I’m constantly being asked whether or not I mind when people call my books ‘chicklit’ and honestly, it’s difficult question to answer. On one hand, as long as I get to tell stories for a living, a dream I have had for as long as I can remember, people can call my books whatever they want. Because honestly, is it any skin off my nose? Pretty sure my nan would say it is not.
But at the same time, putting labels on things is dangerous, isn’t it? I’m fairly sure that’s something we’ve decided as a society. And the problem with the label ‘chicklit’ is that people tend to use it in a negative way. It’s dismissive, reductive and often has the word ‘just’ in front of it. Just chicklit. Not a proper book.
So that’s where my conflict lies. I have poured my heart and soul into the I Heart series for the last twelve years of my life. Writing these books meant late nights, early mornings, missed birthdays, Christmases, weddings, Christenings and even New Years Eve 2010 (I’m still kind of mad about that one). I wrote through moving to New York, I wrote through losing my mum. I wrote through building a new life, meeting my fiancé, making friends that are now family and every ounce of my experience is in these pages.
There’s no denying that the I Heart books are love stories but not in the way that most people might think. Even though Alex is a total babe, for me, the key relationship in these books is the friendship between Angela Clark and Jenny Lopez. These two are true soulmates and will always understand each other in a way their husbands couldn’t. It’s not a coincidence that there’s no such thing as a prenup for a friendship, pals.
That’s what I want to write about; real relationships and the things we all go through, even if the situations Angela finds herself in might seem a little farfetched to most of us. I want to write books that make people smile, nod, maybe even cry (but only a little bit and preferably in a good way). I Heart Hawaii is a book you can read in bed, or take on holiday or dip into on the way to work. It’s a book that will make at least ten minutes out of a rubbish day a little bit better. That might not be a Booker Prize but between you and me, I think wanting to make people happy is a pretty lofty pursuit.
So if this people want to say I Heart Hawaii is ‘just chicklit’ then that’s OK. All that really matters to me is that this book makes you smile. I really hope it does.