fun interview and review of All Men Are Cremated Equal.

June 8, 2009 Monday
Elizabeth stops by Sybil Baker's blog to chat about promoting a book without a publisher. This should be an interesting post! Sybil also reviews All Men Are Cremated Equal.

June 15, 2009 Monday
Elizabeth stops by Modern Single Momma's blog to chat about dating!

We also have several more dates to come, so be sure to check out our Events Calendar HERE.

Get involved!

We hope you are as excited about the tour as we are! Mark your calendar, save these dates, and join us for this truly unique and fascinating author blog tour.

If you have a blog or website and would like to participate in Elizabeth Fournier's blog tour, or schedule a tour of your own, please email Angela and Jodi at:

** Please feel free to copy any portion of this post.

Oh, be sure to comment on this post to enter in a drawing for a copy of Elizabeth's book All Men are Cremated Equal: My 77 Blind Dates.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Wonderful title, Elizabeth. And I admire your ability to do all that you do!

  3. Self- and small-publishing is the future of the business, as blogging appears to be the future of the news business. There are good and bad aspects on both sides (in both cases).

    Elizabeth, your book sounds great. It just goes to show the stagnation of traditional publishing that they're not willing to snap up a book that combines two of the hottest, best-selling genres: memoir and chick lit. Go figure.

  4. This book sounds like a wonderfully fun read! I've known several morticians and their range of personalities is huge. I'd love to read how you tackle this career type!

  5. Congratulations on self-publishing and writing such a unique book that twists your two experiences together. What a fantastic idea! And thank you for a very insightful interview. I'll be sure to follow you along on your book blog tour!

  6. When I received my WOW newsletter today it was the title of the book that intrigued me to pop over and read the interview. Great title and wonderful post. I would love to read this book... Elizabeth, good luck with the promotions and book tour.

  7. Elizabeth, it's great to hear that you set a goal and went forward with tenacity and zest! I'm glad you could find humor in going on 77blind dates; I cringe just thinking about it! But if you have a goal, you should absolutely be creative and figure out how to get the job done.

    I'm working on a memoir as well, so will be interested to hear how you went about getting it published and marketed. Best of luck to you on your blogging tour, I look forward to reading more!

  8. Elizabeth,
    I am wondering if you had to get permission from any of the men you wrote about to include them in your book? How does that work?

    Margo Dill

  9. That is a fabulous title. And I just went to Amazon to read the first chapter (or part of it) and am eager to read the rest, especially since it appears there is a happy ending! And given that I've probably been on more than 77 dates in the last several years, I have to believe there's hope!

  10. As a newly self published author myself I enjoyed the interview and wish you much success.

  11. Sounds fun! I'm wondering how long after all this happened did you decide to write the memoir. I love telling a true story, too, but wonder if I can recall enough details. Did it all come back to you or did you keep a notebook during that time? Good luck with your book!

  12. The title caught my interest. Your story kept it. Here's an idea for another book that will help with marketing this one...a how to book or speaking seminar from the "go to girl on grief and funerals." We've just lost many of our family, friends and pets and I spent hours looking for all things relating to death and dying for those left behind. Congradulations on the finished work.

  13. Sorry I got here a day late. Really enjoyed the interview. I think it's interesting that you only had 10 things on your list.

    I made a list and it had 65 things on my list. My first novel, which I, too, originally self-published, called the Magical Man List, was a fictional version of my search for my soul mate. I finally found mine as well and he was 63 out of 65 items on my list. So I HAD to marry him. Sounds like we had similar journeys.

    Check out my novel on my Web Site at to read an excerpt from The Magical Man List.By the way, after self-publishing, my novel was picked up by Cerridwen Press and published as an e-book and eventually will be printed again by Cerridwen Press. So self-publishing can be a first step. Good luck,

    Christie Walker Bos

  14. Anonymous12:35 PM

    Great sense of humor! Are you married, if not, why? If so how would/do yoou juggle being a wife, mortician, author? --Anne Marie Whitmore

  15. Hello Anne Marie -

    I live a strange life which means I have a wacky schedule and somehow it all falls into place. The greatest help is my darling, patient husband. His life is equally busy, but we focus on eachother and our baby daughter the most. I am type A, so that really helps the equation!

  16. Gayle, LK, LuAnn, Kimberly, Petula, Lara, AK, Mary Jane, and Pam -

    Thank you so very much for taking the time to leave a comment and be so supportive. I value your kind sentences and am happy to know you are you there in our world of books, cheering us on!

  17. Thank you for reading my interview, your interest in my book, and for your valuable question. I did not ask these men for permission to write about them. How I got around that was my theme that names have been changed to protect the rejected. I actually made the names up to match the occupation of my dates. Yep, that made me laugh out loud quite a bit.

    I am also not real descriptive about the guy. I keep him vague; I make the story of the date the focus. And no, I have not run across a
    sighting of any of these men at book signings, nor have received any e-mails.

    Also, I read your Judy Blume page a while back. Such fun memories. I was a huge fan of "Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing."

  18. The answer above was for Margo. Please excuse my brand new usage of this system!

  19. Hello Kerrie - Great questions.

    When I wrote All Men Are Cremated Equal: My 77 Blind Dates, I was newly married. After planning a wedding across the country in only five months, I decided I could do anything. So I promptly sat down at the keyboard after our return from New Jersey and cranked out my manuscript.

    I kept a journal which consisted of detailed e-mails to my father. It was his idea to keep notes, explain my dates to him, and ultimately write the book.

  20. Just reading your interview made me 1) want to pass your book onto a friend, 2) a bit more motivated to keep writing my own story, and 3) glad I'm already married. Thanks for having the guts to tell your story and to publish it yourself. And thanks for the inspiration.

  21. Hi Becky -

    Keep writing! You have a story to tell and I'm sure it's a good one. And do luxuriate in your happy marriage. They are hard to find.


  22. I've passed on the info about your book to a single friend of mine who was told a couple of years ago that she should pursue a career as a mortician or funeral director! So I'm sure you've got one more reader of your book.

  23. Hi Ladies! Thanks for your comments. We put all of your names into a hat and picked a winner for the book giveaway. Congratulations, LuAnn! I'll send you an email with the details. :)


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