Author Interview: 'Big & Fabulous: The Life and Times of Brenda Cankles' Randi Sherman

Randi M Sherman is the award winning author of humorous fiction books.
With an eye for detail, an ear for well-tuned dialogue and an incredible grasp of the obvious, all honed while performing stand-up comedy in Los Angeles and improvisational theater in San Francisco, Sherman adds just enough bawdiness to deliver character-driven contemporary novels that will have the reader laughing, thinking and connecting with the characters in her books.

A native Californian, Randi makes her home in California's wine country. Trying her hand at country living Randi describes herself the Eva Gabor of the Sonoma/Napa area.

Randi earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from Chapman University.



About the Book:

The time for BIG & Fabulous, The Life and Times of Brenda Cankles is now! The emphasis is on positive body image, Big & Fabulous is a truly entertaining story that’s strongly written, funny, insightful and bitingly smart. Inside it’s covers, readers will find no shortage of acidly hilarious accounts of the highs and lows of living life inside a big and fabulous body.

Imperfect, impervious and improving Brenda Cankles is an unlikely heroine. Unfazed by the enduring censure of society, she is determined to realize the fabulous life that she has always believed is her destiny.

Brenda’s story – written in unflinching first person – is utterly unvarnished. Here, find a fantastically real person, sometimes struggling to fit in, but mostly giving the rest of the world the mother-lovin’ bird. From her clunky childhood, through her stumbling yet optimistic adolescence to her full figured and unapologetic emergence into adulthood. Brenda is a special brand of warrior. She is big, bold and beautiful. While the quirky cast of characters who surround her is eternally insistent that Brenda live her life in the background and fit into society’s mold, she will have none of it.

Author, Randi Sherman’s experience as a stand-up comedienne is evident as she delivers, BIG & Fabulous, The Life and Times of Brenda Cankles, the hilarious, often laugh-out-loud novel about the inner most thoughts Brenda Cankles, a very real character who is confident and brave enough to expect the world to accept her on her terms.

BIG & Fabulous, The Life and Times of Brenda Cankles is Sherman’s fifth novel, her fourth THE LOBBY has won 17 Awards for Humor and General Fiction.

Watch the book trailer at YouTube.


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Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?

A: I usually start with the smallest of ideas, or a single scene in the back of my brain and rarely write an outline. You see, I let my books and characters evolve backward and forward from my starting point. I let them tell me what direction to take as they develop. When another book of mine, The Lobby was released a friend asked me what I was going to work on next. When I said that I had always wanted to write a book called, Yes, You Butt Does Look Big, she asked what I was waiting for. Although, I wasn’t sure what the book was going to be about, I started writing it that same day. The title also evolved as Brenda Cankles came to life and voila, Big & Fabulous, The Life and Times of Brenda Cankles was created.

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

A: After I started writing Big & Fabulous, I wasn’t convinced that it would be entertaining or have a message. My main character was a victim, sarcastic and negative, struggling against an unfair society. Ahem, it was a story that has been told a million times.  I put my manuscript aside for a while and thought about whether I wanted to work on something that wasn’t enjoying and if I wanted to put out another book with the same tired story we’ve read over and over. I determined that I needed to make my main character positive, funny and inspirational and I couldn’t do it in the narrative. So I switched things up and wrote the story in the first person, as Brenda Cankles, and stripped away the negativity and made her a positive, and strong. My tip to other authors is to enjoy your work.

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

A: I partner with Friesen Press in Canada. Through them, I can contract with editors and designers and all sorts of book professionals and services.

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

A: Well, first and foremost I was surprised that within minutes of my book becoming available, it didn’t become a bestselling, required-reading phenomenon, and I wasn’t whisked of on private jets to talk-shows and author forums where I would receive embarrassing amounts of money, praise and adulation. In addition, and although Big & Fabulous, The Life and Times of Brenda Cankles is my fifth published book, I am continually surprised by two things. One, the amount of work that is necessary to launch and promote a book is huge. It doesn’t get any easier. There isn’t a streamlined approach to publicity. The more I learn, the more there is to do. And two, I am surprised by the personal courage I need to muster as I send my books into the world. Think about sending your sweet little child off to the first day of school. You hope he is well liked and no one picks on him.

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?

A: It seems like I am always working on new stories. Some are more developed than others. I have a desk drawer filled with sticky notes, torn pieces of paper and notebooks and a computer file filled with chapters and ideas. Right now I do have a few that are getting more attention than others. One is the continuation of Big & Fabulous, and another is…well, if I told ya, I’d have to kill ya. My goal is to have the next book ready by the end of the year.

Q: What’s one fact about your book that would surprise people?

A: Although Brenda is a fictional character, many readers and reviewers believe she is a real person.

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?

A: Brenda Cankles, the main character in Big & Fabulous is a plus size woman and her story is about living her life on her own terms not based on society’s reaction to her or fitting into a pre-determined stereotype. Brenda’s size is really a metaphor. She could have had any trait, physical, emotional, economical that society labels and judges. Brenda’s story is about a woman without any special powers, can overcome society’s censure using only her positive and healthy self-image.  
Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

A: Sit back, open, read and enjoy.
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