5 Chick-licious Questions
with Jennifer Coburn
1. When did you start writing chick lit?
I have always written conversational, light fiction with a lot of dialogue, even before the term chick lit was coined. I was very fortunate because, just as I decided to write a book, an agent told me about this new burgeoning genre called chick lit. If she had said that dense, esoteric literary fiction was all the rage in publishing, I would have been out of luck.
2. Do you love – or hate – when people call your books chick lit?
It’s an accurate characterization of what I write. I am proud to be called a chick lit author because this genre offers readers light, often humorous, entertainment. A good read can make a huge difference in someone’s life. You don’t need to be Dostoyevsky to be relevant. One of the greatest affirmations of this I received was a Facebook message from an ER nurse who said that my books provide her with much-needed laughter after intense workdays.
What I do mind is when people use the term chick lit as an insult, or to dismiss or disparage someone’s work. It’s really quite simple: If you don’t like chick lit, don’t read it. I don’t care for westerns or spy novels, so I don’t spend my time reading them. Nor do I spend my time putting down the writers and readers of this genre, because, hey viva la difference.
3. Tell us about the new book you’re working on.
My first six novels are chick-lit fiction, but We’ll Always Have Paris is a bit different because it’s a travel memoir. It is the story of my daughter, Katie, and my travels to a dozen European cities over the course of eight years. It begins in Paris when Katie is eight years old, and we are returning this summer to finish the journey. (And eat tons of Nutella crepes!) Throughout the book are flashbacks from my childhood in New York City in the seventies and eighties, growing up with a free-spirited mother and a father who died young because of drug addiction.
Writing this memoir was the most therapeutic project I’ve ever taken on. I found myself in tears as I was compressing my life onto the pages. Honestly, I think everyone should write a memoir because it forces you to examine your memories more closely and look at how events shaped you. Whether or not someone publishes the memoir doesn’t really matter. The exercise of getting your life on paper is emotionally draining, but ultimately freeing.
4. Who are some of your favorite chick lit authors?
There are so many greats. The first chick lit book I read was by Marian Keyes and I’ve loved all of her novels since. I always pre-order Emily Giffin’s books because her stuff is addictive. Jane Green is, of course, wonderful. And Kim Grunenfelder is a comic genius. Jennifer Lancaster’s books are filled with brilliantly bitter observations and I am dying to meet her in person some day. I loved Karen Quinn’s Ivy Chronicles, and Lolly Winston’s Good Grief is one of the best books I’ve ever read.
I also love Sarah Pekkanen, Sara Jio, Amy Hatvany, and Jodi Picoult, though I wouldn’t necessarily call them chick lit writers.
I’m sure I’ve forgotten some books and authors because there are so many wonderful women writers these days. I do read male writers, but tend to gravitate toward the books written by women simply because the stories resonate with me.
5. Tell us about your giveaway.
Tales from the Crib will be a Kindle freebie from May 10–14, just in time for Mother’s Day. This is one of my favorite (of my) novels. It’s about a woman whose husband asks for a divorce ten minutes before she’s planning to tell him she’s pregnant. They two decide to live together as friends and raise the baby together. If you like it, there’s a sequel called The Queen Gene.
May I also ask a favor? You still get the give-away Kindle edition of Tales from the Crib regardless, but I sure would appreciate it readers would do two things: 1) Like my Facebook page, and 2) Click the green “want to read” button under the cover of We’ll Always Have Paris on Goodreads. This way, I can keep people in the loop about new releases and freebies.
Thanks for the chance to chat with fellow chick lit lovers!
Jennifer Coburn is the author of six chick lit novels, and contributed to four anthologies, including This is Chick-Lit, Jane Green’s This Christmas. Her books have been called “laugh-out-loud hilarious” and two were optioned for film and TV. She is currently working on a travel memoir entitled We’ll Always Have Paris, which will be published by Sourcebooks in 2014.