What is your name (Real and or Stage)?
Wendy Shanker: Wendy Shanker
www.LargeInCharge.com: Where are you
originally from, and where is your home state now?
Wendy Shanker: I’m originally
from the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan, and now I live in New
www.LargeInCharge.com: Have you
always shown an interest in writing?
Wendy Shanker: I always loved
to write but I never imagined doing it for a living!
www.LargeInCharge.com: How old where
you when you began to write and what did you write?
Wendy Shanker: I started
writing for public consumption in college at The University of
Michigan. I wrote movie reviews, op-eds, short stories,
comedy sketches, screenplays…all different genres. But it was
mostly for fun – just something I loved to do. Now I look back
at those screenplays and think, “Uch! This is terrible! Thank
goodness I keep improving!”
Tell us about your book?
Wendy Shanker: My book is
called “The Fat Girl’s Guide to Life,” and it’s a funny take
on women and body image. It’s part memoir, part research, part
style tips, and a whole lot of attitude.
www.LargeInCharge.com: Is this your
first published book, what work of yours has been published in
Wendy Shanker: This is my
first published book, but I have written extensively for
magazines and television over the last ten years.
publishing company published your book?
Wendy Shanker: Bloomsbury USA
has North American rights. It’s also being published in other
countries, including Germany, Spain, Italy, and Japan. Yep,
there are fat girls in Japan!
www.LargeInCharge.com: Tell us about
the first time you saw your published book, how did you feel?
Wendy Shanker: I couldn’t
believe it. I just felt so honored by the whole thing…I just
looked at that little lady on the bright orange cover and
thought, “Wow! I hope at least my mom will buy a copy!”
www.LargeInCharge.com: Are you a
person of size, what size are you?
Wendy Shanker: Hell yes, I’m
“of size”…but I prefer the word fat! I’m about a 20 right now,
sometimes a 22 on top. Big boobs, what can I say.
www.LargeInCharge.com: How does the
public react to a person of size writing a book for others of
Wendy Shanker: The reaction to
the book has been shockingly positive. Reviews, media
interviews, regular people on the street were very supportive of
the subject matter and the way I wrote about it. I think people
in this country, especially women, are really fed up with
dieting, and talking about dieting, and looking at pictures of
women who diet…it’s become a weird, useless obsession for people
of all sizes.
www.LargeInCharge.com: Do you feel
that your size helps you come up with stories?
Wendy Shanker: My size
certainly informs my take on life…it affects almost every aspect
of my life. I’m really grateful that the plus-size community is
so encouraging of writers like me.
www.LargeInCharge.com: How do people
of size feel about your books, do you get more positive or
Wendy Shanker: As with the
public at large, people of size – or fat people, as I’d say –
have been so receptive. I receive fantastic emails from readers
that say things along the lines of, “I always thought I was the
only one who felt this way about myself…but now I know it’s not
just me, and I’m not crazy!”
www.LargeInCharge.com: Tell us what
inspired you to write about The Large people of Society?
Wendy Shanker: Well, I am
one. And I felt like there were a lot of wonderful, encouraging
books out there with good intentions, but none that really
replicated my experience. I didn’t want to be all goody-goody,
or say that my life was perfectly dreamy…I wanted to explore
some of the complexities of being a fat girl. Good days, bad
days. But no more days of, “I hate myself. I’m ugly. I’m
disgusting.” I stopped thinking of fat as a personality issue,
and reconnected with it as a physical issue. And I wanted to
make sure that I wrote with humor, and really backed up my
opinions with research and information.
www.LargeInCharge.com: Please Tell
us about the many appearances, tours, book signings you have
Wendy Shanker: I’ve been
really lucky to tour all around the country with “The Fat Girl’s
Guide.” My publisher, Bloomsbury, set up appearances in New
York, Chicago (at Vive La Femme, you must go to
to check it out), and Detroit. And then I was lucky enough to
get involved with Macy’s, and travel to Atlanta, San Francisco,
and many other destinations hosting fashion shows and signing
books. I’m a big fan of Macy’s HER fashions!
www.LargeInCharge.com: Are you
currently on tour?
