Thursday, February 23, 2017

Interview with best selling author Whitney Dineen

Today I’m chatting with best-selling author Whitney Dineen about her newest novel, a mommy lit / women’s fiction titled Mimi Plus Two.

While attending the University of Illinois in Chicago, Whitney Dineen was discovered by a local modeling agent and began an unexpected career as a plus-size Ford model. She modeled in New York City before moving to Los Angeles with her husband.

During “The Hollywood Years,” Whitney was bitten by the writing bug and started creating characters that are inspired by strong women with a great sense of humor. Her first romantic comedy, She Sins at Midnight, won a silver medal in the 2015 Reader’s Favorite awards. Her second, The Reinvention of Mimi Finnegan, is a finalist in the 2016 RONE Awards, won a silver medal at the 2016 Reader’s Favorite Awards and won Honorable Mention at the London Book Festival. Her third chick-lit book, Mimi Plus Two, is causing all kinds of controversy and who the heck knows where it will land.

In addition to her love of chick-lit, Whitney has also written a series of adventure books for middle readers. The first two books in her series, Wilhelmina and the Willamette Wig Factory and Who the Heck is Harvey Stingle? are both available now. Book three, Beware of the Basement, is due to be released in the spring of 2017.

Whitney and her husband, Jimmy, have relocated to the beautiful Pacific Northwest to raise their children, chickens, and organic vegetables.

Welcome, Whitney. Please tell us about your current release.
Mimi Plus Two is the much anticipated follow up to my award-winning romantic comedy, The Reinvention of Mimi Finnegan. The Reinvention of Mimi Finnegan is lighthearted and upbeat. It’s quintessential chick lit. It also won and placed in several awards and had fans chomping at the bit for the continuation of Mimi’s story.

In Mimi Plus Two, the tone starts our light and funny but then Mimi winds up with postpartum depression about two-thirds into the book. WOW! I did not anticipate the backlash that followed. First of all, I guess I thought women understand postpartum depression more now than they did twenty years ago. I no longer think that’s the case. I guess if you haven’t lived through it, it’s a lunacy you just can’t wrap your head around.

I suffered through postpartum depression twice, for a full year each time. My goal was to convey just how crazy making the experience is. I total achieved my goal, but wasn’t prepared for women not finding it believable or for their anger at me mad that Mimi’s life hit a bump in the road.

When I was in the midst of my postpartum depression it was paramount for me not to let people know how unhinged I was. If they knew the depth of what I was going through then it would make it true. Much of my experience was spent desperately trying to keep my struggle quiet, even while I slid further and further down the rabbit hole.

I think this book is written with much humor in spite of postpartum depression. It’s just a little bit different from what my fans were expecting. I even put a video up on Youtube trying to explain my side of things. 

The reviews on this book are positively schizophrenic. Five stars and one stars abound! Before buying this book I would definitely recommend checking out the video and reading the reviews. In spite of all the drama, Mimi Plus Two was a runner up at the London Book Festival and was a finalist at the Reader’s Favorite Awards. So I guess it’s not all bad.

I can whole heartedly and unreservedly recommend The Reinvention of Mimi Finnegan. No scary boogeymen in the closet there, just pure fun. Then if you have the courage to venture into the land of postpartum with me, you’ll be prepared for what’s ahead. You do not have to read the first book to read the second. It’s a standalone as well and the continuation of the series.

What inspired you to write this book?
I wanted to continue Mimi’s story but I also wanted to shed some light on postpartum depression.

Excerpt from Mimi Plus Two:
While we’re on the subject of horrific body betrayals during pregnancy, I’d like to issue a warning: Not all gas is just gas so be careful. Sometimes, especially when you’re taking a prescription strength stool softener, this trapped air is travelling with a friend. If you forget and try to push it out don’t be surprised if you fill your pants.

I grill Renée on all the disgusting things yet to come and she assures me there are many. Hurray! I can look forward to hemorrhoids, acne that would put a teenager’s complexion to shame and excessive sweating. If that isn’t enough, there’s heartburn, leg cramps, and not being able to sleep for more than an hour at a time without having to go to the bathroom. Dear God, we’d better love the heck out of this baby as it’s destined to be an only child. Elliot is never going to want to touch me again when this one pops out. Oh, and about that, Renée assures me her fifty plus hour labor was atypical. Let the good times roll.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m working on book three of the Mimi Chronicles which goes back to light and funny mommy stuff. Its working title is Mini Mimis.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
My first romantic comedy, She Sins at Midnight, was published in 2014 so I guess I’ve been a “real” writer since then.

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’m a full-time writer, but I’m also a full-time mother to two young daughters, a full-time wife, laundress and housekeeper. I’m looking in to getting cloned.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I never know what my story is about when I start writing it. I’m as surprised as the reader with twists and turns as they show up. I guess I’m really more of a channeler than a writer.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a paleontologist until my mother ruined it by telling me I wouldn’t be able to wash my hair while I was out on a dig.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I hope I haven’t scared you away from reading my books! I think life and love are wild and ridiculously fun adventures that should enjoyed to their fullest and I do my best to write just like that. 


Thanks for joining me today, Whitney.

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