Wow, as we wind down International Chick Lit Month. It's been such an awesome opportunity to have all these great Guest Posts and it has given me ideas to run in other months of the year.
Today we have author "Louise Wise" and her Guest Post about Partying and Chick Lit.
Party like a Chick Lit Writer – by Louise Wise
‘You’re an author? Wow, that’s really cool.’
‘Thanks. I enjoy it.’
‘So what do you write?’
‘Sorry, just thought when you said you’re an “author” you write real books.’
‘I do write real books. Paperbacks and eBooks.’
‘But chick lit?’
‘A genre that usually means books written by women for women with relationship and or work issues. Sometimes they are romance; most have a dose of reality, but all are humorous and light hearted. Yes, chick lit. I write chick lit.’
‘I guess it’ll be practise for you until you begin to write proper books.’
‘I do write proper –’
‘I suppose it’s because they are easy to write and you can churn them out in a week. You know, you ought to learn to write a classic. That’ll bring in big money.’
‘You can’t just write a classic. A classic depends on its popularity and staying power --’
‘Or a good thriller. The Miss Marple books do very well. Can’t you learn to write a Miss Marple?’
‘Don’t think that’ll go down too well with the family of Agatha Christie.’
‘I read a book about a boy who grew up in 1940 London and had to be evacuated during the war. Can’t you write something like that? Hmghghh!’
I walk away, grabbing a glass of Bolly from a tray of a hovering waiter. The waiter is looking on in shock at the woman with a prawn canapé stuffed in her mouth who is staring after me in absolute shock.
‘Never,’ I say to the waiter, ‘criticise an author’s genre.’
My name’s Louise Wise and I write chick lit. It’s an admittance that causes raised eyebrows, smirks or pity in some circles. Shame. But everyday issues are in a chick lit novel; issues that today’s women sometimes struggle with: relationships, men, children, parents, money, work, unemployment, loneliness.
I tend to write about loneliness, and how possible it is to be lonely when surrounded by people.
My fourth novel is called: Taming of the Misanthropist
Being a misanthropist is Valerie Anthrope’s defence.She is a cut-throat business woman and happy being alone. She has no time for romantic trivialities, and definitely no time for Ellen who nominates herself as her fairy godmother. But what of Ellen’s playboy nephew? The one who Ellen coerces into helping Valerie and buys insurance from her brokerage? The one who is full of himself and smitten with Valerie’s cool demeanour. His cocky know-it-all manner, posse of female admirers and playboy reputation are more than enough to put Valerie off – or is it enough to keep her interested? After all, being in a relationship with a playboy means there’s no burden of commitment.
Or is there?
The launch date for Misanthrope isn’t finalised yet (hopefully August), and the cover is still working progress so I can’t offer that either. But I can offer an excerpt. Here’s the opening:
There was that woman again.
I saw her out of the corner of my eye. She was sitting on the wooden bench looking up at the church and then occasionally in my direction. I crouched at the graveside, pushing stems of daisies and carnations through the wire holes in the top of the vase.
Crikey, it was cold. I stood up and pulled my gloves back on before stepping back to admire my handiwork. The flowers looked pretty. There was a plaque – but only my brother was buried there, my parents’ ashes had been scattered over the top.
I picked up the paper the flowers had been wrapped in and mashed it in my hands. I could still feel the curious stare of the woman, whom I did my best to ignore. The bins were by the bench. I headed over, keeping my head low.
‘Hello,’ she said.
I nodded, dropped the litter and turned away. I pulled up the collar on my coat, not only to block out this stranger’s inquisitive eyes but because the air was stinging my cheeks. I wondered how she could sit for so long without freezing up.
‘I’m Ellen,’ she said. Good manners made me turn back.
‘I’m Valerie, good day.’ Oh, how very English and polite, I thought, as I walked away.
‘November’s turned cold, hasn’t it?’ she said standing and falling into step beside me. ‘Do you think we’ll have snow?’
I walked faster, but the woman kept pace with me.
‘We’ve been lucky with the weather so far, but I think it can be safely said that winter has arrived,’ she said. ‘Are you a winter person, Valerie?’
Not only had she invaded my space, she was asking anal questions too. She didn’t bother to wait for an answer, which was good, seeing as I wasn’t going to supply one but prattled on with another:
‘Who’re you visiting?’ She nodded over to my brother’s grave.
With the gates in sight, I afforded her a brief glance. ‘Not any more.’
Her smile waned a little, but I strode forward, hoping to be first through the gates. But it didn’t happen like that and we ended up locked together between black iron.
She burst into peals of laughter before stepping back and allowing me to exit first. I gave her a no-nonsense smile, and stepped through the gates towards my car. The car park was almost empty, so I couldn’t understand why a bright red Mini was parked so close to my Vectra.
I heard Ellen giggling behind me, and I had a horrible feeling the Mini was hers. I bleeped my car open, but there was no way I could get access unless it was from the passenger side.
I turned to Ellen. She grinned at me, aimed the keys and bleeped her car. ‘Brilliant things, aren’t they?’ she said.
She jiggled her keys. ‘These bleepy things.’
I placed my bag on the bonnet of my Vectra, and pointed at her car. ‘You’ve an entire car park at your disposal, and you chose to park not only next to me, but right on top so I can’t get in!’
She stared at me, but much to my chagrin, her smile only got wider. She winked, then circled to the driver’s side of her car where she slid behind the wheel. ‘Take care of that blood pressure of yours,’ she said and closed the door.
She drove away leaving me staring after her in shock.
‘Cheeky bitch,’ I said. I climbed into my car and drove towards work.
There was a holdup at the traffic lights, which I couldn’t understand because the lights were green. Impatiently, I stabbed at my horn with the heel of my hand, and a car in front of the car I was behind shot off just as the lights changed to red. I noticed it was the Mini from the graveyard. ‘Typical,’ I muttered.
I thought back to the first time I’d seen her. It was summer time, and she was on that same bench and I was tending to the grave. She’d smiled but hadn’t attempted to speak. Come to think of it, I’d seen her before then too, and I remembered her because she was wearing a bright green raincoat with a huge sunflower on the back. At first glance I thought it had been a target board.
The lights changed and I eased my car forward. Obviously she had lost family too, I thought. I’ll change my visits from the middle of every month to the end. That way I’d not encounter her again.