This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Last year I was interviewed for the Culture Show about my dirty little chick lit reading secret. They liked the idea that I worked in a military museum yet loved romantic fiction. It aired a couple of weeks ago as part of their World Book Night celebrations, with Sue Perkins looking into why people read popular fiction rather than literary fiction.
The whole experience made me really think about what I was reading and writing. Because I work in the arts, have a degree and masters degree and like cultural experiences, I’m supposed to appreciate literary fiction. Only given a choice on holiday or after a long day at work between a chick lit or a literary fiction, I’ll go for chick lit 99% of the time.
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When I was interviewed the researchers were really lovely, and took time to try and understand why I loved chick lit, but I don’t think they got it. They hadn’t read any chick lit books. They suggested that maybe one day I’d write historical fiction, after all it seemed like a logical step as I work in a museum.
The funny thing is that it isn’t the first time I’ve had people suggest that maybe I could write another genre, as if writing chick lit wasn’t really good enough.
Clearly those people have not read chick lit, and have definitely not tried to write it.
I have friends that would categorically not read chick lit, except for mine of course should I get published. Yet they watch trashy television and have Dirty Dancing as one of their favourite films. So why is chick lit seen as more trashy or worse than films and TV?
I don’t think I would ever look down at people’s book choices. I’m even marrying a man who doesn’t read books (I know, he’s crazy) but it’s his choice not to read.
This is what I really wish people would do when I told them I was writing chick lit:
That they don’t think any less of me intellectually for writing it. That they don’t criticise a genre when they’ve never read anything from it. That they recognise it is really pretty hard writing a good book, any good book it doesn’t matter what its about. And finally that if I ever get published they judge it on the merits of it being a good book and not on its genre.