by Louise Wise
As a reader, there are heaps of chick lit books to choose from. You have your Sophie Kinsella to Jane Porter, Matt Dunn to Nick Hornby—all light and fluffy. Usually. Chick lit evolves, and that’s the one thing that makes it so popular and able to hold its own among your thrillers, historicals and the like.
Nowadays, you’ll find ‘cross-over’ chick lit—chick lit that has a mixture of other genres in them: paranormal chick lit, suspense chick lit. I’ve yet to see a horror or a science-fiction chick lit. Probably out there though, and it’s just that I haven’t looked hard enough. But no matter the sub-genre, they are always upbeat, fun and modern.
Chick lit doesn’t even have to be about romance. In fact, it’s more about relationships, emotions and current life. It’s not all about shopping and shoes, as some literary snobs like to point out (and probably helped give it the ‘chick lit’ title!). It’s contemporary, cheeky, funny and real.
That’s what I like about the genre the most. Keeping it real. I’ve always liked a dose of reality in my writing. Even my sci-fi (Eden) was ‘real-life’ as one reviewer put it. My latest book’s title is quite a mouthful: The Fall of the Misanthrope: I bitch therefore I am and I’ve incorporated my usual ‘real life’ theme and, this time, it’s depression. The main character, Valerie Anthrope is suffering with the disorder, only she’s burying her head in the sand, or in her case, work. She knows she’s ill, yet her way of dealing with it is to ignore it. It takes a nosey stranger to make her see that she needs help.
But how far should you go in making a ‘sensitive’ subject funny? Life, in general, is funny and tragic. And to help deal with these heartrending events, we joke about them. That’s why we laugh hysterically at the comic with his ‘close to the knuckle’ joke. Misanthrope isn’t a book taking the micky out of depression, neither does my character have a miraculous cure. By the end of the book, she still has depression, but it leaves the reading satisfied that she’ll work through her demons.
The Fall of the Misanthrope: I bitch therefore I am asks the questions: nurture or nature? What makes us us? It’s available to buy now as a Kindle download from Amazon (free for this weekend (21st – 24th October) . The paperback will be released in October.
If you want to discuss this subject on Twitter use the hashtag #wwbb