In my head, the title of this post is sung to the tune of Paula Cole’s “Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?”
There are tons of books coming out under the header of women’s fiction, but I haven’t found a fun new author to love in a long time. I don’t mean books that make you think about your life choices or allow you to step into another woman’s shoes and experience things from her point of view. I’ve read those books and enjoyed them for the upmarket fiction they are.
What I’m talking about are the beach reads that beg to be devoured with a fruity cocktail on the side. I’m craving the next Sophie Kinsella who can give me funny and real female protagonists that I can root for. So, I’m asking: where has all the chick lit gone?
Recent searches for comparable titles to my manuscript (which is contemporary women’s fiction) have left me coming up short. One of the first things you’re told when you write genre fiction is to read what other authors are putting out in the market. I’ve read Sophie Kinsella, Jennifer Weiner, and Lauren Weisberger, but these ladies are household names in women’s fiction. My struggle is finding up-and-coming writers who are new to the scene (or at least new to me).
When I ask girlfriends or other avid readers for recommendations, more often than not I get young adult suggestions. Admittedly, when I’m looking for some lighter literary fare, I’ve been turning to YA a lot too. I love YA books and authors, but sometimes I’m looking beyond the themes common in young adult novels like first love or the search for identity. (SIDEBAR: This is not a take down of YA. It is not an attack on adults who read YA. This is also not a post to create or further any stigma about YA as a genre.)
This has led me to wonder if the rise of YA in pop culture with series like Twilight and authors like John Green has taken the interest of readers who would otherwise have been the key demographic for women’s fiction. I don’t have any evidence one way or the other, but I thought it was a topic worth researching. As I find great women’s fiction by either new authors or existing favorites, I’ll be sure to share my discoveries!