Why does author Laura Kilmartin write chick lit? Find out here!

Thank you, Laura Kilmartin, for taking over my blog today and telling us why you love chick lit. I agree wholeheartedly with your definition of chick lit, and I found your post as interesting and engaging to read as your delightful first novel, Next Year I’ll Be Perfect. I am anxiously awaiting book 2!!

 

Meredith – congratulations on the release of Novelista Girl!  I loved Blogger Girl and can’t wait to read your new book!  Thank you also for inviting me to post to your blog today and share why I like writing chick lit. Before I discuss my own writing style, though, I want to share what I consider to be characteristics of the chick lit genre.

At the highest level, chick lit novels feature female protagonists who try to overcome some kind of obstacle or achieve a goal that is relatable to readers.  These novels often – but not always – include a romantic element, but unlike romance novels, chick lit love interests are generally important more for what they bring to or reflect in the main character.  Most chick lit is written in a light-hearted narrative style and almost always ends on a positive note for the main character. This doesn’t mean that the main character always succeeds in achieving the goals set for herself, but she is satisfied in the way life has unfolded and has learned something new along the way.

Now, this is just my definition of chick lit, and I’m sure there are dozens of incredibly well-written exceptions out there that prove the rule.  In fact, if you poll ten different chick lit readers and authors, you could come up with different definitions, which I’d love to discuss in the comments.

But back to the original question:  Why do I enjoy writing chick lit?

First and foremost, I love to craft a happy ending.

I’ve read and will continue to read wonderful books where things don’t end well for the main characters.

I mean, Beth March dies, people! My 12 year old self was not prepared for that heartache, but I love Little Women all the same.

When I write, though, I make sure that the people I’ve come to care about will have their happily-ever-after.  That doesn’t mean that bad things don’t happen throughout the course of the story.  In fact, bad things have to happen so that readers feel satisfied that the main character has earned the happiness that has come her way.  That also doesn’t mean that the main character will achieve the happy ending she set after at the beginning of the novel.  Plot twists and turns often take her in an entirely different direction, but I like writing stories that ultimately ends in a positive way.

Another reason I write chick lit is because I like writing main characters who are likeable, but flawed. I’ve read a few novels where the main character is perfect, and while bad things may happen, her actions and reactions are always of the pitch-perfect, Papa-John-Walton-would-approve variety.

I don’t know about you, but that isn’t real life to me.

People are flawed.  They overreact. They get cranky and say things they don’t really mean.  They misread situations because they don’t have the benefit of hindsight or knowing what is going on in other peoples’ heads. They also leap in head first to defend their friends without worrying about petty annoyances like facts. Real women worry about office politics, raising healthy children and ways to express their social consciousness.  They also worry about looking too hippy in their new little black dress and wonder why the other soccer moms didn’t like the status they just posted on Facebook.  Writing real, balanced women is both incredibly challenging and so much fun when you get it right.

 

Finally, I love to write in the chick lit style which is light-hearted, but not light.  Breezy and whimsical at times, but always set on a substantial foundation.  There is humor, but not at the expense of the emotional depth of the story.

In a nutshell, life is fun and life is funny and the way I enjoy writing humor peppered with pop culture references gravitates toward a style that is common in the chick lit genre.  Here’s an example from my next novel when the main character returns to find her paralegal rushing to tell her that their office is in crisis:

As I walked through the door to my office reception area, Natalie leapt from the front desk and came running toward me. I took an involuntary step backward, fearing she might play Dino to my Fred Flintstone returning home for the day.

Like a dog sensing the edges of an invisible fence she’d been trained not to cross, she quivered a few inches shy of throwing herself at me in a full body hug. “I am so glad to see you! David Hastings is on the phone and Eric is in your office.”

 

Something serious is about to go down for our main character, but I didn’t have to write about it in a serious way.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that a good chick lit story is like taking a day hike up a mountain.  The main character takes along her best friends, they share some laughs along the way, and even though she encounters some barriers and may even need to change paths a few times, the reader isn’t too worried, knowing that she will eventually reach the summit.

Except, of course, I don’t really like to hike.

But I do like to read and write about people hiking. While I’m on my couch. Covered with an afghan. Drinking tea.

LauraKilmartin

Laura Kilmartin

lkilmartin@msn.com

http://laurakilmartin.com

@LauraCKilmartin

NYIBP

 

 

 

 

 

 

Novelista Girl – Coming January 6, 2016

Readers first met sassy Kimberly Long in Blogger Girl, and now the feisty New Yorker is back in a sequel packed with quick wit, friendship, heartache, and, of course, romance.

Kim runs the most popular chick lit book blog on the web, loves playing house with her sexy lawyer boyfriend, Nicholas, and is finally pursuing her lifelong dream to become a published author. At first glance, her life is five-pink-champagne-flutes worthy. 

But is there more to the story than meets the eye?

 After hearing the phrase “chick lit is dead” more times than she’s read Bridget Jones’s Diary, Kim is driven to desperate measures, seeking advice from up-and-coming chick lit author, Hannah Marshak, her high school nemesis and resident “mean girl.” As if Kim doesn’t have enough on her plate balancing her secretarial duties with her blog Pastel Is the New Black, shrugging off the growing pile of agent rejections, and keeping her best friend from turning green over Kim’s budding friendship with Hannah, Nicholas is so blinded by his career ambitions, he doesn’t see that their home sweet home could use more than a dash of sugar. 

This is the year when all of Kim’s dreams—professional and romantic—are supposed to come true, but will the story have a happily ever after, or will Kim end up unpublished and all alone?

