Interview with Dr. Gabrielle Francis, author of 'The Rockstar Remedy'

Dr. Gabrielle Francis has been practicing natural medicine for more than thirty years.
She is a Naturopathic Doctor, Chiropractor, Acupuncturist, and Licensed Massage therapist. Dr. Francis currently practices in New York City as The Herban Alchemist.  She also operates Backstage Alternative, which is her natural medicine road show that provides chiropractic, massage, acupuncture, nutrition and herbal remedies to performing artists on tour. 

Dr. Francis received her formal medical training at National College of Chiropractic and at Bastyr University. She has extensive training in Alternative Cancer Therapies, Environmental Medicine, Functional Medicine, Mind-Body medicine, and Bio-Identical Hormone therapies. Following her formal medical education, Dr. Francis travelled extensively to various parts of the world studying medicine with indigenous healers in countries such as China, India, Thailand, Bali, Brazil, Morocco, Peru, Guatemala, Ecuador, Belize, Mexico, Egypt, and Mali. 
Stacy Baker Masand is a health, fitness and lifestyle editor whose work has appeared in magazines such as In StyleMarie ClaireSelfShapeFitnessDuJour and Women's Health. She's co-author of New York Times bestseller Your Best Body Now. Stacy is currently developing projects for both small and big screen.
Their latest book is the health/wellness/rocknroll book, The Rocstar Remedy.
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About the Book:

Known as the “Rock n’ Roll Doctor” to some of the most famous bands in the world, Dr. Gabrielle Francis shares her unique holistic prescription to achieving health and balance—even when you don’t live like a saint!

As a Holistic Doctor to the music industry’s elite, Dr. Francis has helped rock stars repair, recover, and refuel from the demanding schedules and occasional overindulgences that come along with the rock star lifestyle. Being overscheduled, sleep-deprived, overeating, drinking and managing physical and mental stressors aren’t lifestyle habits unique to the music industry; they are the same challenges faced by all of us, every day. 

In The Rockstar Remedy, Dr. Francis shares her unique strategies designed to be incorporated into your hectic lifestyle. Her programs are customized to meet you where you are at, whether an experienced health enthusiast or a beginner. Completing the 21 day detox will give you a renewed sense of energy and enthusiasm for life, while looking and feeling your personal best. She explains how health is not a destination, but exists on a spectrum, and the simple act of making better choices every day—even if they’re not the best choices—helps us achieve balance in both mind and body. With tips for improving energy levels, easy food guidelines and a simple no-starvation detox, Dr. Francis offers a simple, effective plan for staying healthy and happy amid the chaos of our daily lives. Her popular “Harm Reduction Techniques” and “90/10 Rule” make it easy to celebrate life with occasional indulgences while maintaining good health. This is not a temporary fix; this program brings long-lasting, life-changing results. 

Now you can reach for the stars too!

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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?

Dr. Francis: I have been practicing alternative medicine for nearly 30 years.  I love what I do.  However, I had been feeling for sometime that I would like to take my message to a wider audience as I felt I had much to share from many years of working with Rock musicians and keeping them healthy through lives of excess and indulgence.  

I was asked to write a book by a literary agent, the Godfather of Celebrity doctors.  He said that I needed to write a book that would appeal to the “health book reader” target audience who were primarily women between the ages of 25 and 55… and they were interested in beauty, weight loss and depression
 I found this kind of sad and boring.  After all, there are 1000s of books on the shelves like that and most are so boring that I don’t even read them and I am in the business. 

Then one day I was having an adventure in NYC, just walking through the city and enjoying the people watching.  I had one of those “I have a great idea moments” that I should write my story about working in the music business and how all these rock stars are getting healthy. It would be the alternative to sex, drugs and rock’n‘roll.   I could use the Rock stars as the ambassadors for my health message and take the message to a new audience.  I wanted to inspire people that were not so interested in health to “join the church” not to just “preach to the choir”. 

