Wednesday, December 30, 2009

An Interview with my Friend . . .
Doug Varrieur

I'm so happy to have you on my blog today, Doug. I'm sure many readers will love hearing and learning about your book and your life!

How long have you known that you were a writer? Did you receive a clear "call?" Or have you just loved writing all your life?

    Wow, a calling….if it had only been such a glorious reason! Afraid not though, a bit more mundane than that. J I’ve been an avid dirt bike rider my whole life and occasionally I zig when I should have zagged resulting in more interaction with the dirt then the riding. I ride fast so when I crash it’s usually pretty hard. On this one particular day I broke my left foot which laid me up for a few weeks.

    Over the years I’ve been coming up with little one liners, sayings like "You gotta go through what you gotta go through to get to where you’re going" I’ve come up with hundreds of them and have used them to teach my kids and my various employees an easy way to get the message.

    I’ve written them down on everything imaginable, the back of a business card, a napkin, a piece of scrap wood, yes . . . even toilet paper.

    As I sat at my desk with the broken foot elevated I spied the pile of notes loaded up on the shelf in the corner . . . time to clean the desk I thought and proceeded to open up a .doc file. The plan was simple really, write 'em down and throw away the notes. As I started to write the one liners in succession I found the need to elaborate on their meaning. This in turn resulted in a little paragraph below each one.

    As I stared at the screen I recognized that I was writing a book . . . That’s the day THE CHERRY TREE was born. It’s dedicated to my kids, when they ask me for advice now I simply say…."look it up, it’s in the book!" J It begins with my most favorite cherry of all time, here it is;

    "The toughest part about getting it done is getting it started! "

    It couldn’t be truer! Talk, talk, talk, talk. Quit talking about it and do something about it. Take action, wait no more. Once you’ve begun, the hardest part’s behind you. It makes no difference what it is. Whether it's a project, quitting smoking, losing weight, whatever it is, get it started today and before you know it--it will be done. 

What is the genre you write in? Would you explain what it is?

    My chosen genre is weight loss and health recovery. When I reached the weight loss cherry in THE CHERRY TREE I found it needed much more than a paragraph to explain so I opened up another .doc file and FAT TO SKINNY Fast and Easy! was born.

    I had lost over 100 pounds a few years earlier and cured my own type two diabetes. Over the years I had been asked over and over and over again, "how did you do it?" I had told the story so many times it was effortless to write it down. Within a couple of weeks it was roughed in and within a few weeks after that it was done. I specialize in teaching the truth about weight loss and weight gain. I uncover the secrets for my readers to reversing insulin resistance and type two diabetes. I give them a simple roadmap to good health and longer life.

How do you spend your writing days? Do you set goals to reach a certain number of words per day? Can you give us a general idea of how long it takes you to write a book?

I'm a deadline kinda guy. I peck away at the keyboard with two or sometimes three fingers until I’ve had enough. Sometimes I’ll put in 8 to 10 hours at a clip, other times I’ll walk away for two or three days and catch up on other things. The amount of time it takes to write my books depends on the type of book I’m writing. Currently I’m in the middle of three books; they are all within sight of finalization.

    FAT TO SKINNY Low Sugar Low Carb Cookbook (350 pages)

    FAT TO SKINNY Low Sugar Low Carb Product Guide (175 pages) and

    FAT TO SKINNY Sugar and Carb Counter (115 pages)

    These books are all very detail orientated and require a great deal of time for layout and intricacies. I find it to be very tedious at times but I work through it. I tackled all three at once because they all tie together in my series. I want them all available as a package by mid December.

What is the spiritual message in your latest book? What can readers expect to get from reading it?

    My spiritual message is simple; our bodies are a temple and a gift to be respected. We all have the free will granted us to make good choices, make them wisely.

You recently had a book published. Would you take this time to describe it to us? How and where can readers buy your books?

    FAT TO SKINNY Fast and Easy! is the simplest most straight forward weight loss book ever written--at least that’s what the publisher tells me. J It starts with my personal story beginning at childhood and ends with recipes. Of course the middle is filled with the problem, the causes and the solutions. The beauty of the FAT TO SKINNY program is no exercise is required, I teach you how to use the body’s own natural metabolics to shed the weight. It’s so easy anyone of any age can master it and once the weight is off it stays off unless you choose to put it back on.

    The book will be available for delivery starting 12/15/09 from anywhere books are sold as well as from my web site

    As a side note it will be featured in the Barnes and Nobles "New Year New You" program in January, all 800 stores.

Do you ever feel like giving up? Most people don’t understand the stress, the work, and the joy of being a writer. How tenuous becoming a writer is. Do you care to share how it feels, what discouraging/encouraging times you’ve gone through? Who’s inspired you the most?

    In my case I really have no option. If you had the cure for cancer would you keep it to yourself? That’s the position I’m in, I have the cure for obesity, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. It’s my responsibility to spread the word. It can be tedious and of course very time consuming; in fact, it will swallow you up if you’re not careful.

    My most discouraging times came when the FAT TO SKINNY manuscript was rejected by 56 agents and publishers over a period of 90 days. As all of you know, that’s very disheartening. I self published because I thought they were all idiots for not seeing the magic of the book. My most encouraging times come when I hear from successful readers. To hear from a 75 year old woman thanking me for balancing her blood sugar or from a 13 year old girl who’s no longer the "fat kid" in school is an indescribable reward. Children inspire me more than anybody. Just this week I received news that my program is being taught in my home town schools health class. That’s inspiration J

Would you explain how you "chose" (or was chosen) a publisher? Do you just go "inny, minny, miny, moe?" Grin. Now, that you’re published, can you sit back and relax from the success you’ve experienced?

