Thursday, May 31, 2012

ICLM - Guest Post - Lisa Heidke

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.

Hi Paula,
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 right direction.
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!

Happy Chick Lit Month!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for having me over, Paula! It was a fun post to write!


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