Lately there has been an awful lot in the press and media about “plus sized” women and their fashion dilemmas as well as a look at the other end of the spectrum, the size zero model. Whilst the debate continues, it’s refreshing to find a fab novel about some plus sized women who are basically having a good time. The message it brings is about self – acceptance for your body size (fat or thin) and not being afraid to show the world who you are. It is definitely a book to put on your summer reading list! Without further ado, come and meet lovely author Sarah..
Hi! I’m Sarah Clark, and I’m a freelance beauty, health and lifestyle writer with a penchant for writing books. I’m also plus sized – or in other words, fat. I live in Suffolk with my husband, Andy, and when I’m not writing, I’m quite often to be found passing the time of day on Twitter or Facebook. Oops.
Your 2nd book, “Viva Voluptuous”, is a novel about plus sized women who are basically having a good time – there’s a bit of rejection & heartache, a bit of sex, a lot of wine, a few flash mobs, the odd night out dressed up in burlesque gear at a gay bar in Brighton! The characters are real and engaging, the storyline is lighthearted whilst still covering some contemporary issues. Where did you get inspiration from to write this novel?
The inspiration came from my life, the lives of my friends and from a conversation I had with a friend online a few years ago about the way fat women were represented in the media as miserable slobs who rarely did anything else other than eat, were a bit thick, couldn’t get boyfriends and led really quite sad and pathetic lives. That didn’t sound like me! I said that I wished there was a fat super heroine who could sweep in and change the world. There wasn’t one – so I invented Ellie.
This story must have been a rollercoaster to write with its fun parts and its emotionally draining parts – one reviewer has said that “this book will resonate with those who ever felt the need to diet in order to date, to get that job, or to fit in in general”.Which parts of the book did you find most challenging to write and which parts have you enjoyed writing about the most?
I found some of the more emotional parts draining as I drew on experiences of myself and other women I knew who had been struggling with body image and eating disorders for years. I was very clear that I didn’t want the book to be a pity party for obesity, but at the same time I felt it would have been unrealistic to portray the life of a fat woman as being free from any kind of issues; that’s just not the case in the world we live in. There’s so much pressure on women to look and be perfect that if you’ve made a decision not to follow the rules, you’re going to get slated (look at Tess Holliday for example). It was great fun writing flash mob scenes, and parts of the book where Ellie and the girls were really having a good time. I loved imagining the festivals and celeb interviews, and the sex scenes were fun to write too! I actually wrote the book in 2012 when all the 50 shades of Grey hype was going a bit mad, and I wanted to make my sexy scenes more realistic, so I tried to write them as it is sometimes. You know how it is – you do things that don’t really work and just make you giggle, you feel a bit daft, you forget where you put the condoms in the heat of the moment, that sort of thing. They were fun to do, though.
You are a freelance writer, editor and blogger too – in fact your first book, “Gorgeously Full Fat” was based on autobiographical blog posts and anecdotes. Did you enjoy writing stories as a child?
I really did, yes, and I was always doing it until I got to my teens when it wasn’t really cool to sit in your bedroom with a second hand typewriter making up stories.
Have you always wanted to pursue a career in writing or did you have other ambitions as a child?
I had a few ambitions job wise when I was younger; I wanted to be a surgeon because I was obsessed with the body and how it worked, then by secondary school I wanted to be either a fashion designer, writer or a lawyer. I actually used to produce a class magazine called ‘Girl’s Own’ when I was in junior school. I gave up wanting to be a surgeon when I realised that I didn’t like the sight of blood. I spent a while thinking maybe law would work for me, working in the court service and Trading Standards, and even went as far as to do an ILEX Paralegal Qualification. But in 2000 I started working as a writer for a beauty magazine, after spending time writing endless articles for start up websites when everyone thought having a website made you rich – and I was hooked. Now I write about health and beauty, feeding my obsession with the body and all its functions, and about law on the odd occasion, which covers the legal aspect. I also write about granite, driveways and paving, sometimes, which never really fitted into my plan! Never quite got to grips with fashion writing though.
Have you got plans to write other novels or books?
Yes, I’d love to do a sequel to Viva Voluptuous if I can find a publisher, and I have countless other book ideas but I never seem to get around to them!
What sort of book genre do you like reading? Favourite books or authors?
I love a bit of women’s fiction, and especially enjoy anything by Rowan Coleman, Lindsey Kelk and JoJo Moyes. My favourite book of all time is probably Rebecca by Daphne De Maurier. I wish I’d written that book! I’ve also started getting more into thrillers; I like the supernatural ones and have recently read Biblical by Christopher Galt, and The Three by Sarah Lotz. I also have a personal development book obsession. I bought e-Cubed by Pam Grout and I now have to work out how to make the universe bend in my favour…
I love your cheeky book cover! Who came up with the idea?
Me! I chose the cover from a stock photo website and the publisher liked it so we went with it. I wanted something that not only reflected the books and the story, but would also attract attention…
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
I live in leggings because I work from home and I’m just way too lazy to dress up. I like wearing unusual tops and last year it was all about finding loud, bright skater dresses to wear over the top. I wear boots in winter, and in summer I’d love to say I wear something designer and elegant but I generally wear flats unless I’m at a posh do. I have one very old pair of Jimmy Choo sandals but they only get taken out of their box for weddings and parties…
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?
I love the Joe Brown’s range from Simply Be, and I’m also buying more from places like ASOS Curve and Pink Clove these days. I buy most of my clothes online as I’m a size 22 and apparently don’t exist on the high street!
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?
Oooh tricky one. I want to find a perfect pair of jeans; but don’t we all? I’ve got a posh wedding to go to in May so I’ll soon be scouring online to see if I can find something that looks elegant and not frumpy in my size. I actually got my own wedding outfit from Simply Be in 2013, because unless I wanted to pay the price of a deposit on a small house to have a dress made, or take a chance on a Chinese sweatshop, there really were very few options for me. I’d LOVE to design a plus size fashion range but I wouldn’t know where to start.
Boots or Shoes?
Boots in winter as they look good with leggings. Shoes in the the summer…depends on my mood really,
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers of the blog can learn more about you and your novels.
Gorgeously Full Fat: http://www.gorgeouslyfullfat.com/ – https://www.facebook.com/GorgeouslyFullFat – https://twitter.com/GorgeousFullFat
The Word Boutique (copywriting) http://www.thewordboutique.org
My books: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sarah-Clark/e/B00EQ1JBLI
Thanks for speaking to us today Sarah – I really enjoyed reading about Ellie – it was a refreshing and fun read. Viva Voluptuous – got your copy yet readers?
All photos have been published with kind permission from Sarah Clark.