Jennifer Gilby Roberts

Women's Fiction/Chick Lit Author

Chick Lit for Chocoholics

Part of the TDPP anniversary celebrations.  Posted at Best Chick Lit.

Mel in The Dr Pepper Prophecies is a raging chocoholic. So, I thought I would look around for other chick lit books where chocolate plays a starring role. Here’s what I found:

Unknown-383 The Chocolate Thief by Laura Florand

Chocolate lovers club The Chocolate Lovers’ Club by Carole Matthews

Chocolate lovers diet The Chocolate Lovers’ Diet by Carole Matthews

The chocolate run The Chocolate Run by Dorothy Koomson

Loveliest Chocolate Shop   The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris by Jenny Colgan

I’ve created lists of these on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and Goodreads.

I can’t believe these are the only books out there.  I found quite a number of romances and mysteries, but few that were pure chick lit.  Does anyone have some good ones to add?

Leave a comment »

Books About Premature Babies by Parents Who’ve Been There

If Early Daze has interested you in reading more about the experiences of preemie parents, or someone in your life has given birth early, here’s some other books you might like.  There’s not too much fiction out there, so most of them are straight memoirs.  Stock up on tissues before you start!

Incubator Views: A Story of Teen Pregnancy and the Struggle of her Preemie by Peyton Mathie

The Hatbox Baby by Carrie Brown

Keeping Up With Kenna by Nicole Andrews Moore

Keeping Up With Kenna The First Year by Nicole Andrews Moore

From Hope to Joy: A Memoir of a Mother’s Determination and Her Micro Preemie’s Struggle to Beat the Odds by Jennifer Degl

Alex: The Fathering of a Preemie by Jeff Stimpson

Preemie: Lessons in Love, Life, and Motherhood by Kasey Mathews

ANGEL’S BREATH: – A premature baby. Her story by JESSIE L. SHROPSHIRE

Tiny Footprints by Irish Babies

124 NICU Days — A Preemie Tale of Love, Loss and Healing by Ryan Rhodes

Miracle Child by James P. Wilcox

Preemie Chronicles: Our NICU Experience by Jeff Ewing

The Summer Called Angel: A story of hope on the journey through prematurity by Sola Olu

Half Baked: The Story of My Nerves, My Newborn, and How We Both Learned to Breathe by Alexa Stevenson

Find these on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk

Leave a comment »

6 Steps to Prevent Teen Pregnancy

Every so often the press get very upset about high rates of pregnancy among teenagers.  I think I have the solution.  Sex education classes need to consist of the following:

  1. Listening to a baby crying non-stop for three hours.  Ideally, use a baby doll and tell teenager they can make it stop if they work out what the baby needs.  Keep playing noise no matter what they do.
  2. Allowing no more than two hours’ sleep at once and no more than five in a 24 hour period.  Repeat for minimum of one week, until tears start to flow freely.
  3. Attempting to restrain/comfort a tantruming toddler, getting hit, bit, scratched and kicked in the process.  For maximum effect, toddler should be filled with sugar, very tired and have long fingernails.  Tantrum should include scratching the eye area, jamming fingers up the nose and pulling hair.
  4. Listening to any electronic toy non-stop for three hours.
  5. Watching any toddler cartoon for four hours, with the same episode on repeat.
  6. Having their face smeared in bodily fluids.  Having to wait at least ten minutes before they can clean it off.

Then run the session on contraceptive methods.

If that doesn’t do it, nothing will.

1 Comment »

Does Love Matter in Chick Lit?

This was written as a guest post for Chick Lit Club Connect

When a heroine doesn’t find love, is it still chick lit?

Someone posted an interesting question on Twitter: can a book be considered chick lit if the heroine doesn’t find love at the end?  My gut feeling was yes, but it got me thinking.

Lots of people have tried to define chick lit.  I believe the key things that make a book chick lit are:

  • The main character in the book is a woman.
  • The point of view in most of the book is a woman’s (although you can write as a male character in parts).
  • The book is about the whole life of the main character, not only one aspect.
  • A light-hearted, humourous approach.  It doesn’t have to be laugh-out-loud funny, but it should make you smile and leave you feeling good.
  • A happy ending.

I don’t think this definition requires a romantic relationship.  The happy ending could be the main character achieving a major goal, repairing or building relationships with friends or family, ending a poor relationship, or just learning to be happy in herself.  The trouble was, I couldn’t think of any chick lit books that actually took this approach.

There are definitely chick lit books out there where the “getting the guy” part of the ending is massively overshadowed by the other changes in the heroine’s life.  A great example of this, which I read recently, is Rachel’s Holiday by Marian Keyes.  The main character, Rachel (strangely enough), is dealing with her drug addiction.  I’ve heard some bad things about finding a man in New York, but I’m pretty sure it’s not as tough as that.

