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Fanbase Press Interviews Lori Brand on the Upcoming Release of the Psychological Thriller, ‘Bodies to Die for,’ Through Blackstone Publishing

The following is an interview with author Lori Brand regarding the upcoming release of her psychological thriller novel, Bodies to Die for, through Blackstone Publishing. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Brand about her creative process in bringing the story and characters to life on the page, what she hopes that readers may take away the story, and more!

Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the upcoming release of Bodies to Die For! For those who may be unfamiliar, how would you describe the story’s premise?

Lori Brand: Thanks so much! I really appreciate you interviewing me.

Bodies to Die For is a psychological thriller that follows two protagonists, Gemma and Ashley.

Gemma is a popular fitness influencer who has transformed herself from a Before into an After, complete with washboard abs, thriving business, and gorgeous husband. But social media can be deceiving. Offline, the cutthroat world of bikini bodybuilding may just eat her alive. That’s if she’s not first devoured by the secret nemesis that lurks beneath her polished surface, waiting to destroy her.

Software engineer Ashley is fat and frustrated. Frustrated with failed diets. With a world that wants her to shrink. With biased doctors, online trolls, and even her own mother. Until Ashley falls in with a mysterious and radical sect of Fat Activists who are fighting back … by any means necessary. She’s never felt so alive, so full of purpose. She’ll do whatever it takes to ride this high, destroy Diet Culture, and win the approval of her charismatic leader.

Gemma and Ashley are on a collision course headed for the Olympia, the bodybuilding competition where futures are made. And lost. But when Gemma’s toughest rival turns up dead, and more fitness girls fall like dominoes, it’s beginning to look like the body image war has gone too far.

The book takes a hard look at social media, the $70 billion diet industry, and the war on women’s bodies—the wars we wage on each other, and with ourselves.

BD: As you’ve noted, the story dives deep into society’s battle with unhealthy body image and the multibillion-dollar diet industry. What can you share with us about your creative process in crafting this narrative, especially given your experience in the fitness industry?

LB: This book has been building in me for decades. I first encountered Diet Culture in fourth grade, when my dance instructor, in an effort to lose weight, had her jaw wired shut. Since then, I’ve steeped in it as a gymnast, stripper, Playboy model, bodybuilder, and group fitness/spinning/yoga instructor. I’ve felt it as a new mother in the pressure to “bounce back.” Even as an engineer, I’ve heard it in my colleagues’ voices: Do I look fat in this? Is dairy bad?

Yet it wasn’t until I shifted my focus from losing weight to getting strong that I finally broke free. With fresh eyes I looked out at the world, and Diet Culture was everywhere. But it wasn’t just Diet Culture judging our bodies. The Healthy at Every Size (HAES) camp had also gotten into the game. Things came to a head in 2020.

In January 2020, Jillian Michaels said, with regards to Lizzo as a body acceptance role model, “Why are we celebrating her body? Why does it matter? Why aren’t we celebrating her music? Cause it isn’t going to be awesome if she gets diabetes.” And social media blew-up. The HAES crowd accused Jillian of fat phobia disguised as health concern. The Wellness crowd said that we needed to stop normalizing obesity.

Then in May, Adele posted a birthday picture of herself to Instagram, and it was clear that she had lost a lot of weight. HAES zealots were “hurt” and “disappointed” in her smaller size (as if she owed them her body). Adele later explained–though why should she have to?—that she had been going through a challenging time and that exercise helped her deal with it.

The social media backlash against Jillian and Adele struck me. How what started as a desire to make the world better–through wellness or body acceptance—could be twisted into making it worse. I wanted to probe that, and Bodies to Die For was born.

BD: At Fanbase Press, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums. How do you feel that Bodies to Die For’s story may connect with and impact readers?

LB: Thin or fat, young or old, I think we’ve all been touched by Diet Culture. I’m hoping to shine a bright light on the damage that it causes, as well as offer a way out.

Bodies to Die For’s take-home message is that changing your goal from shrinking to getting strong is the answer. That getting physically strong makes you mentally strong. Strong women are less likely to put up with shitty situations, shitty jobs, or shitty people. They expect better. They believe they deserve better.

I’d also like female readers to realize that we are all sisters. That we need to quit fighting and judging each other, as well as ourselves. That we are responsible for the world that we are bringing our daughters into. Strong women lift each other up.

I believe this so strongly that the book’s dedication reads: For all women, everywhere.

BD: What makes Blackstone Publishing the perfect home for this story?

LB: Blackstone acquiring editor Daniel Ehrenhaft showed interest in this story right away. So did the rest of his team. As it turned out, one of the women in their marketing group was a bikini bodybuilder, so I think that helped the story connect with her. (If you’ve done any bodybuilding, I think this book will speak to you.) Furthermore, Blackstone has been incredibly supportive throughout this whole business of launching a book into the world, which was enormously helpful to a newbie like me.

Blackstone was also open to my input along the way. For instance, I had sketched out a cover idea back while I was writing Bodies to Die For, and they were happy to pass it along to their designer, who did a bang-up job translating it into what you see today. Looking at my sketch and the actual cover side by side (You can see this on my Instagram.), you can see how my vision is still there in finished product, only much more polished and professional.

Additionally, Blackstone let me be involved in the narrator selection for the audiobook. Initially, I didn’t think that was terribly important. I just figured I’d let my agent and Blackstone pick out whomever they thought was best. Then my agent sent me some narrator samples, and I’ll never forget hearing the first Ashley selection, and being like, Wait! That’s not what Ashley sounds like! So, in hindsight, I’m very grateful that I got to help choose a much more “Ashley” sounding voice.

BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?

LB: I’m currently working on a standalone thriller, Know by Heart, that delves into the thorny issue of sex work, specifically OnlyFans. There are so many people that want to tell us what we can and can’t do with our bodies. I want to shut them up.

BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Bodies to Die For and your other work?

LB: My website is Lori Brand | Author of Bodies to Die For (

On Instagram: @loribrandwritesandlifts

Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief




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