This novel can be read as a sequel or as a standalone and is best accompanied by a cocktail, preferably a pink one.

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celebration of chick lit tour

I’ve been a very bad blogger. Someone should spank me—please? JUST KIDDING! That’s a shout-out to a private joke between me and my late boss/BFF, who would have turned 58 today.

 

Anyway, I’ve been extremely busy gearing up to release my fifth novel, Novelista Girl. We have a blurb and cover (both to be revealed in a couple of weeks) and a tentative publication date of December 14th. I’m in the midst of going through the proofed manuscript and putting together a fabulous pre-release tour which has left me little time for blogging.

 

When I released Blogger Girl in 2013, I hosted a Celebration of Bloggers tour on my blog to turn the spotlight off of the author and onto the fabulous book bloggers I work with regularly. When I released How Do You Know? in 2014, I hosted an Age is Just a Number tour and asked authors, bloggers, and others to share their thoughts on aging. To ring in the publication of Novelista Girl, I’ve decided to host a Celebration of Chick Lit tour. As anyone who has read Blogger Girl knows, Kim Long is a champion for the genre of chick lit and since Novelista Girl follows her journey, I want to know why some of my favorite authors write chick lit despite the pesky phrase we always hear that “chick lit is dead.”

 

Chick lit is so not dead and I will have about fifteen authors on my blog to prove it, including Erin Brady, Cat Lavoie, Becky Monson, Laura Chapman, Stacey Wiedower and more. I will also tell you why I write chick lit.

 

This tour will get underway as we approach Thanksgiving. For now, I wish you all a happy Tuesday!

Excerpt to “Blogger Girl” sequel and Introducing Felicia Harrison

This time last year, I put out a challenge to the “blogosphere” to set me up with a man – not just any man but an appealing and available man I actually liked. In return, I vowed to name a character of my next book (the sequel to Blogger Girl) after anyone whose matchmaking led to an actual date. You can read the post here:

Well, it’s a good thing I have my own ways of getting dates because you guys FAILED miserably. Seriously. Thanks for nothing people…

One person did, however, stand out among all others. My interactions with this woman were very limited at the time, but she really made it her mission to set me up. She, also, failed. But her efforts have earned her the prize as well as a true friend who adores her.

After much discussion, she has chosen to remain anonymous so rather than use her real name, I have named a character after her alter ego, aka the fake name she gave to men when she was single and not interested.

I’d like to introduce you all to Felicia Harrison. The below excerpt is subject to change since I’m still in editing.

I spotted Felicia immediately. She was sitting on a black upholstered couch scribbling in a leather-bound journal. As I approached, she looked up and smiled. Standing up, she said, “Kim?”

I returned her smile and nodded. My throat was dry and I swallowed hard, praying my voice wouldn’t crack. “Hi.”

Motioning toward the couch, she said, “Is this okay? I got here early and snagged the only open spots. I’m glad you got here before I had to fight someone for the space.” She laughed.

I scanned the crowded lounge and smiled timidly. “It’s fine. I hope I’m not late.”

“You’re right on time. Do you want a drink?”

The answer to her question was an unequivocal “yes” but I didn’t know the proper protocol. Was it a trick question? 

As if reading my mind, Felicia said, “Having met with many new authors in my fifteen years as a literary agent, I find a drink calms their nerves and they almost never make drunk fools of themselves.”

I bit my lip. Almost?

Felicia laughed. “I’m making an executive decision and getting us both glasses of Champagne. You sit and protect our space.”

I chuckled. “Okay. Thanks.”

Even though I had seen pictures of Felicia during various stages of agent-stalking, I discreetly checked her out as she ordered our drinks at the bar. With fifteen years’ experience, she was probably about forty, although she could easily pass for thirty-five. She was tall (at least compared to me) and thin with killer legs and warm brown eyes. Her chestnut brown hair was styled all one length except for bangs. She was pretty and so far, seemed as kind as her appearance suggested. 

Returning from the bar, Felicia handed me a glass of Champagne before sitting down next to me. Then she clinked her glass against mine. “Better?”

I took a small sip, determined to pace myself. “Much better,” I confessed. The Champagne took the edge off my nerves, but I was far from tranquil. I had conversed with many agents in my blogger capacity, but this was my first face-to-face as an author and I didn’t want to blow it. 

Felicia smiled. “Good. Thanks for meeting me today.”

“Thanks for asking me! And for reading A Blogger’s Life.” I felt a pulsing in my throat in anticipation of the conversation about to take place.

Felicia put her glass down on the table in front of us. “It was my pleasure. It’s a great story, Kim. You should be proud.”

Lifting my chin, I said, “Thank you.” So far so good.

“Although the market is flooded with bloggers turned authors, a fictional novel from the perspective of a book blogger is fresh.” Tipping her head to the side, she queried, “It is fiction, right?”

“Yes. I mean, I relied on my own experiences as a book blogger for authenticity, but the story itself as well as the characters are completely fictitious.”

Felicia nodded. “You’ve got talent Kim and I think the novel has a wide appeal for younger readers of chick lit, romantic comedy, and humorous women’s fiction. But…”

But what??? Nope. You’ll have to wait until the book is released to read what comes next.

For those of you who didn’t win, it could have been your name up there. Aren’t you jealous?

Thanks for reading! To return to the FICTION WRITERS BLOG HOP on Julie Valerie’s Book Blog, click here: http://www.julievalerie.com/fiction-writers-blog-hop-june-2015/