Janice Dean: I have a new book - 'Mostly Sunny' - Here's why I wrote it

My book “Mostly Sunny” is out on Tuesday, March 5th. I know one of the questions I will get when I go and do interviews will be “What made you want to write a book?”

It’s a good question, and the truth is, over the years I’ve thought a lot about writing one. Every one of us on this Earth has a story to tell – we all have a path that has been at times a smooth ride when unexpectedly, obstacles get in the way or there are bumps both big and small. Sometimes a huge pothole comes along where it stops us in our tracks and other times we don’t pay attention to the signs and the consequences can be difficult. In some instances in our life, it feels right to take chances and explore new directions, and the destination is well worth the adventure.

I’ve always loved to write – even at a young age. And I love to read – all kinds of books – but those that I enjoy most are real-life stories about people who have overcome challenges throughout their journey because I believe it’s the hard times that we go through that shape our personalities, view our lives and how we treat others. Many times I’ve joked to my friends and family that some of the stories I’ve lived through would one day they would make for a great book.

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Throughout my career, I’ve been honest with my listeners and viewers about my life off camera. Many of you know that in 2005 I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. It was a very dark time, and the stories I was hearing about MS were not very hopeful. Many people suggested if I told my bosses at Fox that I had MS my career would end.  I imagined my boyfriend would leave me and that I would end up being lonely and depressed having health issues my entire life. But after a few weeks of feeling sorry for myself, meeting others that were also living with MS, and optimistic doctors and nurses, I decided I wanted to hear and read about people who had been diagnosed the illness, but were optimistic about their future and forging ahead no matter what the challenge. My MS journey is featured in many chapters of the book, and I believe being diagnosed with MS was a blessing in disguise in terms of prioritizing and how I eventually chose to live my life.

I’ve had weight issues starting from a very young age. I’ve been every size from a 12 to a size four, and I’ve been teased and shamed from the age of 8 to 48. From a kid in school who used to spit at me on the school bus to a very mean, well-known radio host calling me fat and stupid on and off the air. I shared these stories truthfully and honestly. Just last year I had a mean online troll that told me my legs looked terrible in skirts and I needed to watch it because a younger, thinner woman could take my place.  Bullying and mean comments don’t end as we get older, and sometimes we have to take a stand and fight back to set an example for others.

Being in the business of television, appearances are important, and many of us, especially women feel like we have to look a certain way and try to remain as youthful as possible. A few years ago I went through a procedure that I imagined might improve the way I look.  It didn’t go as planned, caused many weeks of shameful and painful moments. It was also a tremendous learning experience, so I decided to share my story of how there are complications and false expectations when it comes to trying to turn back the clock. It was also a reminder that beauty truly does come from within. An ugly personality is toxic to even the most beautiful visages.

This book, in a lot of ways, is something I would have loved to have read when I was at my lowest points. 

Another experience that affected me deeply was a terrifying home invasion when I lived in Houston that made me decide to move back home to Canada, to try and heal and decide my next path. I haven’t talked much about this part of my life. It was easier to try and forget it, but it was important for me to relive that personal nightmare openly and honestly. It may help others rethink how safe their home is or how they might protect themselves and their families in the future.

I also wrote a chapter about how important it was for me to seek therapy. All of these years getting comfortable in my own skin didn’t come overnight. It required hard work and a wonderful woman named Judy who I started seeing regularly when I first moved to New York over 15 years ago. Working on myself, and finding out what was most important was a game changer. And it wasn’t the things I grew up thinking – being successful, fancy clothes, prestige, money, and a big job.  None of that is gratifying if you’re miserable with your surroundings, and yourself.

And of course, the hard times are always followed by incredibly happy moments along the journey we take. For me, it was meeting my husband Sean, having my two beautiful boys and the family we have created. Not to mention all the wonderful people I met along the way that lent a hand, gave me encouragement or sometimes just a hug and a smile that helped get through the day or a tough moment.

The process of writing it all of these experiences down – a no holds barred account – is a tremendous opportunity to talk about all of it open and honestly (and with humor too) in hopes I could ultimately help others. This book, in a lot of ways, is something I would’ve loved to read when I was at my lowest points.

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The moral of my story is the sun always comes out after the storm. Being optimistic and surrounding yourself with positive loving people is for me, living life on the sunny side of the street.

I hope this book brings comfort to others with humor and stories that people can relate to. And perhaps can be a friend along their own journey. I hope by sharing my mostly sunny stories, it will help encourage others to keep going.  And to never give up. You never know what’s just around the corner of this wonderful life journey we are all traveling together.

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