This morning Google Alert dropped this column off in my in box: Is the Chick-Lit World Ready for 9/11 Plot?
Reading it set off a flurry of thoughts about my own work and the brouhaha over the question if chick lit was dead.
When I look back at In Between Men, I sometimes wonder if I missed an opportunity with the storyline about Alex’s brother. I hinted that he was serving in Iraq and at the lowest point in the story, they receive news that he might be dead. Should I have gone into darker waters with the brother and his wife, June? Would my readers have put the story down because they didn’t want the stuff they see on the evening news? Or, would the brother and June upstage Isa and Alex?
But then I thought about the interview my agent, Jenny Bent gave two months ago that set off a firestorm among chick lit authors. In the article, Jenny quoted a book buyer who told her that chick lit sales were down and it was officially dead. Well, are sales down because it is no longer relevant? Do we need to shake things up and tackle, for example, a 9/11 plot? Five years later, are we ready as readers and authors?
I’m now thinking that there will be a sequel to In Between Men, but with June and Alex’s brother. Could there be a happily-ever-after between a man who almost died in Iraq, and his wife? In my fictional world, the answer is an emphatic yes. I deal with the stuff on the evening news by writing stories that end happily ever after. Otherwise, the sheer overwhelming number of problems and heartbreak would cripple me. Perhaps that makes me a sell-out or an annoying optimist. But when millions of readers pick up books like mine, I must not be the only one.
Still, I’d like to know what you think.