Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Romantic Comedy or Chick Lit?

I hesitate to call myself a chick lit writer. Not because I'm embarrassed by the genre, but because it has, in recent years, gotten quite the negative press. With its fun, frothy covers, fast-paced dialogue and hilarious main characters, chick lit has become synonymous with shoes, shopping and sadly, silly writing. As a voracious chick lit reader and writer, I am surprised by the strong attitudes towards chick lit, especially by people who haven't read any of it.

Just as in any genre, there are your serious and light writers. On the edgier side of chick lit, there are the sharp voices of Marian Keyes, Jennifer Weiner and Emily Giffin. If you're looking for a breezier read , take a peek at Lindsay Kelk, Sophie Kinsella and Carole Matthews. I think these women are all great writers who create relatable, flawed and hysterical characters in plots that are almost too crazy to be true. Almost. And that is what draws us readers in.

As I began marketing and promoting Finding Lucas, I wondered if I should call it chick lit or a romantic comedy. I am proud to be a published chick lit writer--a dream I've had ever since I read my very first chick lit novel: Milk Run by Sarah Mlynowski. But, since I want a variety of readers to find and buy Finding Lucas, I decided to use both.

Finding Lucas, with its bright magenta cover and a main character in her thirties trying to figure out who she is and what she wants is absolutely chick lit. But, Jamie Ross, the main character, goes through some very painful and life-altering changes and comes to terms with a demeaning relationship and an unusual family. The language is a bit salty, sex is often mentioned and how Jamie tries to find Lucas causes one mishap after another. Edgy chick lit it is.

And, for those who think chick lit is flaky, unintelligent and simply about women searching for their perfect pair of jeans, they are so wrong. It is about women trying to make the very best of their lives, despite obstacles, challenges and maybe a tiny addiction to chocolate, or in Jamie's case, television.

I write chick lit. I write romantic comedies. And I am proud to write about flawed women who find some sense of self-worth and contentment searching for whatever it is that will make them happy. No, it is not literary fiction, but it never assumes to be.

Whether you call it romantic comedy or chick lit, the wonderful genre is still popular, despite reports that it died years ago. So, if you're looking for a novel about a woman who may feel just like you do, ignore the bad press and eye rolling and grab yourself a pastel coloured book. You'll be surprised by how happy it will make you.

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