Continuing with the theme of International Chick Lit Month.
Today readers, we have author Sue Moorcroft featuring on The Phantom Paragrapher talking to us "Why she loves Chick Lit".
Guest blog by Sue Moorcroft for International Chick Lit month.
I love chick lit. I love all kinds of books in associated genres, too – ‘romantic fiction’ probably covers them– but chick lit has a special place in my heart.
Why? Maybe it depends upon my own definition of the term.
A retired senior editor from Transworld once told me that when the trade first began using the phrase, it wasn’t ‘chick lit’ but ‘chic lit’. As in ‘tres chic’. It was a genre for the contemporary reader, where youngish women with individuality told their stories of love and life with humour. From my perspective, it seems that recent years have attached other definers such as ‘urban’, ‘pastel covers’ and ‘get drunk and make mistakes’. I’m not saying that these latter elements don’t crop up in chick/chic lit – but they’re definitely not all that the genre is.
For me, it is still about sassy women with whom I empathise. They’re funny and quirky and they have their own take on things. They have a libido and emotional needs and these are usually given a good gallop in the course of the book.
The main thing is that chick lit makes me feel good.
Although booksellers and the publishing industry sometimes say that chick lit isn’t chick lit unless it has an urban setting, readers blithely ignore that, and, if you read Amazon reviews et al, tend to attach the label to any lightish, entertaining, contemporary fiction written with a female central character, generally with a big love story at its heart. For this reason, my own books are referred to as chick lit – although my publisher, Choc Lit, require a well-developed hero, too – and the chick lit label is one with which I’m supremely happy. Every week I see a story heralding the death of chick lit, and yet … look at the charts! Whether you want to call it chick lit or romantic fiction or women’s fiction (that’s if other women don’t shout you down about that), it is what it is. Feelgood.
In the last few years, since something really bad happened, I’ve tended to read nothing but feelgood fiction. I used to read a lot of crime and autobiography, but reading is my passion. Why use it to make myself sad or shocked? When a particular book has seen me through a bleak day, I’ve even e-mailed or messaged the writer to say thanks.
So imagine what it means that readers have begun to do the same to me!
Through Twitter and Facebook, or via the ‘contact me’ button on my website, I’m lucky enough to receive messages saying, ‘I’ve just finished your book and it’s great!’ But the really precious ones are those that say, ‘I’m recovering from surgery and your book really cheered me up.’ Or, ‘I’ve just lost my husband and I don’t want to read about bad things because it’s like looking in a mirror. Your book took me away from that for a while.’
I feel privileged if anything I write can alleviate bad stuff for a reader – because other writers have done the same for me.
Thank you writers, thank you readers. And thank you chick lit.
Sue Moorcroft writes romantic novels of dauntless heroines and irresistible heroes for Choc Lit. Her latest book, Love & Freedom, won the Best Romantic Read Award 2011 at the Festival of Romance.