But what about books where there is no romantic relationship at all, or where the heroine dates but ends up single?  I asked for examples on Goodreads and got a few suggestions:

  • The Year of Fog by Michelle Richmond
  • Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons
  • Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
  • The Art of Falling by Kathryn Craft

However, I don’t believe these are chick lit.  I haven’t read the full novels, but from the descriptions these stories are too dark to fall under the chick lit genre.  Then Came You by Jennifer Weiner was also suggested and came the closest, although I still don’t think it fits.  The best suggestion I had was actually a film: My Best Friend’s Wedding.  Now that is definitely a chick flick.

So I turned to Google, and I may have come up with one possibility.  Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple is about a mother who goes missing and her daughter’s search for her.  Not obvious chick lit fare, but the reviews are quite definite that this is a comedy.  Then again, it was nominated for the Women’s Prize for Fiction and how often does that happen to chick lit novels?

So I’m drawing a blank.  Can anyone suggest a novel that meets the criteria above, but doesn’t include a love story?  Because, if there aren’t any, I may have to write one.  Or do you think I’m wrong, and a chick lit novel must include finding love?

Leave a comment »

Why I Write Chick Lit

I was given (read: I chose) Longbourn by Jo Baker for Mother’s Day.  It’s a sort-of-retelling of Pride & Prejudice, from the point of view of the household servants.  It’s a wonderful book, but at one point I found myself feeling really down, because I felt that my books just couldn’t compare to it.  No rich detail in mine.  No beautiful descriptions.  Some drama, but not on that scale.  Generally predictable plots.  Chick lit, in other words.

The thing is, though, my books don’t need that.  I write contemporary fiction, so I don’t need to include lots of detail about what life is like for my characters as my readers already know.  As for beautiful descriptions – honestly, I tend to skip a lot of them when I’m reading.  Just give me the bare bones and I’ll make my own mental pictures.  I don’t think I’m alone in that.  If I had no imagination, I wouldn’t be reading fiction.  It’s the plot and the characters I’m interested in.

But the thing that really made me feel good about what I write was that I felt bad when I finished the book.  Although the end was happy, the whole thing painted a picture of bleakness.  Harsh, lonely lives of physical and emotional endurance, where moments of happiness were few and far between.  I spent half the evening feeling teary and depressed.  And, you know what, I don’t want to write books like that.  I don’t want to make people feel like that.

There’s plenty of bad in this world.  Most of the media seems to be devoted to reminding us of that.  I don’t want to add to that.  I want to make people feel better.  Remind them that there is still much good out there.  That just because today was crap doesn’t mean tomorrow will be.  That there’s humour to be found in everything.  And that’s what chick lit is about.  So that’s what I write.

4 Comments »

What Engagement Ring Would Each Chick Lit Character Have?

Melissa Schreiber has posted an article over on Buzzfeed titled Your 15 Favorite Chick Lit Characters Paired With Their Ideal Engagement Rings.  Most of Sophie Kinsella’s characters made it into the list and there are some very interesting choices, plus shiny things to look at.  Even though my engagement and wedding rings are the only ones I wear, even I turn magpie in the face of a nice ring display.  So I thought I would add the rings I think my characters would have:

Mel's engagement ringMel (The Dr Pepper Prophecies)

Diamonds might be forever, but they’re not for Mel – at least not on their own.  Will took a chance on this sapphire and diamond emerald cut ring and Mel thought he got it spot on.

Lucy (After Wimbledon)Lucy's Engagement Ring

Adrienne emailed a picture of this ring to the newly engaged Lucy as a joke (hey, it’s in Wimbledon colours!), but Lucy loved it.  Sam had it custom made for her.  It’s a good thing he won a lot of Grand Slams, because you don’t even want to know how much it cost.

Jess' engagement ring

Jess (Early Daze)

For Jess it had to be the classic diamond solitaire in yellow gold.  Ryan sensibly canvassed her friends before buying.  Just as well, or she would have made him take it back!

Like Mel, I have a sapphire and diamond ring (my choice).  What would be your ideal engagement ring?

4 Comments »

Abuse of Parents by Toddlers

You know, you hear about child abuse and spousal abuse a lot.  And don’t get me wrong, those are serious issues and important to talk about.  But you never seem to hear about abuse of parents by their children.  Not nearly-grown-up children, little children.  Specifically, toddlers.

They don’t tell you this when you’re considering having children, but toddlers can be vicious little creatures.  I don’t think it’s out of malice.  They just don’t understand their own strength, or the concept that others feel pain too, or any other way to deal with emotional upset.  But the fact is, they can do a lot of damage.  My toddler is generally very good tempered, but she kicks, occasionally hits, bites, scratches and pulls hair (I HATE that).  Sometimes in the midst of a tantrum, sometimes in the course of normal investigations and sometimes just because I haven’t cut her nails lately (because that’s a fun job in itself).  Sometimes she hurts me bad enough to make me cry.  Sometimes Daddy or I have to leave the room because we’ve got very angry with her for it.  It’s no fun being hurt.

