One question every author loves to answer is, “Why did you choose to write in such-and-such a genre?” This inquiry allows them to speak passionately about their love of archeology, historical figures and soup. Lucky me, I don’t normally get asked the standard fare. I get, “Why do you write romantic comedies instead of women’s fiction?” My initial response is to bristle as if romantic comedy, a.k.a., chick-lit, isn’t substantial enough to have value in its own right. The interviewer often qualifies their question by offering, “The guest posts you write and articles on your own blog deal with the realities of life; cancer, multiple miscarriage and aging parents.” Then they suck up, “You should really write women’s fiction. You’d be so good at it!”
Again and again I answer, I love to read women’s fiction but it’s not for me as a writer. Women’s fiction is raw and real, full of tears and introspection, which is great if you just pop in as the reader or writer of a five hundred word guest post. Six hours or six minutes in another person’s shoes is a nice escape from our own reality. But to write it, you have to live it, soak in it and become one with your character’s milieu. I don’t have the emotional fortitude for it.
I want to laugh. I need to laugh in order to traverse the jungle of life. When you read my books I give you the following guarantees. I guarantee a happy ending. I promise, while real issues appear they will be cloaked in humor and absurdity. I swear you will be rewarded with a vacation from weighty issues. I can spend the hundreds of hours necessary to generate these volumes because they’re a vacation from everyday life. I crave the creation of them.
Unfortunately, for the last decade, the mainstream publishing world is convinced that chick-lit is dead and therefor won’t print it unless your last name is Kinsella, Keyes or Weiner (who all established their marketability long before mainstream publishing went off the genre). As Sophie, Marian and Jennifer have so beautifully proven, women want to laugh. They want a break from their daily struggles. They want to know it’s all going to work out in the end. They want to be Bridget Jones for six hours.
Because of mainstream publishing’s verdict that chick-lit is less worthy than women’s fiction, small publishing houses and self-publishing have gained footing in the literary world. Hurray! Alas, these avenues are fraught with budgetary concerns and visibility issues. What to do? If you are a lover of humor and romance, I highly recommend you use Amazon’s offer of a free sample sent to your kindle. Branch out into new authors without the monetary commitment. You will see that regardless of what the big wigs want you to think, chick-lit is alive and well and as funny as ever.
Of course I recommend my books and suggest you start with The Reinvention of Mimi Finnegan. If a heroine with a bunion on Weight Watchers can win the love jackpot, so can you! But I also highly endorse Becky Monson, Rich Amooi, Tracie Banister and Lindy Dale’s books. I could rattle off at least another twenty names but you will easily find them on Amazon once you start branching out.
Don’t let big publishing dictate the number of rom coms you read. Venture out and I promise an endless supply of wonderful escapism!