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
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