~ By Melissa De Silva
This week, in the final post in the Chick Lit Gets Conscious series, I chat with supernatural fiction writer Samantha De Silva (yes, she’s my sister!) to get another genre author’s perspective on chick lit.
1) How would you define ‘good’ chick lit?
It has to grab me. I have a terrible attention span. Also, I’m obviously going to be reading chick lit with different expectations than other genres. I need a protagonist that’s not flat, she needs to be able to think for herself as well. For example, there was one chick lit book I could not stand reading mostly because the protagonist was clearly an idiot – she smoked in her boss’ sports car. Who the hell smokes in their evil boss’ sports car? Who??? And if you already drive auto, why you can’t figure out where the clutch is?? It’s not the brake or the accelerator, is it? Stupidity in the protags in a big no-no for me.
Apart from that, the protag has to be engaging, and a little quirkiness goes a long way. Humor, of course, is a must.
2) What do you think the chick lit genre needs to be refreshed (besides maybe banning ridiculous pink covers)?
I kinda like the pink covers, haha. I think the characters need to be more developed. I’m not asking for literary fiction, but I’d like to see less formulaic characters. Also, more unconventional plots. Moving away from the London/New York/ glam city setting, which I think grows old after a while. More of the absurd, too.
3) What’s awesome about the chick lit genre?
I like that it is a form of women’s literature, and I like that it’s not serious. I enjoy reading different things at different times, and some genres are just too heavy or tiresome at the end of a long day at work. Chick lit is like chocolate cake, not organic brown rice. I also like the element of transformation and positive change seen in some books. It’s nice to see characters not too different from ourselves getting stronger and wiser.
Melissa De Silva is a freelance magazine journalist based in Singapore. She is currently working on a luxe-adventure chick lit novel set in Asia with an international cast of characters. When she isn’t writing for work or play, she paints like a child and takes long walks in tropical parks, squirrel-spotting while trying to avoid evil, thuggish monkeys.