When did you discover your love of writing?
When I was seven, my dad let me paint the inside of the closet. I could write anything I wanted. I literally saw the writing on the wall!
Why did you decide to make the leap from writing nonfiction to writing a novel?
The truth is, it was a bit manipulative. I so wanted to reach people who struggled with food but didn’t see it as an emotional occurrence. I figured if I could entertain them and keep them engaged in a fun, love caper, maybe through the character of Genie Burns, they would see the connection of food and emotional stirrings in a woman’s life, and that would, in turn, help tame food issues in their own lives.
Describe some of the similarities and differences between writing your memoir It Was Food vs. Me…and I Won and writing your women’s fiction novel Surprise Me!.
The similarity is the underlying message: It’s not about the food. Writing the memoir was very personal, at times embarrassing, but I knew I had to be honest in order to gain a reader’s trust and ignite their hope to get past it. Writing the novel was pure fun, though certainly, Genie and I have a ton in common!
What inspired you to write Surprise Me!?
The story, as I said, was a means to convey a message. But both the characters and relationships in Surprise Me! were inspired by some of my own experiences. I guess you could say that Genie and I both came a long way.
What advice do you have for people who want to stop emotional eating and have a healthy relationship with food?
I’m so happy you asked the question in that way. Isn’t it so interesting that we talk about our “relationship” with food? I always said, “I want a normal relationship with food.” The reason I don’t have the same power struggles with food is that I demoted it from relationship to object. What I mean is that I work hard to face my emotions upfront so that food doesn’t “attack,” which is what it used to do before I made the connection. The real relationships and feelings in my life are faced very honestly, which calms food way down. My fears, insecurities, flaws, passions, goals, failures and successes… they go beyond food, diet, and weight loss. But I use cravings and food moments to feed me information about what’s going on around me. There’s a total correlation, and it’s cool.
What message do you hope readers will get from your novel?
I hope the message is that if we are out of control with food or a person, it’s because we’re not making the right choices, given who we are and what we need. For food, we can allow our cravings and still maintain our best weight. As far as our eating extravaganzas, food gets loud when we don’t listen to our feelings. A crazy craving is our truth screaming at us… Listen to me or I’ll make you eat more! I hope the novel tells that story and explains how to live differently. I call it a novel/diet.
What are you working on now?
A few things. I’ve developed a website, authornancygoodman.com, inviting members to join and be part of my “living room” which is a chat room type thing for me to connect with my readers. I want them to have a “safe” place to go to process this and work through it. I’m there every day, available to talk, and they can connect with each other. I’m also working on a program for kids to teach the same messages through fun. And I am working on the sequel to the novel.
Is there anything else you would like readers to know about you or your books?
Yes. How do I express this without sounding like I can’t take criticism? Here goes: If you get mad at my writing, or you think my book is lame, I have to learn to be okay with that since I know I’m not for everyone. BUT, if something in my book riles you, I ask you to look a bit deeper, challenge your reaction and see what it is I’ve tapped into.
It’s possible that when you start to feel uncomfortable, you distract with food and that’s why you need it. Then you blame it for your problems. In that case, my words would pose a threat. Without realizing it, food was that decoy for me, too. But I found out that facing those unpleasant feelings has an enormous upside. You learn you can survive them! Better than that, all of our creative potential is held right there. I promise, those nasty feelings you try and avoid are your quickest road to the best, strongest, and least fearful version of who you are and who you will become. That’s what I want you to know.
Thank you, Nancy!