Today’s special guest is Destiny Allison who is chatting with me about her fourth book, a memoir titled The Romance Diet: Body Image and the Wars We Wage on Ourselves.
Destiny Allison is an award winning sculptor and author. The Romance Diet: Body Image and the Wars We Wage on Ourselves, is her fourth book and due for release in January 2016. Other books include Shaping Destiny: A quest for meaning in art and life, and two novels, Pipe Dreams and Bitterroot. She currently lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico with her loving husband and rambunctious dogs.
Welcome, Destiny. Please tell us about your current release.
The Romance Diet is a love story and a weight loss journey. After an injury forced me to give up my art career, I gained a ton of weight. This new book chronicles the year my husband and I spent losing it. Together, we dropped 120 pounds. As we ramped up our efforts, we discovered much we didn’t know about ourselves and each other. To get physically and emotionally healthy, we had to go through some pretty hard stuff. In the book, I share our story. This is not a diet book. There are no recipes or exercise tips. Instead, The Romance Diet reveals a loving marriage on the rocks and sheds light on why good relationships can sour over time.
What inspired you to write this book?
Our journey was fun, romantic, and really hard at times. What we learned changed our lives in more ways than one. We decided our story needed to be told because it might help other couples. My husband and I are both deeply vested in women’s equality and yet we both grew up in a world that trained us to behave in certain ways that ensure women will never be equal. These behaviors are seemingly insignificant and part of the fabric of most lives. We seldom recognize them for what they are and, if we do, we don’t know how to talk about them. By telling our story, we hope others will look at their own lives in a new way. That can help them make some changes without suffering as much pain.
Excerpt from The Romance Diet:
On the drive back from a buying trip, drained from yet another fight, I tried again.
“I love you and this is killing me,” I began.
Steve’s hands tightened on the steering wheel and he threw me a sharp look. Deep shadows clung to the hollows beneath his eyes. A muscle ticked in his jaw. “It’s killing me, too.”
“I know.” The fingers of his free hand intertwined with mine and I squeezed them. “Steve, I don’t know how to explain in a way that will let you hear me, but I need to matter.”
He swallowed and let out a huff of air. “Honey, you do matter.”
“No, I don’t. You make every decision. You—”
“What do you mean I make every decision? You make every decision!”
“Don’t yell. I’m trying to talk. We need to talk.”
“I’m not yelling.”
“Yes, you are. But I don’t want to go there. You do make every decision. You decide where we eat when we go out, which movie we see, what car we drive home.”
“Destiny, that’s not true. I always ask you what you want to do.”
That was true. He did ask, but I knew in my heart that he decided our lives. I just didn’t know how to explain it.
Out the window, spindly Ponderosas stood like sentries in a yellow meadow. Behind it, the forest thickened, blotting out the sky. The late morning sun hurt my eyes. “Okay,” I sighed. “Never mind.”
To preview the first three chapters, click here.
What exciting story are you working on next?
Right now, I’m working with two professional therapists on The Romance Diet Cookbook: Recipes for Healthy Relationships. The Romance Diet is a memoir and it has a readers guide at the end, but I felt that a workbook for couples and communities might make it easier for people to change everyday behaviors that hurt them and the people they love. I’m hoping to release it this summer.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I started writing as a child and was first published at age nine. Then, I wrote poetry, but I always considered myself a writer. Writing was my first love.
Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I don’t write full time. I own a few businesses and they pay the bills. I write on my days off unless I’m really in the meat of a story. Then, I write as often as I can. Fortunately, I have great staff and a really supportive husband. My kids are grown so it’s now easier to find the time.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I talk while I type, saying the words aloud. It helps the words flow, but it’s kind of funny watching me mumble while I work. I get teased about it sometimes.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I always wanted to be a writer. In my twenties, I got sidetracked and became a professional sculptor. Now, I split my time between writing and my businesses, but I still want to be a writer and one day I will write full time.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I think life happens in chapters. We get caught up in one phase and then life throws us a curve. All of sudden we’re not who we thought we were. Marriage and kids do this. Loss of a job or a spouse can too. As a result, we’re always in the process of creating ourselves. Our lives are our greatest work of art and my personal mantra is “Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and show your passion.” This theme, along with the importance of finding and using your voice runs throughout all my books.
Thanks, Destiny! Happy writing!