Monday, October 19, 2015

Review & Author Interview: Chick Lit @thatabbyrose

TITLE: Chick Lit (And Other Formulas for Life)
AUTHOR: Abby Rosmarin
RELEASE DATE: September 16th2015
PUBLISHER: Independent Publishing
FORMAT: Paperback & Ebook
SOURCE: complimentary copy in exchange of an honest review




Life isn’t a fairytale – or chick lit.It’s 2005 and Katy Sinclaire is two years out of college. She still lives with her old university roommate and still works at the same bookstore that she’s been with since she was a teenager. She spends her days avoiding customers, making fun of the books in the store, and counting the minutes until she can clock out. It is an increasingly unsatisfying life, but it’s also a life that she does not question. That is, until a chain of events forces Katy to confront the painful truth: she is going absolutely, positively, nowhere in life. She realizes that she needs to do something, and now.Only one problem: Katy has absolutely, positively, no idea what the first step should be.The other problem? From her harebrained misadventures, to her chisel-jawed boyfriend, to her best guy friend (who is not-so-secretly in love with her), Katy’s life starts mimicking the very chick literature she mocks. Only life isn’t as predictable as a storybook, a lesson Katy is forced to learn as she desperately tries to figure out her purpose in life – if such a purpose even exists.


Abby Rosmarin is a lot of things, including someone who writes about herself in the third person. Her work can be found on The Huffington Post, Elite Daily, HelloGiggles, and that blog that she insists on updating. A model, a registered yoga teacher, a Bostonian at heart no matter where she lives, Abby also spends her time running, hiking, and kickboxing. Abby can be found on Twitter @thatabbyrose and on that blog she insists on updating at thatabbyrose.wordpress.com.


First of all thanks for this interview….  
Let’s start talking about ‘Chick Lit’

Ruty: How long took you to write the book?

Abby: It took roughly a year and a half to write the first draft.  And that was after two years of letting the book idea meander around in my head before I finally mustered up the courage to sit down and write it.


Ruty: What was your main inspiration to write it?
Abby: This has got to be one of my favorite inspiration stories: Sandra Bullock was my inspiration.  Specifically, her role in The Proposal.  Back in 2006, I was reading a news blurb about her landing the lead role in the movie – which, for those playing the home game, was about a woman who had to pretend she was in love with and engaged to her employee in order to avoid deportation back to Canada.  I remember reading that blurb and going, “Oh, she has to pretend she’s in love with someone?  Gee, I wonder how that ends.  Certainly they don’t fall in love for real!  That never happens in romantic comedies.”

This started a train of thought that eventually evolved into dissecting the formulaic nature of almost any genre.  It made me think about the movie Scream, where the characters are aware their world is shaping up to be just like a horror flick.  Eventually I created the character of Katy in my mind, someone with an expansive knowledge of the chick lit world, but an unawareness that her world is shaping up to be just like one.

Ruty: Is Katy based on any real person?
Abby: I know every writer hates when someone assumes the main character is them, but I have to admit that Katy possesses a lot of my character traits – both the good and the bad.  She is very much her own character – her life experiences are not the same ones I had, not when I wrote the first draft at 21, and especially when I was Katy’s age at 24 – but she ended up with a lot of my own personality.

(I had a writing professor warn me that my first book’s main character would essentially be me.  I didn’t believe her, and now she’s been proven right!)

Ruty: What’s your opinion on chick-lit? Is it a genre you prefer? Do you have a favorite chick-lit book?
Abby: Here’s another area where Katy and I differ: while Katy has an outright visceral reaction to chick-lit (at least at first), I actually enjoy a good chick-lit book from time to time.  Just like any genre, I prefer my books to veer far away from the clichés and the overdone tropes, but one of my favorite books (Smart Girls Like Me by Diane Vadino) is considered “chick-lit”.

Ruty: What’s your favorite romance book? And favorite movie?
Abby: When it comes to romance books, Nicholas Spark’s A Walk to Remember has an incredibly tender place in my heart – probably because the movie came out when I was obsessed with 90s pop music and the lead character was played by Mandy Moore.  I read the book imagining Mandy Moore and Shane West as the characters.

