Tuesday, March 21, 2006

From One Beach Chick to Another

Can a gal spend an evening reading chick lit and still respect herself in the morning? Read that question on the NPR site yesterday (and I take the Fifth over why I was there in the first place)

Of course, the writer was speaking about the trashy versions (Bridget Jones, anyone?). But the article got me thinking about the proliferation of the genre and the subgenres that my writing style falls into. Chocolate Beach itself falls somewhere in the sub-genre of Christian Chick-Lit. My character is married, so maybe that makes my book Wife-lit. Then again, she’s a mom. So maybe it’s Mom-lit. Still, she’s one cool beach chick, so maybe I oughtta just stick with Chick-lit and let it go at that.

Decisions, decisions.

I’m digressing, of course, avoiding the answer to the question. I think that’s because it goes deeper for me. For years I’ve imagined myself writing sweeping literary masterpieces set against tantalizingly gorgeous backdrops of rolling green hills and azure skies. Even tried to write a couple. Let me tell you, you haven’t seen melodrama like that. Ever.

So I continued to hone my craft, writing and selling articles to various publications, always hoping to find my way back to fiction. It happened for me one sunny summer day when I picked up a pink cartoon-covered book over at B&N. That thing was sassy, sarcastic and written in first person. From page one, I was sucked into the character’s mind and I never looked back.

I had discovered my niche.

And yet I hid my discovery for a while. I mean, the world values serious writers, do they not? (Yeah, right, as if I'm not serious.) So I guess you could say I struggled for a while. Struggled over whether I could write chick-lit style novels and still show my face at church. And you know what? I got over it. Big time.

Kristin Billerbeck has this quote by Jennifer Armstrong on her email tagline: “The biggest difference between them and the snobs who think they're writing the ‘great American novel’ is that chick lit writers have a realistic sense of their place in the world.”

So, yeah, I guess you could say that after a night of chick-lit frivolity, I still respect myself in the morning. Even more so now that I’m not working against the tide, trying to be something I’m not.

Speaking of being something I’m not, take a look at my new blog title. I write chick-lit style novels set along the California coast. I’m thinking my new title defines my writing style best—and I’m not afraid to say it.

Btw, sorry to make you wait, Jamie :-)


Geekwif said...

I'd never even heard of the term chick-lit until I first visited Holy Mama's blog. Until today, I thought it was a purely Christian genre. So now I've been set straight, and I'm curious. I've got a Kristin Billerbeck book on hold at the library. I'm looking forward to my first dip into chick-lit waters.

And for what it's worth, I don't see what's wrong with writing this style. We all need to kick back, relax, and just have fun now and then!

Chaos-Jamie said...

Preach it sister! There's something to be said for being gobbled up in the now. I never expected to be remembered for posterity anyway.

and geekwif, be careful to not drink a latte while you read Kristin's book or your pages will be covered in it. Or maybe that's just because I'm married to an engineer....