Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Chick Lit and Men + Giveaway

As part of the Romance and Me Reading Challenge since August is Chick Lit Romance month, we have the good luck of having two authors join us and tell us about how they discovered this genre and why they chose to write their stories in it. My second guest is very special, as he is a man writing chick lit novel! Please give Obren Bokich a warm welcome!

According to Wikipedia, Chick Lit is a fiction genre that addresses issues of modern womanhood, often humorously and lightheartedly. Which is interesting, because while that is what I set out to do in writing The Cinderella Blues, I had no idea I was working in such an exclusive genre. The first clue came when my editor pronounced the book "Chick Lit." The second was when the publicist suggested publishing it with a female pseudonym! I didn't agree to this because I think if Ann Beattie gets to write about Charles' Chilly Scenes of Winter with her own name, I should be able to write about Kat's Cinderella Blues with mine, or, as my proto-feminist mother would insist, there should be no gender barriers for ambition. Also because I'm selfish—I'm proud of the book and don't want someone else, even an imaginary friend, getting credit for it.

Having re-read that last sentence, I'd like to add it's unjust that guys aren't allowed to use smiley face emoticons.

OK, in fairness to both editor and publicist, I admit that most of the writers whose work I've enjoyed and admired who've written about "issues of modern womanhood, humorously and lightheartedly" have been women. A short list (assuming that every writer who writes about her epoch is "modern"), would include Jane Austen, Maxine Hong Kingston, Flannery O'Connor, Carson McCullers, Eudora Welty, Dorothy Parker and Nora Ephron. And have you read Erika Krouse's brilliant short stories? Which reminds me, I'm not without gender prejudice when it comes to writers—I'm more likely to read a New Yorker short story if it's a woman author (which is how I found Erika Krouse). They seem to more often "...capture that longing so perfectly," as Kat says in The Cinderella Blues, meaning the perfectly distilled emotional moment that is the heart and soul of short story.

The Cinderella Blues was actually inspired by my disgust at seeing Sandra Bullock forced to kneel in an elegant short skirt suit before a man on a New York sidewalk in the film The Proposal. And if you've experienced a New York sidewalk you know this is not just disgusting on a feminist level. The most important thing to me about Kat's story is the humor isn't degrading to her or her girlfriends. Kat is a funny, strong whole person, who doesn't suffer fools easily, although she does have to deal with more than a few while living and working and yearning for love in Los Angeles. The reader responses to The Cinderella Blues that have been the most gratifying have been from women who have said Kat is the kind of best friend they'd love to have. I wonder if this might be an excellent definition of Chick Lit?

The Cinderella Blues (Thuh Sin'-dur-rel'-uh Bluze)
The phenomena whereby otherwise intelligent, capable, successful professional women are convinced they need rescuing by a prince.

From BOOK LOVERS INC.: "Kat is dreaming of, not just Mr. Right, but Prince Charming. She's a career woman working her way up the ladder, but she still thinks she wants to be rescued. The Cinderella Blues is all about the frogs she kisses along the way. And not only are they froggy, but swampy and muddy into the bargain. Ribbit! But Kat has a fairy godmother. And some terrific friends to help her along the way. Including to remind her that she doesn't need Prince Charming to rescue her. She's more than capable of rescuing herself. All Kat needs is to get her head out of the clouds and figure out what it is she really wants. She can make her own dreams come true. And if she rescues herself, she'll have a chance at a real happy ending, with a real man, not a fairy-tale prince. But also not a frog."

Obren Bokich lives in Los Angeles. He is a screenwriter, producer, songwriter, playwright and children's book author. The Cinderella Blues is his first novel.

For more information, visit him at Goodreads.


Black Bear Media is giving away a copy of The Cinderella Blues by Obren Bokich to a lucky reader!

You have two chances to enter:

1) just leave a comment to Obren either about his post, the chick lit genre, any of your favourite books/movies in this genre, what introduced you to it, or any other topic you'd like to discuss, or tell us according to you what would be the definition of chick lit?

2) or just submit the link to your review of a chick lit romance HERE.

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 1 September 2012!

Good luck!

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