    In my case it was both, Sterling Publishing chose me and I chose them. As mentioned earlier I had pretty much given up on approaching publishers and agents, I simply had too many people to help. The way I saw it every day that went by with my manuscript nestled away on my hard drive was one more day that I should be spreading the word. The e book was available on my web site but the book needed to go into print.

    It was during that time frame that I had a heart attack. All the years of high triglycerides (over 400) had finally caught up to me and even though I was now thin and they were in check (55-60) the plaque, once formed never goes away. The heartburn I was experiencing turned out to be a 95% blockage in my left anterior descending artery; they call it the "widow maker".

    As I lay in the hospital bed the evening before my surgery I asked myself the questions one does in such a situation. Was I ready to go? Have I done everything I needed to do on earth before moving on? The only thing that haunted me that evening was the book.

    It was that evening that I made a promise, a promise to the lord that if in his wisdom he saw fit to leave me here for a while longer that I would dedicate the balance of my life to helping as many people on the planet as I could before going home. The next day a stent was inserted in the artery and two weeks later I was on the phone to a printer in Korea arranging for hard copies.

    It was also at that time that my Aunt Polly Craig, author and actor introduced me to her literary agent, Diana Flegal, Hartline Literary Agency. Diana and I hit it off and I sent her a hard copy of my book printed by Once she committed to my cause we agreed to go to contract for publisher representation. I remember her surprise when I told her that I could care less if I ever had a publisher.

    The new books, 3000 copies, were to be delivered to Tampa in mid December 2008. My wife Sherri and I spend our summers in the mountains of Western NC and our winters in the islands of the Florida Keys. It was time to head south, and my intention was to take delivery of my books and go bang on the doors of Home Shopping Network--I had a promise to keep.

    When I arrived in the Tampa Bay Area I hooked up with an old friend who as it turned out was now the operations manager for 6 bay area radio stations. I was invited on air the week the books arrived and 600 copies sold within 19 days. I was then offered an exhibit space at the Florida State Fair which I gladly accepted. My wife and I spent 12 days 10 hours a day talking, talking then talking some more. Hundreds of books were purchased and I was interviewed a couple more times by radio stations from the show floor.

    The fair ended and it was time to travel back to the Florida Keys. Home Shopping Network had declined my offer but there was no denying the success achieved in the Tampa Bay Area. Sherri and I were exhausted, and we both had laryngitis.

    I was driving through the Everglades when the phone rang. An excited Diana Flegal was on the line, it seemed she had some news. Diana told me that Sterling Publishing Company had taken a liking to FAT TO SKINNY Fast and Easy! She asked if I could overnight 5 hard copies to NY that very day. The book was heading for an acquisitions meeting 48 hours later and they needed copies.

    Within a week the publisher and I were on the phone together. They wanted to know if we could do business. My attitude was simple, this is what I told them, "I don’t need you unless you can help me help others faster than I can help them myself. If you can, we can do business. If you can’t, I’m not interested."

    Then the strangest thing happened, I was told by the Sterling execs that not only did they want to help they also didn’t want to change the book! They liked it just the way it was--other than the fact that I had spelled "exercise" wrong on the front cover J I knew right away that I was dealing with the right company. They chose me, and I chose them.

    I also knew that the job wasn’t done. It was just beginning. Don’t kid yourself; publishing a book is like opening a door. Inside the room you’ll not find a comfy couch to sit and rest in, you’ll find a hell of allot of work and commitment. If you’re not ready for it quit now, this is not your path.  

Do you mind telling us some of your likes and dislikes? Hobbies, interests? Where would you like to travel if you could? Etc.

    I love to cook for people and I’m a nut for nature. For me happiness is the changing of the leaves and a cool mountain stream, the smell of the ocean and the clatter of the seagulls. It’s the pure satisfaction of recognizing how beautiful and wonderful life is each and every day.

    My hobbies mirror these loves, fishing, hiking, diving, and riding my dirt bike through the mountains. Dinner parties with close friends and family are always a joy. These are my foundations for which I build my life upon.

    I do have a few dislikes however they are few and far between. I don’t have a big interest in traveling. Sherri and I, accompanied by our 4 Yorkshire Terriers, BJ, Monkey, Bam Bam and Pebbles, have already settled into a wonderful routine. Traveling between and residing in two of the most majestic places in the country feeds my spirit and soul. As I leave the mountains for the ocean and then the ocean for the mountains each year I know I’ve found my path. 

Would you give us your blog or webpage so everyone can check it out? Anything else you’d like to share? Promotional information?

I’m not a blogger, I simply don’t have the time. I do however have a couple of web sites:

  • My business web site for my books is Here you can read testimonials from readers, listen to interviews and watch video.

  • My personal family web site is here you can click on my name and visit photo galleries with pictures of our adventures.

Is there anything else I’d like to share? Yes, I’d like to share myself. I’ll address this to you, dear reader. If I can be of any help to you in any way please feel free to write me at:

I’ll do whatever I can for you.

Thank You for the interview, Carole, and I wish you and all you dear readers a blessed day!

We have no excuse now, to not get ourselves in shape and live a healthier life! Thank you, Doug, for a wonderful, inspiring insight into your life and most of all, your book!


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