The Romance Diet by Destiny Allison: Blog Tour Launch and Book Giveaway

Monday, January 11, 2016
It happens slowly over time—the fear of speaking up leads us to be silent more and more, and we drown our insecurities with the comfort of food far too often.
The Romance Diet explores the root of these insecurities, what causes us to hold in our words and emotions, and explores the effects of these actions on our personal relationships.

Brave, raw, and unflinchingly honest, this book is a weight loss journey, a love story, a heart beating loudly on the page. Every day we battle against something—injustice, our spouses, our weight. Seldom do we acknowledge the real wars we wage. Repressing feelings and silencing our voices, we suffer under the surface, attributing emotional distress and unwanted pounds to the inescapable effects of hormones or age.

But weight gain, anxiety, and marital difficulties aren't always so easy to explain.

In her poignant and touching memoir, Allison doesn't offer recipes, exercise tips, or advice. Instead, she shows us how to stand up, express what we want, and develop empathy for ourselves and the people we love. In doing so, she provides invaluable insight for those seeking to lose weight, save a marriage, or make a significant life change.

Includes a Readers Guide.

Paperback: 110 Pages
Genre: Memoir
Publisher: Sunstone Press (January 18, 2016)
ISBN-10: 1632930900
ISBN-13: 978-1632930903

The Romance Diet is available as an e-book and paperback at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound.

Book Giveaway Contest:
To win a copy of The Romance Diet please enter using the Rafflecopter form at the bottom of this post. The giveaway contest closes Sunday, January 17th at 11:59 AM EST. We will announce the winner the same day in the Rafflecopter widget. Good luck!

About the Author:
Destiny Allison was a professional and award-winning sculptor. Her work is collected by individuals, civic entities, and corporations worldwide. When an injury required her to re-envision her life, Allison did what she always does. She applied her explosive creativity and dog-with-a-bone tenacity to new endeavors.

In 2011 she was named Santa Fe Business Woman of the Year. Her community building efforts and innovative business model transformed a bankrupt shopping center into a thriving community and commercial center.

In 2012 she published her first book, Shaping Destiny: A quest for meaning in art and life. The book won best independent non-fiction/memoir in the 2013 Global Book Awards.

Since then, she has published two novels and opened a general store.

Allison believes that one’s life is one’s greatest work of art. Hence, she flows freely between mediums. Unafraid to make mistakes and always passionate, she lives in Santa Fe, NM.

Facebook: Destiny Allison Books
Twitter: sfsculptor

-----Interview by Renee Roberson

WOW: Destiny, this is your third time touring with us. Welcome back! Can you share with us the story of how the events that take place in The Romance Diet first unfolded?

Destiny: I had been a steel sculptor, strong and successful. Then my back failed and forced me to give up my career and identity. Between the time of the injury and the start of the book, I gained a ton of weight. The book begins with a trip to the doctor to have the injury diagnosed. While there, I demanded a thyroid test because I didn’t believe the weight gain was my fault. I wanted a magic pill that would give me back my life. Turns out, no pill that would work for me. My injury was severe and permanent. It could be managed, but I couldn’t be a sculptor again. My thyroid was fine, but the blood tests revealed another problem. I had to get that problem under control and lose the weight or I risked my life, but I was too sad to deal with it. My husband suggested we do it together and that is the beginning of the book.

WOW: How long did it take you to write the book, from the first drafts to the revisions?

Destiny: I work fast and this story was begging to be told. It took three months to write and another two to revise.

WOW: In between writing your first book, Shaping Destiny, you penned two dystopian novels. Was it difficult to switch gears back to non-fiction for The Romance Diet?

Destiny: Not really. Non-fiction is a natural form for me. The novels taught me a lot and the fiction techniques improved my non-fiction significantly. Now, my non-fiction reads more like a novel and I think readers will enjoy it more.

WOW: The Romance Diet is a very personal—yet powerful—memoir. What was your husband Steve's reaction when you told him you had decided to write about the events surrounding your weight loss journey? Was he apprehensive or supportive?

Destiny: My husband actually suggested that I write this story. He has been amazing and has supported it all the way through. What’s interesting is how much the book has helped our marriage. When we were able to sit back and digest our experiences through the pages of the book, things we’d discussed previously really hit home. For example, when I was getting ready to send out the advance review copies to various magazines and review sites, he came to me and said, “I’ve been thinking and I realized I love you more than my ego.” I asked him to clarify and he said, “All my life, I’ve been taught to be a man. A provider. A protector. To do all the stuff I do. Now, I’m realizing that if I’m going to really support you and this book, if you’re going to be truly equal in this relationship, I have to give up my identity. I have to create a new one that makes room for you.”

Wow. Never saw that coming. Since then, he’s really working on his side of things and it’s been incredible for both of us.

WOW: That's so great to hear! And kudos to him for really listening to what you had to say. What was the hardest chapter to write in the book?

Destiny: The hardest chapter, and this is a spoiler, was writing about getting arrested. All the shame, guilt, and fear came to the surface in that moment and putting it on the page in a way that conveyed the experience made me relive it. That was awful and I still get butterflies in my stomach thinking about people reading it. I’ve learned a lot, but there’s still some residual shame.

WOW: I'm going to steal this one from the discussion questions in the Readers Guide at the back of the book. Based on the events described in The Romance Diet, what did you learn about your relationship with food?

