A chick lit writer talks about her muses. . .

~ By Melina Kantor

Some people have nightmares in their closets. Some people have boys in their basements (and not in a serial killer way).

My basement, however, has a diva infestation.

I’ve never seen them, but here’s a picture of their ancestors, The Nine Muses:

The divas live in a private section of the basement that I never get to see, and are way more girlie than I. They decorate with daffodils, gerbera daisies, and a lot of pink.

They’ve stocked up on champagne, tiaras, boas, and big squishy chairs. They have really fast Internet that never, ever, ever goes out so they can order shoes, books and chocolate whenever they want. The divas sleep on mattresses with marshmallow-like pillow tops and feather beds, with Egyptian cotton sheets (the thread count, of course being about 1,015).

When I moved from California to New York, the divas agreed to come, but they still insist on having café au lait and pain au chocolat flown in from Café Fanny in Berkeley every morning.

Incidentally, the café’s delivery men are smoking hot, as were the moving men the divas hired to move their many belongings across the country.

Their taste in music differs from mine. Yet, they have control of my iTunes account, so sometimes I find songs by the Bangles and The Cure on my iPhone, usually as part of a playlist for the book I’m working on, and I listen, happily.

And they have a huge thing for glittery pens and flowery sticky notes.

Whatever works, right?

So that’s why my writing space is full of junk like this, and why my computer cover is pink.

The deal is, I give the divas what they want, and do what they want, and in return, if they’re feeling happy, they shout messages up the stairs.

Only I can hear them.

What kind of messages do they send? Here are a few gems:

“Your hero and heroine have to help a goat deliver her kid! Oh yeah, and while you’re at it, make it a breech birth. BTW, the goat’s having twins. You don’t know Jack about goat births? No worries. Get thyself to YouTube.”

“Force your heroine to do karaoke! Trust us.”

“You’re naming your heroine Polyhymnia, after the muse of sacred hymns and poetry. Just go with it. You can call her Polly. You have our permission to joke about how she wants a cracker. You’re welcome.”

“Guess what?!? Your heroine’s ex just got engaged. Sucks to be her!”

“Your hero and heroine are in the process of removing each other’s clothes. For the first time. Bwah ha ha. Oh, wait. Uh oh. The village is on fire! Did you hear us? There’s. A. Fire! They better get their clothes back on. NOW! So much for that.”

And they absolutely love when my heart is broken. They sit back on their divans, basking in the schadenfreude.

“You know the playlist that guy gave you? We know you want to delete it, but no! Your heroine has to listen to the one the song that breaks your heart, over and over again. Mel, don’t argue! We know that’s him playing bass. But in return, we’ll let you import a picture of said guy into your Scrivener file, and label it villain. You want to win NaNoWriMo, right? That’ll get you at least 7,000 words.”

They were so right. Not only did I win NaNo the year I wrote that book, I wrote tissue worthy heartbreak scenes.

The divas have one last special message they asked me to share with you:

“We divas want to make it clear that chick lit is absolutely not dead. As long as there are muses, in diva form or otherwise, happily providing you chick lit writers with sparkling ideas, the genre will thrive. We muses have been around as long as people have been telling stories, and we’re here to stay. So listen to us, and keep writing.”

How can you argue with that logic?

And there you have it. For the writers among you: What are your muses like? For the non-writers among you: What inspires you and sparks your creativity?

I’ve got to run. The divas are getting snappy. I’m supposed to be revising.

Ciao!

Melina writes contemporary women’s fiction with a pinch of oregano and a dash of chutzpah. You can visit her at http://melinakantor.com.