Interview: Connie Bennett

For much of her career, Connie Bennett was an entertainment reporter, holding staff positions with such outlets as The Fort Worth Star-Telegram and freelancing for the LA Times, Entertainment Weekly, and others.

For much of her career, Connie Bennett was an entertainment reporter, holding staff positions with such outlets as The Fort Worth Star-Telegram and freelancing for the LA Times, Entertainment Weekly, and others.

Five years ago, Bennett traded both celebrity profiles and her sweet tooth for holistic-health reporting. Her first book, Sugar Shock!, was published in January by Berkley Books/Penguin USA.

PRWeek: How did your work on the book begin?

Bennett: Research began unbeknownst to me in 1998, when I was having my own sugar issues.

I was besieged by a whole host of ailments: I had excessive fatigue, I would get moody for no reason, I would have crying spells, I would have heart palpitations where I felt like my heart was ready to jump out of my chest and onto the sidewalk, and it was scary.

I finally found a doctor, one of many I'd seen over the years. This one said, "Connie, you've got to quit sugar and refined carbs to get rid of all your symptoms."

PRWeek: For your research, how did you connect with other sugar junkies?

Bennett: I quit sugar in April 1998. I began the book in earnest in December 2001. I had two and a half years under my belt.

So to get more in touch with people who [still] had this problem, I started an online KickSugar Support Group that I've had since November 2002. We have more than 1,800 people today. I had my own little focus group.

I also have my blog. I've had that since June 2005. I started it because I went to a conference put on by the Publishers' Marketing Association; they help authors learn how to market their books. They said, "If you're an author, you've got to have a blog."

PRWeek: Aside from the blog, what are you doing to get the Sugar Shock! word out?

Bennett: Now I'm actually working with PR people, and I'm listening to them - they know stuff I don't know.

In the past, I had some interesting situations with entertainment publicists in LA. There were a couple of times that I was writing for a publication and [they] did not like what that particular publication said about a particular celebrity, so they wouldn't talk to me. But I'm dealing with different sorts of PR people [now].
 
PRWeek: You've also experimented with swag suites. You were at GBK Productions' Golden Globe Gift Suite, for one. What inspired that?

Bennett: I read an article about a particular book, a huge bestseller, that talked about some of the components that fell into place that made this book a bestseller.

Because of my entertainment background, I'd also done some research, and I know a number of celebrities that will find my book of interest.

Name: Connie Bennett

Title: Freelance journalist and author

Outlet: www.SugarShockBlog.com

Preferred contact method: connie@sugarshock.com

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