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Why I love Chick Lit – an ode to the genre by a reader and writer

I unashamedly adore Chick Lit, I’d say its my favourite genre, but first lets see ‘what’ Chick Lit is…

From Wikipedia – Chick lit is genre fiction which addresses issues of modern womanhood, often humorously and lightheartedly.[1] The genre became popular in the late 1990s, with chick lit titles topping bestseller lists and the creation of imprints devoted entirely to chick lit.[2] Although it sometimes includes romantic elements, chick lit is generally not considered a direct subcategory of the romance novel genre, because the heroine’s relationship with her family or friends is often just as important as her romantic relationships.[3]

I’d agree with that, for me that’s what’s so magic about Chick Lit, the way the heroine can be as in love with the hero as she is with her friends and family. For me there’s something fantastic about a book when you find yourself getting tangled in the relationships on the page as you read the book. I’m a huge fan of many authors, from big names like Freya North and Jill Mansell to self published independent authors like my good friend Carey Heywood ( to name but one of an established group of wonderful writers)

In my opinion Chick Lit as a name for the genre does it a bit of a disservice, yes it’s lit for chicks and usually it’s lit written by chicks, but many of the authors are breaking down very serious barriers with their subject matter, all wrapped up in a story that has a happy ending.

Take for instance Pillow Talk by Freya North, in which Petra is a sleepwalker, there’s deep rooted issues which caused the phenomenon and while we learn more about her, we meet Arlo the love interest. Sure, there’s a love story, but there’s so much more. Or Don’t Want To Miss a Thing by Jill Mansell, in which Playboy Dexter inherits his niece and moves to the countryside. Whilst he deals with the death of his sister and sudden parenthood, he meets Molly. Stages of Grace by Carey Heywood deals with the stages of grief at the end of a relationship as well as giving us a hero we can fall in love with.

When I set about writing Fallen, back in 2009, I didn’t even know I was writing a book. I’d signed up for an Open University taster course in creative writing and was set an assignment to create a character who wants something they think they can’t have. Instead of creating someone who wished they could fly, I dug down in myself and wrote a woman who wanted a ‘normal’ life. Fallon wanted the same things as me, for the bad that had gone before to be gone, for something good to happen and so I found myself writing Abner for her. Yes, romance isn’t the cure all we quite often hope it is, half the time I think what’s possible on the page is impossible in life, but it offers us hope. To be involved in something that isn’t explained by science, that’s a feeling rather than a fact and is individual to each and every person on the planet.

Chick Lit authors create believable worlds, we work to create characters you can believe in, characters that you can fall in love with, romantically or not. For me, I made a man so swoon worthy that even I doubt he could exist, but for Fallon, whose belief system is that nobody could love her, she wasn’t good enough for anyone, Abner came along and changed her world. He doesn’t fly (I seem to really be obsessed with being able to fly today, god knows why) nor does he tie her up and beat her (don’t get me started about how I think erotica has hurt Chick Lit) he just loves her for who she is and wants to prove himself to her.

In 2013 we have crops of incredible Chick Lit Writers, yet Amazon doesn’t have it as a sub genre, we have to go for Women’s Contemporary Fiction or Family Saga, when its Chick Lit, plain and simple. It’s a hard genre to work in, agents say there’s no demand, maybe the lack of S&M toting millionaire glittery vampire wizards fighting to the death in a battle for a publishing contract hurts us. Maybe people view the books so be soppy, sentimental and vapid (have you read Fifty Shades? Anastasia couldn’t be more of a self obsessed vapid nincompoop if she tried, which she wouldn’t, Christian wouldn’t like it)

But I am proud to be a Chick Lit Whore, I love made up men more than most real ones, I want the heroines to be my best friends, I find it hilarious when women accidentally walk through Car Washes and when men can’t cope with babies doing poos. Sure, some days I crack open The Hunger Games, or a Scarpetta or two (7 in a month ahem) but at the bottom of it all, the books I’ll devour cover to cover in 24 hours are the Chick Lits.

So do yourself a fair, look up one of the authors I’ve mentioned and try a book, or read mine. Then if you like it, read more, or try ‘people who bought this also bought’ and lose yourself in a world not to dissimilar to the one you’re ignoring while immersed.

P.S. You’ll thank me…I hope

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9 thoughts on “Why I love Chick Lit – an ode to the genre by a reader and writer

  1. Great post! Love that wikipedia definition of Chick Lit. Sometimes I’m not sure what to call my books since the heroines are older than the average CL heroine – but I like wikipedia’s simple “modern woman” description. My gals are modern! I’m hoping the new Bridget Jones release will also boost CL – esp’y CL for women who are a little… more mature! And boo for those agents/publishers that say there’s no demand!

  2. Brava! Favorite part: “maybe the lack of S&M toting millionaire glittery vampire wizards fighting to the death in a battle for a publishing contract hurts us.” Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahahahaha! That MUST be it. Second favorite part: “To be involved in something that isn’t explained by science, that’s a feeling rather than a fact and is individual to each and every person on the planet.” YES! I don’t think having a significant other solves everything, but there is something (however corny it sounds) about love making the ups and downs of everyday life a little more bearable. And I’m sick of defending the importance of it. Thanks for bangin’ on the gong for a little while and reminding us that it’s okay to enjoy the lighter, sweeter, funnier side of life/fiction.

  3. Chick Lit whore! Just loved that category! We def need a title/genre that doesn’t exist yet . . . . !!!

  4. Twilight and 50 Shades digs in the same post? You are my hero, Nikki! 🙂 I love reading and writing Chick Lit and I’ve found that there’s a huge audience for it. Sadly, those readers are being all but ignored by traditional publishers, so I’m thrilled that the indie revolution is helping the genre to make a comeback. Thanks for sharing your Chick Lit love with all of us, Nikki. Keep writing and promoting these great books! 🙂

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