 I was elated with my wonderful idea.  But this agent thought it was a terrible idea.  His comment was “Where would we put it on the bookshelves?  Health or Rock’n ‘Roll?”  I said to him, “How about the best sellers section?  Anyway, there aren’t so many bookstores any more!”  So we parted ways, as he did not feel that I had a viable idea.

I thank this man for giving me the idea and inspiration to write.  I sat on my idea of a couple of years before my agent serendipitously walked through the door of my practice. 

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?

Dr. Francis: The first challenge was to interview 80 Rockstars about their health.  Chasing creative types around the world while they are on tour or recording and getting them to talk about their health...This was intense.  But once we got the interview they were thrilled to be part of the movement as not many people have asked them how they actually keep up this lifestyle from a physical and spiritual perspective. 
The second challenge was that the publishers and I had different ideas of who the target audience was.  Harper Collins wanted me to stay in the box of the “health book reader”. It would be a safe sell.   I wanted to take the message to a totally new audience by using the Rockstars as ambassadors.  I guess that 30 years of hanging out with creative types made me not like being boxed into appealing to one target audience.  I didn’t want to “preach to the choir”.  I wanted “to get more people to join the church!”   Ultimately, we came up with some good compromises.  

 I learned that publishing a book is a difficult process that involves a lot of negotiating.  But that when you have an idea and belief that you can “feel in your gut”… You have to fight for it and not budge.  The “gut feelings” and “intuitions” always rule over the logic and reason.  Then, the other things you have to just let go of and not look back.  

I would also recommend that you hire a publicist to help you sell your book and have that lined up months before the release date.  The publisher was very engaged during the writing but you really have to sell your own book.  Social media and other clever online strategies such as Book Blog tours are essential in this changing market especially, since there aren’t too many bookstores anymore. 

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

Dr. Francis: I sat on my idea for a while until another agent, Peter McGuiggan, the founder and owner of Foundry Media, serendipitously came to my practice.  Peter specializes in Rock n Roll Autobiographies and his partner, Yfat, specializes in Health and Wellness.  They ate it all up!  So from there, they helped me to develop The Rockstar Remedy.  I sold it to Harper Collins Wave.  The publisher, Karen Rinaldi, is known for publishing health books with an edge to them.  And this one definitely has an edge.

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

Dr. Francis: I was surprised at how conservative the publishing business is.  I didn’t realize that a book that crossed over two genres would be a challenge to the publishers.   I had to fight to keep the artist contributions in the book.  But ultimately, I think that the anecdotes and stories they offer add inspiration to the reader.  It is surely the most entertaining health book out there!

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

Dr. Francis: I am a world traveler.  When I travel, I find the healers and the healing systems in the country that I am in and I try to learn the holistic medicine traditions of the region.  So my next book will be my travel medicine stories.  Lets say Eat, Pray, Love meets Anthony Bourdain with an alternative medicine theme!

Q: What’s your favorite place to hang out online?

Dr. Francis: I love to hang out on sites that focus on international news and international travel.  I have a “Free People” shopping addiction.  I check my horoscopes daily on Astrology Zone and Astrostyle, so I can see what the stars have in store for me.  And I am obsessed with Anthony Bourdain’s travel shows.
I want to be like him when I grow up!

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

Dr. Francis:  My message is that getting healthy is not a bore or a chore.  You can party and celebrate and still be healthy.  You can be healthy without changing your lifestyle by making small adjustments along the way.   Health and healing is an adventure and it should be fun.   You can have your shake and eat cake too!

Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

Dr. Francis: 
“This book is dedicated to the “Rockstar” in you!

That rebellious spirit that refuses to settle for the status quo…

The fire within that ignites transformation in body, mind and spirit…

The desire to create the life of your dreams…

So that you can fulfill your true destiny…

Join me on the Adventure…”

Dr. Gabrielle Francis

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