Wendy Shanker: I just finished
touring…but hopefully will be able to do some public speaking
and make other appearances.
www.LargeInCharge.com: Who are some
of Authors that you admire?
Wendy Shanker: I’m a big
reader…I would say that when it comes to books I think would
especially appeal to women of size, I say read anything by
Jennifer Weiner. Wendy McClure’s new book “I’m Not The New Me”
is really funny and refreshing. I loved Betsy Lerner’s “Food &
Loathing,” Marilyn Wann’s “Fat?So!” and Michele Weston’s
“Learning Curves.” And of course, you have to read biographies
from Camryn Manheim and Mo’Nique.
www.LargeInCharge.com: What would
you say to other aspiring authors?
Wendy Shanker: Go on, girl,
write write write! There’s plenty of room for all different
voices out there.
www.LargeInCharge.com: What should
they do to get there work out there?
Wendy Shanker: Well, you have
to keep your expectations in check…a lot of beginning writers
think, “Oh, I’ll just write this article for Vanity Fair, and
that’s that!” I would encourage people to check out smaller
publications and websites. And don’t expect a lot of money,
especially right off the bat. You have to write because you
love it and you feel the need to say something…not because you
want to get rich.
www.LargeInCharge.com: Do you have
other authors that you collaborate with?
Wendy Shanker: Not usually,
but I have been in some great classes and some really
interesting workshops where I get provocative feedback from
www.LargeInCharge.com: Do you have a
good support system from family and friends?
Wendy Shanker: Yes – and I’m
endlessly grateful for it. I’m sure it’s not so easy for my
family to have me running around, screaming about how fat I am
and how that’s cool with me. But they’ve been so supportive and
so open-minded…especially my parents. And my friends are
stunning – they bought the book, they came to readings, my
friend Deb threw book signing parties for me. My friend (and
mentor) Sue hosted a fantastic party after a reading. A lot of
my friends are very creative, and they continue to inspire me.
www.LargeInCharge.com: What do you
contribute your success to?
Wendy Shanker: The support
that I spoke of above means so much. But I also think part of
the book’s success is that it really hit a chord at the right
time. Also, I tried to be as honest as I could. The issues
that really made me feel vulnerable when I put them into print
(like, “I can’t believe I wrote that!”) are what readers
responded to the most.
www.LargeInCharge.com: Where will
you be appearing next?
Wendy Shanker: Um, I’ll be
appearing in my underwear in front of my air conditioning unit
in NYC! Kidding! I’m doing a few local things in New York, and
I’m crossing my fingers that I’ll be able to work with Macy’s
more in the fall. Also, I’d love to give a big shout-out to
a great site that has been so generous to me.
www.LargeInCharge.com: What are your
Wendy Shanker: I definitely
need to write another book…I’m working on it now. If I can
continue to do even the littlest bit to make women feel proud
and strong, especially when it comes to their bodies, then I
will be very satisfied.
www.LargeInCharge.com: Give us one
word that you can say best represents your work?
Wendy Shanker: Only one word?
Damn, you’re tough. How about “empowering”?
www.LargeInCharge.com: How can the
readers at www.largeincharge.com help support you?
Wendy Shanker: Gee, if
anyone wants to buy the book, that would be fabu! It’s
available online and in stores, and you can go to
to find links or get on my mailing list. But to tell you the
truth, the name of your site says it all. We have to be large
and in charge, psyched to walk about in our bodies, fearless
about our needs and desires. Any woman who does that makes me
one big fat proud girl.
Wendy I have to
say your are truly inspirational, I cant wait for your next
book! I have to say you are defiantly a true example of what
being Large and In Charge is. We wish you many more years
P.S. Let's Do
Lunch! BIG GIRL STYLE!