And we don’t really have it that bad.  Some toddlers actually do enough damage for their parents to have to go to hospital.  Imagine going to the A&E (ER in US) and telling them your toddler beat you up.  And then having to convince them that, no, you aren’t covering for your spouse.

As if the pain wasn’t enough, you also have the worry.  That it’s not that they haven’t developed empathy yet, but that they won’t.  That you have a junior psychopath on your hands.  Them smiling when they’ve hurt you doesn’t help with this.

Parenting.  It’s great, isn’t it?

[On the upside, my daughter has just been discharged from premature baby clinic aged not-quite-2 because she’s doing fine.  They commented on her excellent leg muscles.  Yeah, I know about those…]

Useful links:
My toddler hits me – Net Doctor
Does your toddler hurt you? – Mothering
My 2 year old hurts me when he’s mad – Circle of Moms
How can I get my toddler to stop hitting me? – Baby Center

Leave a comment »

Chick Lit Books and Short Stories for Tennis Fans

I’ve had a look round at what else is available for fans of chick lit and tennis, besides my own After Wimbledon.  Here’s my list, in no particular order:

Tennis Dates by Colette Freedman

Grand Slam by Samantha Brenner

The Tennis Party by Sophie Kinsella

Game, Set, Match by Nana Malone

Love-40 by Anna Cheska

Love Match by Amy J. Bates

Queen of the Court by Melanie Howard

How’s My Timing? by B.K. Moradeyo (short story)

The Team by Pat Cunningham Devoto

Games People Play by Louise Voss

I’ve put together lists of these on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and Goodreads for your convenience.

Have I missed any good ones?  Comment and let me know.

6 Comments »

5 Things I Don’t Understand About My Toddler

107Apparently, when Thomas Edison was asked if it was true that he’d failed 10,000 times when trying to create the light bulb, he replied that he’d never failed at all but merely found 10,000 things that didn’t work.  In my experience, motherhood is a lot like this.  You know the outcome you want, you try everything you can think of and, if you’re lucky, after the 10,000th attempt you might actually get it.

Here are just a few of the many things that I do not understand about my toddler:

1. She throws lovingly-prepared food on the floor, then picks up dirt and eats it.

2. She knows the meaning of the word ‘No’ well enough to use it herself, but not to obey it.

3. She heads straight towards anything dangerous, even when entering an unfamiliar room.

4. She will happily spread her face with anything except water.  Ditto her head.

5. She can say ‘Mum’ but not ‘Dad’, despite clearly being a Daddy’s girl.

Yes, that’s us in the photo.  She’s gained a little more hair since that photo was taken, but it’s blond so you can hardly tell.  Isn’t she pretty?  And doesn’t she know it…

5 Comments »

What Is Chick Lit?

There seems to be a lot of disagreement about what ‘Chick Lit’ means.  Here’s my take on where it fits in:

Chick Lit and Women Writers
Some people believe that chick lit covers everything written by women, which is ridiculous.  The range of work by women authors is, amazingly enough, just as broad as that by male ones. 

Chick Lit and Male Writers
Chick lit doesn’t have to be written by women.  Mostly it is, but there are a few male authors too (e.g. Nicholas Sparks, Nic Tatano and Chris Dyer).  And now of course we have lad lit (also called dude lit, dick lit, etc.) which is the same style but aimed at men.

Chick Lit and Women’s Fiction

I view chick lit as a sub-genre of women’s fiction, which I take as all fiction aimed specifically at women by dealing with issues of modern womenhood.  What marks chick lit out is that it is funny.  The degree varies from laugh out loud to quiet smiling, but there is always a significant element of humour.

That doesn’t mean that chick lit is all about sex and shoes and never deals with anything serious.  Some is like this, certainly, but not all.  A good example of one that deals with meatier issues would be Marian Keyes’ Rachel’s Holiday, which is about drug addiction.  The key to making it chick lit is that the book looks for the humour in all situations.  If it could be described as ‘gritty’, it’s not chick lit.

Chick Lit and Romance
Chick lit usually includes a romantic relationship, but unlike in romance the relationship is not the focus of the book.  The heroine(s)’ relationships with friends and family are given similar amounts of time.

Generally, chick lit is less likely to contain sex scenes than romance.  Some have none at all, but there’s a lot of variation.

Some chick lit could reasonably be described as romantic comedy, like my own The Dr Pepper Prophecies.

Chick Lit and Contemporary Fiction
When I think of chick lit, I usually think of modern settings, but apparently historical novels can also fall into this category.  My feeling on this is that a novel that dealt with issues of womenhood that were relevant when it was written could be called chick lit.  For this reason, some argue that Jane Austen’s novels are chick lit.  I would class them as romances, but there is always a crossover patch between genres.

What Do You Think?
Agree or disagree?  Leave a comment and let me know.

8 Comments »

%d bloggers like this: