Victoria Fox talks about how women’s fiction has evolved.
Women’s fiction is changing. ‘Chick-lit’ used to be about high heels, handbags and heartbreak – but not any more. Over recent years, women’s fiction has seen a surge in psychological thrillers, blockbuster action and exotic time-slip. There’s a huge variety with potential to appeal between ages and sexes. Why, then, are women writing for women seen as light, frothy or inconsequential?
The chick-lit hangover is one we’ve got to get past. Often, my books are referred to as chick-lit – I don’t mind, but undoubtedly it’s a reductive term. Men do not have an equivalent. Novels about cars, battles, agents and spies are not labelled ‘lad-lit’. So why us? It’s the emotional content, maybe, the heartbreak, the secrets, the sex and the below-surface, that classify these books as women’s. It’s diminutive to men, too: it’s not seen as masculine to be interested in these things. Books are life experience, everyone’s experience. It’s not as cut and dried as a pink cover or a blue cover.
‘Chick’ is a stupid word. Read a chick-lit book and you’ll find the protagonists are much more than your Jimmy-Choo-wearing, Sex-and-the-City-watching, Cosmopolitan-drinking stereotype. Frankly, you couldn’t write a book about anyone if those were their limits. I think the key is in giving a protagonist more to think about than a man. For too long, chick-lit has been associated with the single twenty-something looking for marriage and babies, as if that is all a woman can and should aspire to. Do we see her male counterpart sitting cross-legged in a nearby bar, nursing a glass of Pinot Grigio and worrying about whether he’s too fat for a girlfriend, or his calves are too big for Tinder?
Now, thankfully, we’re seeing women heroes leading their stories, and it’s nothing to do with Getting the Guy. It’s about getting the job, the house, the truth, the dream. It’s about taking control. Pour the wine down the sink and put some trainers on instead of those heels. Better to run in.
The covers have long been a problem – it’s not just men who don’t want to be seen reading a pink, glittery book – but they’re changing too. Packaging is catching up with content. And soon, hopefully, it won’t need to be called women’s fiction at all – just as ‘men’s fiction’ has no place on the bookshelf. Fiction, one and all, from a vast, shared pool of imagination.
They should have stayed as one. They couldn’t survive apart.
It was fate, forever destined to come to this: from birth to death, two halves of the same whole.
Twins Calida and Teresita Santiago have never known a world without each other…until Teresita is wrenched from their Argentinian home to be adopted by world-famous actress Simone Geddes.
Now, while Teresita is provided with all that money can buy, Calida must fight her way to the top – her only chance of reuniting with her twin.
But no one can predict the explosive events which will finally bring the Santiago sisters into the spotlight together…
Victoria Fox was born in 1983 and studied English at university. While there, she wrote her first (unpublished) bonkbuster: The Hardest Part. She is a long-time admirer of Jackie Collins,and after working in publishing for a few years, she decided to quit to be a writer full-time and she has not looked back since…