We can relate to the two Melissas of Chick Lit Central in more ways than one. They grew up together. We grew up together. They’re BFFs. We’re BFFs. They live across the country from each other. We live across the country from each other. The list goes on and on and on. So, we’re excited that they’re joining the International Chick Lit Month partay and writing about the power of female friendships.
INTERNATIONAL CHICK LIT MONTH PRESENTS….THE LADIES OF CHICK LIT CENTRAL
I have been an avid reader since I was five years old. I carried bags of books with me everywhere I went (I still carry a book at all times). Instead of playing outside with my friends, I was often holed up in my room with my nose in a book. I couldn’t get enough. My first experience with chick lit (designed for the 8-12 year old group) was the book Mandy by Julie Andrews. I still love that book to this day. I then moved on to The Babysitters Club and Sweet Valley High series. In my 20s I discovered Marian Keyes and Jane Green and my passion for chick lit grew from there. I love the tales of friendship, love, and humor and often find myself thinking about the stories I have read for days or even weeks afterwards.
The past year, writing for Chick Lit Central: The Blog has brought so much joy to my life. Not only have I had the opportunity to read a plethora of great books, but I have also gotten to know some really amazing women. After all, aren’t female friendships one of the main themes of chick lit?
When Melissa A. and I first started this project, I never could have imagined that we would get to “meet” so many wonderful authors. Every single one of them has been kind, supportive, and accommodating. Some have sent us signed books, chatted with us on the phone and via email, or just been there ready to offer advice. The generosity of these women has been truly staggering and I love being a part of this talented community.
The followers of Chick Lit Central have been such an important part of our success. Without them, we wouldn’t even have CLC. We really owe a lot to those who read all of the interviews and guest posts and enter the giveaways.
My favorite part of this whole experience though is rekindling my friendship with Melissa A. Melissa and I grew up together (two doors down) but lost touch after high school when I moved to Arizona. Now we are closer than ever and can tell one another just about everything. Our mutual love of all things chick lit has brought us back together and for that I will be forever grateful.
While watching the movie of “Bridget Jones’s Diary” recently, I was thinking back to my first experiences with chick lit. Bridget Jones was definitely my first foray into the field. I didn’t really know of any other authors or titles at the time, but I knew I loved that story and fell in love with it all over again when I saw the movie. The following year, I was introduced to Marian Keyes through “Watermelon.” I’d read her other books as they came out but that was about it for my chick lit collection. That all changed in 2002, when I read “See Jane Date” by Melissa Senate, thanks to a girl from my office. Soon I wanted to get my hands on whatever chick lit novels were out there. I started reading Jane Green’s novels and became “acquainted” with Jennifer Weiner by the end of that year. I would exchange books with another friend, as well.
In 2009, I reconnected with Melissa P. and we immediately discovered a mutual love for all things chick lit. I started e-mailing with her, the woman from my office (with whom I also reconnected) and my friend with whom I liked to exchange books. Then I realized I wanted to connect with more chick lit fans, and started Chick Lit Central. Not much happened with it that year, but then I was inspired to revisit the group last spring and do more with it. (I think it was because of Rowan Coleman’s status short story contests.) Soon, that led to me starting the blog. Sarah Pekkanen contacted me to review her first novel, “The Opposite of Me,” around that same time. I had seen other book bloggers reviewing books, interviewing authors and doing giveaways. I felt that I could do that with my blog, and soon my “baby” was born (figuratively, of course).
When I landed an interview with Jane Green, I asked Melissa P. to help. Soon after, I decided to make her a partner for the blog. It has definitely strengthened the bonds of our friendship. We even got to talk via Skype earlier this year (and plan to do so again soon).
Through various connections made from the blog and Facebook group, I’ve been getting to know both familiar and new authors better through more personal e-mails. I’ve also gotten to know other book bloggers and avid chick lit readers this way. For me, chick lit is about connecting with other women – readers, writers, bloggers and publicists both locally and around the world. I am also excited to have a new generation for whom I can pass along my love for chick lit (and my novel collection).