Today celebrates the last day of International Chick Lit month and to conclude , I have a Guest Post from one of my all-time favourite Australian Chick Lit authors Lisa Heidke.
Thanks for inviting me to do a guest post
at The Phantom Paragrapher for Chick Lit Month.
Is it just me or have you noticed that
chick lit’s been getting some bad press lately. Recently, I spoke on a panel at
the Gloucester Writers Festival in NSW, Australia, explaining why I think Chick
lit is not dumb lit and then I wrote a blog about it. http://blog.lisaheidke.com/
But what I’d really like to talk about is
why I write chick lit...Firstly, I think the definition has become muddied
since Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’s Diary was first
published in 1996. Way back then, most readers, writers and publishers believed
that chick lit referred to books written by women about single,
twenty-something women, searching for Mr Right, finding the perfect career
(preferably in magazines and or public relations), shopping for the perfect
shoes and accessories, and agonising over weight gain and flat hair. Yes, that’s
a superficial definition, but you get my drift.
These days novels written by Marian Keyes, Jane
Green, and Jennifer Weiner are still called chick lit, yet their books often deal
with older characters and meatier issues such as alcohol addiction, divorce,
blended families and missed opportunities.
The books I write get labelled chick lit
too, even though I predominantly write about women in their thirties and their
relationships; women facing career crises, marriage breakdowns, aging parents
and rebellious children. My characters probably go shopping from time to time
but it’s generally to the supermarket and sometimes, after fifteen years
together, they’ve found Mr
Right’s sparkle has dulled.
My books have also been called contemporary
women’s fiction, modern women’s fiction, popular fiction, hen-lit and lady-lit.
New labels are being coined almost weekly, but generally, I don’t care how
people define my books as long as they pick them up, read them, and enjoy them.
That’s why I write what I write – because I
want readers to enjoy the stories and characters as much as I love creating them.
I write about everyday life with humour – at least I hope it’s humorous - and I
get a kick out of writing characters who could easily be my next door
neighbour, my best friend or me, and then explore the possibilities. What if this happened? Or that?
My books don’t have fairy tale endings
because real life’s not like that but I love the process, that of forming
realistic characters who manage to get themselves into extraordinary or
mortifying situations and still come out on top, or at least heading in the
My books most often get called chick
lit...because they’re light, easy reads, and I’m fine with that. But just
because they’re readable doesn’t mean my characters aren’t on a wonky path to
self discovery and fulfilment. However, my characters aren’t trying to save the
world, my writing doesn’t have a political agenda to push and I personally
don’t have an axe to grind. I just want readers to read my books and maybe
smile and thank the universe that they are not my characters!