Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Results Not Typical by Catherine Ryan Howard

Today I am proud to be part of the blog tour for Results Not Typical by Catherine Ryan Howard. I have invited Catherine onto my blog for an interview and she has also kindly donated some copies of her book for a giveaway (please see at the bottom for the details).

Here is the full blurb for Results Not Typical, followed by my interview with Catherine:
The Devil Wears Prada meets Weightwatchers and chick-lit meets corporate satire in the debut novel from Catherine Ryan Howard, author of the bestselling memoir Mousetrapped: A Year and A Bit in Orlando, Florida. Through their Ultimate Weight Loss Diet Solution Zone System, Slimmit International Global Incorporated claim they’re making the world a more attractive place one fatty at a time. Their slogans “Where You’re Fat and We Know It!” and “Where the Fat IS Your Fault!” are recognised around the globe, the counter in the lobby says five million slimmed and their share price is as high as their energy levels. But today the theft of their latest revolutionary product, Lipid Loser, will threaten to expose the real secret behind Slimmit’s success...The race is on to retrieve Lipid Loser and save Slimmit from total disaster. If their secrets get out, their competitors will put them out of business. If the government finds out, they’ll all go to jail. And if their clients find out… Well, as Slimmit’s Slimming Specialists know all too well, there’s only one thing worse than a hungry, sugar-crazed, carb addict – and that’s an angry one. Will the secret behind Slimmit’s success survive the day, or will their long-suffering slimmers finally discover the truth? Available now in paperback and e-book editions.

Hello Catherine and welcome to Ramblings of a Rusty Writer
Congratulations on publishing your first novel, Results Not Typical. What inspired you to write this story?

“Inspired” might be the wrong word! I’d always wanted to write a corporate satire, as that’s a kind of book I really enjoy reading. I also think that any environment which unconditionally accepts what otherwise would be considered lunacy (I once worked for an American company that had us all open “emotional bank accounts” and – it gets worse – make deposits in each other’s accounts as we saw fit) is ripe for mockery. In September 2009 I joined this scary cult-like weight loss clinic, and what I witnessed there/was subjected to/was traumatised forever by gave me an idea: a corporate satire set at an evil weight loss company.

Could you summarise Results Not Typical for us in only five words?

No, but I can do six: The Devil Wears Prada meets WeightWatchers.

Do you draw on personal experiences when you are creating your characters and plot lines?

Not so much for characters, because nearly all of the characters in Results have an air of pantomime villain about them. However I definitely drew on the odd WeightWatchers meeting I’ve attended and crazy diet book I’ve read for the plot. There’s one scene where the, ahem, “Fat Club” leader is describing how to make something she’s calling a pizza even though it’s as much pizza as a chair is by using a wholewheat pitta bread, tomato purée, a couple of button mushrooms and a dessert spoon of low-cal grated cheese. That sort of thing – being encouraged to go to extreme lengths to make tasteless substitutes for fatty food instead of just, hey, a radical idea, just eating healthy food – definitely comes from my own personal experience with these people!

Your novel is all about a slimming company which leads to a very important question: What do you eat and drink while you are writing?

Coffee and calories. Repeat as required.

You have published three non-fiction books in the past. Could you describe Mousetrapped, Backpacked and Self-Printed for us in five words each too?

Catherine signing copies of 'Mousetrapped'
Mousetrapped: Disney + Florida + (Dreams/Reality) = Happiness?
Backpacked: Very reluctant backpacker goes backpacking
Self-Printed: How to self-publish for realists. 

Do you find it easier to write fiction or non-fiction? Which do you prefer?

I find it much easier to write non-fiction, because the story has already happened – you know what’s coming next, and how it ends. Plus I enjoy taking situations and mining their humour. I find fiction much more difficult to write because I tend to tie myself up in plot knots, but I have a much greater sense of achievement from writing it than I do non-fiction.

Do you plan your books in advance, or write what comes into your head as you go along?
I’m definitely a planner. Any excuse to waste a few hours messing around with different coloured pens and Post-It notes!

Could you briefly explain, for anyone who yet to visit your blog, why you decided to self-publish your books?

Originally it was because I had a book - Mousetrapped - that was liked and praised by every editor or agent I sent it to, but they all agreed that there was no market for a book about an Irish girl moving to Florida in search of pixie dust, Space Shuttle launches and dreams. When I found out about CreateSpace, I thought I might as well put the book up there, as I believed there were readers for it out there somewhere, and I didn’t want to leave it in a drawer. Now, a year and a half later, I’ve self-published three other books and am about a month away from hitting 10,000 books sold. The difference with me though is that I’m not campaigning for the death of books just yet; I’m still pursuing traditional publication and just think of self-publishing as a bit on the side. Hopefully some day in the future there’ll be something to put it on the side of!

After reading Mousetrapped I would be very interested to know if you would ever go back and work at Walt Disney World again?  Have you been back to visit since you wrote the book?

I don’t think I’d work there again just because I’ve moved on now, but I would love to live in Orlando again, if only for the weather and the fact that there’s always something to do. I’ve been back twice – Eva (one of my best friends there) and I have been trying to go once every calendar year. This year we all met up in Europe but I hope to see Florida again in the new year.

What next? Should we expect more novels or further non-fiction books from you in the future?

I hope so! In the immediate future my attention is totally focused on writing a novel I hope to submit to traditional publishers, but after that yes, I do plan on writing more books to self-publish. I’m just not 100% what those will be yet!

Thank you for joining me here on Ramblings of a Rusty Writer.

You can buy the book here on
or, on
Enter the giveaway to win one of five copies on Goodreads (Open until 31 October)

Or if you would like to enter a draw for one of three e-copies of Results Not Typical, leave a 'pick me' comment under this post.

This will be left open until 12 noon UK time on Tuesday 1 November.
3 winners names will be picked at random.


  1. The more I hear about this book the more i want to read it - particularly as I've just gone back to a well-known slimming club. Again :-)

  2. Ooh yes, please pick me - I need some more books for my Kindle shelf and what better than something that puts me off eating rubbish food!

  3. I can't imagine a book more suited to me... please pick me :-)

  4. Thank you all for entering, all 3 of you win a copy of the eBook you lucky, lucky things! Please could you let me know your email addresses via my 'contact' link above. Thank you!