Destiny: I learned that I have to care about it. Not just the caloric or cholesterol content, but the shopping and preparation, the flavors and textures. Food is a wonderful metaphor for how we love ourselves and choose our lives. I was eating what was placed before me. Now, I’m actively engaged.

WOW: What advice would you give to writer conflicted about sharing a revealing story through the pages of a memoir?

Don’t let fear rule you.

Memoir writers do something few are able to do. They release us from our personal hell and remind us we’re not alone. We let people become voyeurs into our lives so they are empowered to change their own. If we’re not willing to share the hard stuff, we’re not doing our job. It’s okay to fictionalize a name and blur some of the details to disguise someone in our story, but we can’t let ourselves off the hook. Otherwise, there’s no point.

WOW: You have one sentence to describe what The Romance Diet is about. Go!

Destiny: The Romance Diet is a memoir that probes the depths of marriage, self-destructive behaviors, and toxic cultural norms.

WOW: In addition to being an author, you've also proven yourself quite adept in business. Has the discipline you've learned in writing also helped you in your retail ventures?

Destiny: I’ve always said art is business and business is art. The trick to both of them, if there is one, is to be honest, genuine, and generous. If you’re not relevant, if your story doesn’t resonate, you’re dead before you ever get off the ground.

WOW: You wrote on your blog that you've only recently started considering yourself an activist? Can you expound upon that thought for us?

I never wanted to rock the boat in typical activist fashion. What I’ve realized as a result of The Romance Diet is that awareness is often not enough. I’ve been aware of key social issues most of my life. That awareness didn’t stop me from perpetuating ingrained behaviors that are destructive to me and the people I love. Knowing that equality is my right didn’t teach me how to be equal. Expecting equality and not knowing how to be equal created a huge identity crisis for me. I think most of this country is in the throes of a similar identity crisis. Whether it is tied to gender, race, religion, or sexual orientation, the crisis takes root in legislation that changed expectations without teaching people how to behave differently or supporting them through that change.

How is an action. I wanted to be equal, but I didn’t act equal. I wanted my husband to be sensitive to my needs, but I wasn’t sensitive to him. I didn’t understand that he was equally imprisoned by a different set of societal expectations. Until I did, nothing between us could change.

Consequently, I’m no longer calling myself a feminist. I prefer to use the word empathist because when you really get down to it, no one is equal yet.

Laws are great, but you can’t legislate identity or behavior. It is in the microcosm of daily life that behaviors change and new identities are forged. My activism is along these lines. I don’t see myself lobbying or protesting. Instead, my goal is to educate and train individuals, couples, and communities to recognize the systemic cultural norms that are poisoning them and to develop empathy for themselves and others. Without empathy, and its resulting behavioral changes, we will never be whole.

WOW: I can't wait for everyone else to check out the book. It created a self-awareness in me that I didn't even know was there. Good luck with all your future endeavors!

----------Blog Tour Dates

Monday, January 11 (today!) @ The Muffin
Stop by for an interview with Destiny and enter to win a copy of The Romance Diet.

Tuesday, January 12 @ Giving Voice to Your Story
Author Destiny Allison discusses how she found the courage to write her story.

Thursday, January 14 @ The Unfaithful Widow
Author Barbara Barth reviews The Romance Diet.

Monday, January 18 @ Giving Voice to Your Story
Everyone revises differently. Read about Destiny Allison’s process in this guest post.

Tuesday, January 19 @ Building Bookshelves
Learn more about Destiny Allison in this author interview.

Wednesday, January 20 @ Create Write Now
Most women struggle with body image and have difficulty loving the person they see in the mirror. Hear Destiny Allison’s personal story.

Friday, January 22 @ Memoir Writer’s Journey

Destiny Allison pens an enlightening post on cultural norms and how they affect women’s self-esteem. Plus, Kathy Pooler reviews The Romance Diet.

Monday, January 25 @ Renee’s Pages
Renee her thoughts about The Romance Diet in this book review.

Wednesday, January 27 @ Sherrey Meyer, The Writer
Have you ever felt invisible? Destiny Allison shares her own personal experience with it and the role it played in The Romance Diet.

Friday, January 29 @ Puddletown Reviews
Sherrey Meyer reviews The Romance Diet on her book blog.

Thursday, Feb. 4 @ Lisa M. Buske
The long-term effects of trauma is a theme in The Romance Diet. Destiny Allison tells her story.

Friday, February 5 @ Books & Such
Check out this review of The Romance Diet.

***** Book Giveaway Contest *****

Enter to win a copy of The Romance Diet! Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. We will announce a winner in the Rafflecopter widget on Monday, January 18th!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!


Bookie said...

This book sounds great and might make a good choice for my book club. I would like to win the first copy to check it out first!

Angela Mackintosh said...

Thank you for this inspiring interview, ladies! Destiny, I really like the term "empathist" and I agree it's such an important trait to have. I'm looking forward to reading your book! I just ordered a copy. :)

Destiny Allison said...

Thanks Bookie and Angela! Appreciate your comments and support. I hope you enjoy the book, Angela, and hope you will leave a review. I love to hear what people think. Bookie, if you don't win this copy, there is a giveaway on Goodreads that goes until January 18. Also, I love working with book clubs. If you don't win a copy, let me know via Goodreads and I'll see what I can do to let you check the book out for your club.

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