“Down and Out in Bugtussle: The Mad Fat Road to Happiness”


MBA&M: Please tell our readers a few tidbits about yourself?


SM: I’m a former high-school teacher turned writer, married with a four year old son and a chiweenie dog named Baxter Mac. I write funny stories about a Mad Fat Girl named Ace Jones. I like pizza, cold beer, and SEC football.


Also, I recently released my very first eBook novella, a Penguin Special, which I like to refer to as my Li’l Mad Fat Shorty. It’s called Ace Jones: Mad Fat Adventures in Therapy and it’s only $1.99! It covers what transpires after Happily Ever Madder and before Down & Out in Bugtussle.


MBA&M: What was your inspiration behind writing “Down and Out in Bugtussle: The Mad Fat Road to Happiness”?

SM: It’s all about her journey. By the end Diary of a Mad Fat Girl, Ace Jones had decided to go for the life of her dreams. By the end of Happily Ever Madder, she’d found the cracks in the crystal ball. Now she’s back in Bugtussle picking up the pieces and looking for a new definition of what it really means to be happy.   


MBA&M: Being a plus size woman myself, it is nice to see an author write a story with a plus size heroine…can you tell our readers why you chose this heroine?


SM: This is a great question and I could go on all day about it, but I’ll try to give you a short answer. Long before I thought about writing a book, I’d grown weary of the good ol’ Hero Barbie who always got her happily ever after. Then one day I read Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner and thought, “Oh, thank God! This is great!” 


I thought for a very long time about the character of Ace Jones before I started writing that first book and it was very important to me for normal people to find her relatable. I also wanted to trash the notion that fat girls can’t be happy which is why I very intentionally put the word mad in the title. Ace Jones is not mad because she’s fat. She’s mad like the Mad Hatter, just crazy as hell. And people love that about her, which makes me very happy!    


MBA&M: Why Mississippi as your setting for this story?


SM: Ah, Mississippi. I was born and raised there and regardless of where I may live at any given time in my life, Mississippi will always be my home. It’s where my family and friends are. Love the people. Love the state. Love the long-standing tradition of great story-telling. 


MBA&M: How hard was it to write a story that will be laughable,as well as enduring,without making your heroine appear an “airhead”?

SM: Another great question! At the end of the day, it all needs to mean something. And a little good sense never hurt anyone.


MBA&M: Does your heroine, Ace,resemble you or someone you know,in any way or is she a figment of your imagination?


SM: My mother thought Diary of a Mad Fat Girl was an autobiography and she was very offended when she found out Ace’s parents had passed away. My friends accuse me of being Ace Jones and people are always asking, “Are you Ace Jones?” No, I am not. But I do believe that most people, including me, have elements of Ace Jones in their personality. I mean, who doesn’t know someone who really needs to be punched in the face? Who hasn’t wanted to tell someone to shut the hell up? It just varies from person to person how much we let our inner Ace Jones show.



MB&M: Inquiring minds want to know, or me away, how many books will feature Graciela “Ace” Jones in them? And if you can tell our readers what is next for Ace?

SM: You know, I have no idea. There’s a Dr. Seuss poem that ends with, “And now my story is all told.” I guess I’ll keep writing until the story of Ace Jones is all told.


“My hat is old, my teeth are gold. I have a bird I like to hold.”




MBA&M: What an honor to have you spend time with us and our readers today. Please tell our readers how they may connect with you and where they may purchase “Down and Out in Bugtussle:The Mad Fat Road to Happiness”?


SM: Thank you for your time!


Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/BooksByStephanie

Twitter: @stephaniemcafee


Thank you Stephanie, for taking the time out of your busy schedule to visit with us and our readers today!


DOWN AND OUT IN BUGTUSSLE: The Mad Fat Road to Happiness (NAL Trade Paperback Original; July 2, 2013; $15; ISBN: 9780451239907)

When her dream life in Florida with her now-ex-fiancé goes south, so does Ace—she moves back home to Bugtussle, Mississippi, and into her late Gramma Jones



  1. I love the plot of this novel and it really made me smile. This sounds like real life and I’m looking forward to reading all about it. Thanks so much sharing this synopsis today. I’m adding it to my Wish List right now. Congratulations!

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