Falling in Love with Chick Lit
They were complete opposites, destined never to cross paths. Hester was a Hollywood dialect coach to the stars. Enzo was an ex-con from South Central LA. Yet I knew they were perfect for each other. The problem was, I couldn’t simply send them on a blind date or hook them up on Facebook. After all, they were fictional.
So I put words down on paper. I’d always wanted to re-write My Fair Lady, changing the professor character to a woman and the flower selling girl to a man. I mean, this is the 21st century! Completely reinventing the story and placing it in Hollywood with modern complications to craft the novel Pronouncing Enzo was a ridiculous amount of fun.
I won’t pretend it was easy: at first it seemed like it would never work between prim Hester and rough-as-they-come Enzo. But through the elocution lessons she gave him, and the discovery that they had a lot more in common than they ever would have guessed, a seed of affection was planted. It didn’t hurt that Enzo was hotter than habanero salsa. Or that Hester was gorgeous and professionally successful. Ah, the joys of fiction!
As I wrote these characters into love, I felt like I was watching two real people find each other. I was giddy with joy when they finally kissed, and cried real tears when they hit a deal-breaking road block in the form of his shameful past. I cheered for Enzo as he fought to prove his worth to his dream woman.
Writing, like reading, is a form of voyeurism. Especially in the genre of chick lit/women’s fiction. I discovered chick lit fairly late, in my thirties when I had babies and needed books that helped me experience romance and adventure when my daily routine consisted of diaper changes and wiping pureed carrot from between chubby fingers and out of wispy baby curls. Ten years later, the pages that provide consequence-free flirtation with fictional sexy men, a vicarious sensation of sizzling attraction, funny scenes of misunderstanding and tender moments of reconciliation are still a welcome addition to my life as a mom of older kids. These primal, emotion-stimulating ingredients of a good story take writers and their readers along for the ride. They make us root for the characters we come to know and love.
Books written for women, by women, beginning with Jane Austen’s clever and witty social frolics and fast forwarding up through the adventures of Helen Fielding’s hapless Bridget Jones, speak to my heart. I have many favorite books that don’t fall on the ‘girlie’ spectrum at all, yet the novels that stick in my memory best are the ones about relationships, good friends, delectable moments of sexual tension, and yes, falling in love. When I want a book that will make me want to drop everything and read it in one day, I’m gettin’ me some quality chick lit.
Confession: I have high standards. I don’t enjoy poorly written books with half-developed characters and anemic plot lines. Sorry, I am a chick lit snob! I’m the same way about chocolate – I’d rather spend my calories savoring the good stuff. With two busy kids to shuttle around and a novel to write, I’m not going to make time to slog through something that will leave me dissatisfied. Yet I’m not about to judge other writers or what people like to read. There are books out there for everyone; that’s the beauty of human imagination fueling the creation of wildly diverse fiction. We’re all free to obsessively read whatever floats our boat.
Personally, I like a chick lit book that will make me think at the same time I’m feeling moved and laughing along with the fun. The inclusion of some intriguing social issues, or exposure to a subject or place I’ve never been before stimulates my brain and makes the read so much more enjoyable. It’s like extra fabulous muscle on an already hot guy – makes a great thing even better!
In writing, I try to flesh out my characters, create an exciting dynamic between them, give them interesting histories and jobs, and let them grapple with big issues. They are adults: they can handle it. And I want to give my readers something they can sink their teeth into.
So when I imagine two characters who are so crazily different it seems like they would never even meet–let alone fall for each other–my mind starts puzzling about what would bring them together. I daydream about the fun things they will discover and experience as they succumb to the tantalizing adventure of falling in love.
Then I start writing.
About the Author:
Aimee had a hard time staying in one place after she traveled to France as an exchange student at seventeen. She has lived in Baltimore, Hartford, Cincinnati, East Anglia, Seoul, and London. In London she clubbed a hot Brit over the head and dragged him home to America. Now the mother of two dual citizens, Aimee lives with her husband and children in Maryland.
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Hester Hastings is the best dialect coach in Hollywood. The hottest actors pay her top dollar to help them master accents that will wow the critics. She would never offer free lessons to an ex-con from South Central L.A. and let him live in her pool cabana…until her best friend challenges her to a crazy bet.
In only three months, Hester must transform the ex-con so he can dazzle Hollywood royalty posing as an up-and-coming British actor.
Enzo Diaz just got out of jail. He is determined to get a good job and turn his life around. But with a criminal record and an accent straight from the streets, his job prospects aren’t looking good. When Hester offers to polish his English and give him a place to stay it’s a no-brainer. Enzo is desperate for a chance at a better life.
Hester didn’t count on finding out Enzo’s rough exterior hides a heart of gold. But just when she starts to fall for him, she discovers his shocking secret.
Forget winning the bet. Does Hester have the courage to win at love?
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