Author Interview: The Scoop on Randy Susan Meyers

by Veronica Vivona

Randy Susan Meyers is an author who has written many novels including “The Widow of Wall Street,” “19 Myths About Cheating,” and now, “Waisted.” We got our hands on an copy of “Waisted.” Here’s what we thought of it:

Review of “Waisted” by Randy Susan Meyers.

“Waisted” by Randy Susan Meyers touches on many feelings that women regularly feel about their bodies. In a world that continuously pressures women to be thin (which usually means extremely thin) and beautiful (which usually means you should look like you’ve been photoshopped), women have a lot of stress and unrealistic expectations of themselves. This novel is a must-read for any woman who has ever struggled with her self-confidence when it comes to her weight.

The story follows two characters who think they are going to be part of a life-changing opportunity: They’re going to lose the weight they are so incredibly worried about through an awesome program. The only problem is, everything is being filmed for a documentary which makes it not about losing weight, but about making good TV. The women become even more obsessed with their weight, making them go in an entirely new direction.

This novel shows that women are under a ton of pressure to be small and slim, regardless to whatever else they have going on in their lives. It shows that no matter how successful a woman might be, there’s still this pressure to be slim. “Waisted” by Randy Susan Meyers demonstrates that not only how unhealthy it is to be obsessed with your weight, but how far you’ll go if you’re pushed. It’s an intriguing story told with tons of passion through a great perspective.  

Q&A With Randy Susan Meyers

We had a chance to talk with the author herself after reading her novel! Here’s what she had to say:

Tell us about yourself! Who are you and how did you end up where you are now?
Presently I’m lucky enough to write full time (and teach writing part-time). Both are the best jobs I’ve ever had—though every job in my past, and there have been dozens, brought me to this point. Our writer’s code, written into our secret writer club rules, tries to convince us that day jobs stand between us and a published novel. I understand. For years, I thought if only and when and someday. And yes, working one, two, three jobs at a time—while being a single mother— took a big bite out of what might have been a faster writing track, but slogging through, learning at, loving, and hating my many jobs formed and hold up my novels: The bosses I despised (especially them), the coworkers who became family, the ones who turned my stomach, those I supervised, fired, hired, found cheating, using drugs, selling drugs . . . they gave me worlds.  The clients. The patrons. Here’s to all my jobs from bartending to tracking criminals: they formed me.

Your upcoming novel is called “Waisted.” What is it about?
In “Waisted,” seven weight-obsessed women chosen for a documentary about body image—an endeavor that promises healing—find themselves on lockdown at a hardcore reality show run by punishing, fat-shaming filmmakers.

The story is told by Alice and Daphne: both successful working mothers, both accomplished and seemingly steady, but they harbor the same secret: obsession with their weight overshadows concerns about their children, husbands, work—and everything else of importance in their lives. Scales terrify them. And thus, their journey begins

Why were you inspired to write “Waisted?”
When I was a child, my mother hid everything sweet and delicious in the large soup pot she kept on top of the tallest cabinet in the kitchen. Thus, my sister and I, at the tender ages of perhaps five and eight, learned to be mountain climbers. (Only recently did I consider that maybe Mom was hiding the cookies from herself as well as us.) So, naturally, I became obsessed with food and weight to the point where, secretly, it ruled my life.

You have written other books too! Can you tell us about your writing style and what type of books you like to write?
I like to write past the fat and muscle to the bone of honesty—often in the area of domestic drama, though I’ve learned that reaching deep (especially in the family arena) isn’t always comfortable. (“My daughters will read this!!” “My husband will think I’m portraying him!!!”) But I push myself to write with a knife held to my own throat, so that my work will hold as much deep-down-true inside-thoughts as possible. And then I like to marry a gotta-know-plot to the truest of characters.
 
My favorite books, the ones I return to time and again, are with written with enough grit to have the ‘yes, I recognize myself’ moments and emotional truth—which is very different than the truth of events.

You say you live by these words: “Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.” (– Gustave Flaubert.) Why does that mean so much to you?
When I was young (and bad boys were exciting, yada, yada, yada . . .) drama made up a large piece of my life and the dramatic sad songs were always the ones calling to me. Now I know I can use that past drama to fill many books, but only if my life is calm and nourishing. More than anything, I have—and am thrilled to have—a man who brings joyful songs to mind.  

Can you tell us a bit about your writing process and how you create your novels?
I use a soothing how-to-structure-a-novel-with-good-bones technique (that I also teach at Grub Street in Boston and Writer in Progress, in Northampton). Why soothing? Because it’s like eating an elephant one step at a time. Once I have all my bones in place, then I can go wild with the fat, muscle, and sinew.

I write daily—though the what of what I write depends on where I am in my current projects.

What has been the biggest struggle for you as a writer?
Shutting off my mind. Writing a book—every stage—takes me over. Shutting the computer can be hard; working less than seven days a week is almost impossible—and none of that is good for me. Also, ideas for new books leap around like unsupervised toddlers and I must corral them into a place where I’ll someday remember them.

Is there a fun fact about yourself that might surprise our readers if you were to share it with them?
When I was a camp counselor, I played the part of Adelaide in a staff production of Guys and Dolls. I have an execrable singing voice—thus, if you know the play, this part was perfect for me (a stripper who belts out songs with an awful screech).

What advice would you give to struggling writers out there who are trying to accomplish their dreams?
Never give up. I published my first novel at 57—after years of being too busy to follow my dream (working 2 jobs and being a single mother). Then after the years writing a number of “practice” books and after seeking the right agent (after missteps), when I finally found the right one, she sold my debut in eight days and then it became a Target Book Club pick for the country. Sometimes the road is swift and incredible—but very few writers are truly an “overnight successes.”

What do you want readers to gain the most from your book?
Most of all, I want women to realize that we’re valuable just as we are. Being defined by the critical eyes of others is a recipe for unhappiness. The world is made up of thousands of shapes and sizes; we must all avoid trying to fit into an impossible set of standards—one often made by Photoshop. Our façade shouldn’t rule or define us.

Do you have any final words of wisdom that you would like to share with our readers?
Smart is beautiful. Kindness carries the day. Empathy is a trait to venerate.

“Waisted” by Randy Susan Meyers will be available wherever books are sold starting May 21st, 2019.

waisted

To learn more about Randy Susan Meyers, check out her website and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

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