As for romance movies, I think my favorite has to be Big Fish.  It’s so offbeat and quirky, but so beautiful and romantic at the same time.  If that movies doesn’t tug at at least one heart string, then it might be time to check for a pulse.


Thinking about the things Katy has to go through…
Ruty: Do you think is there much pressure on young people to figure out what to do with their life at early ages?
Abby: There is tremendous pressure, and I think that pressure has only intensified with time.  Very early on, teenagers are told to figure out a path, figure out what to study in college, pick a career... that’s a lot to take in when you don’t even really know yourself. 

What no one tells you is that most people are winging it, even as they reach proper “adult” years.  Not including my writing, I have switched career paths twice now, and I’m only 29.  But this isn’t really discussed in high schools.  The message is, “You need decide what you want to do with your life, and you better hope the path you pick is right, because college is expensive.”

Ruty: Do you think is possible to have all figured out before your twenties?
Abby: I honestly think you’re kidding yourself if you can go, “I have it all figured out!” at, really, any point, but especially when you’re in your 20s.  What I thought I wanted at 21 was not what I wanted at 24 – and it is certainly not what I want now that I’m 29.  In fact, as I’m rounding out my 20s, I’m probably less “figured out” than I was back when I was 24.  But I’m weirdly okay with that.  I think embracing the uncertainty and embracing the fact that we don’t have it figured out is the first step.  It’s how you stay true to yourself.  Feeling like you should have some set of answers or a clear cut plan is what causes a lot of people to take paths they don’t belong on, to essentially force a square peg into a round hole.

Ruty: Do you believe in “Happily ever after”?
Abby: I believe life is way more complicated than a “happily ever after” can ever really give, but I believe that life can be filled to the brim with happy moments, so long as we keep the right mindset.

I also believe that everything eventually works itself out in the way it’s meant to work out, which, in a way, is a “happily ever after”.

Now let’s go to the writing process…
Ruty: What’s your favorite writing scenario?
Abby: My ideal writing scenario is when I’m so inspired that I write like a woman possessed.  I’ll write with such fervency that I actually won’t even realize exactly what I wrote until I’m done writing it.  It doesn’t happen often, but it’s nothing short of magic when it does.

Ruty: Are you working on anything new right now?
Abby: I seem to always have a bunch of projects simultaneously going on!  Right now I’m polishing up what is technically my third manuscript, which hopes of starting up the agency hunt in a few months.  I’m also slowly putting together a collection of poetry that – fingers crossed – I’ll release through one of my favorite sites (Thought Catalog) in 2016.  And I’m also currently letting the storyline for a potential YA book mingle around in my mind, with hopes of starting the first draft in November (which also happens to be National Novel Writing Month =)).


Katy is a twenty-something young woman, recently out of college and with no clue on what to do next. She starts to suffer when the rest of the world seems to be on their paths and she doesn't know her purpose. Being a girl who always makes fun of chick lit and its clichés formulas hasn't prepared her to the fact that sometimes life is exactly like the books (or movies).

Katy is a special character. For me, either you love her or hate her. She is stubborn, close minded and self-centered from time to time. But when you think about it she is just like any other twentyish woman. She wants to be loved, to have a job she enjoys and a purpose to live; you can't blame her for how she is. She is the product of a society that puts pressure on young people to be productive and active. There were moments where I wanted to punch her so bad, don't get me wrong is not that she is annoying or a bad person but she is like that friend your always giving advices to and she never listens. She can't see what is right in front of her eyes and she is always making the wrong decisions.

I loved how the author deals with the "life plan" topic. I believe that today young people (especially in the Occidental World) are asked to figure out their paths at early ages and it's insane. There's so much to try and to discover. I think that asking someone in their twenties to have it all figure out and don't make any mistakes is like asking an apple to be an orange.

Despite having the Chick Lit label on its title, the book is about more than romance. It’s about friendship; discover who you are and learning that only you can know what truly makes you happy.

The writing style is really good, the use of the language is great and the story moves on pretty fast.

Overall, Chick Lit {And Other Formulas for Life} is a book that makes you think about your own life and teaches you that sometimes clichés are not so bad.


1 comment:

  1. Oh my gosh, Ruty, I do agree. There's so much pressure to know what you want or what you are to be in your twenties. I'm definitely feeling that pressure now!

    ReplyDelete

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