- 15 jul 2010
Lindsey Kelk schrijft al sinds haar zesde. Ze had alle boeken in haar kamer uit en dacht: dan schrijf ik zelf wel een boek. Als ze niet aan het schrijven, lezen of tv-kijken is, dan is ze wel op Twitter te vinden. En zo is Chicklit.nl dan ook met haar in contact gekomen en hebben we Lindsey overgehaald om een exclusieve gastcolumn voor Chicklit.nl te schrijven.
When I Heart New York was published, a friend told me that she was adding my name to ‘The List’. Naturally, I assumed she meant a lovely list of wonderful authors or a Sound of Music-esque roll call of her favourite things – raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens and Lindsey Kelk books. Nice. Seeing I was confused, she explained that ‘The List’ currently stood at Dirty Dancing, Pretty Woman and Walt Disney. Naturally I was a little bit concerned (no one wants to be on the same list as Walt Disney, do they?) and then she laughed and said ‘Because I read your book and it tells lies about happy endings. Just like Enchanted.’
I mean, really? A story about a girl being cheated on, betrayed by her friends and weeing in a toiletry bag was comparable to a full-on fairytale? This girl was twenty-three, beautiful, had a great job, great friends and hot-and-cold running men but she didn’t believe in happy endings. At TWENTY-THREE. The more I thought about it, the more it bothered me. Firstly, because of the book. I’d really tried to create characters that were human and flawed and had to grow past their mistakes to find a resolution, I thought I’d avoided writing overly-romantic mush. To be honest, I never really thought of I Heart New York as having a conventional happy ending, more optimistic potential. And while the plotline was clearly fantasy, I tried to keep the characters as realistic as possible.
Secondly, and most worryingly of all, was the fact that this amazing girl had given up on romance and genuine happiness at twenty-three. I was twenty-eight, a year out of a seven-year relationship and I still believed in happily-ever-after – but who was right? Was I being naive or was she being cynical? Worrying that I was walking around wearing rose-tinted Raybans, I started asking my other friends. I was desperate to know, given that I had just published a bloody romance novel, whether or not anyone still actually believed in romance, in not settling for less.
The reaction was not good. The friends that were in relationships were quick to smile, nod and say ‘well, it was a bit like that in the beginning…’ That was disheartening but nowhere near as scary to newly-single-me as that fact that not one of the single girls I spoke to even seemed to want to raise their hopes that relationships like the ones in my book might even possibly, potentially, maybe exist. And then they all screamed at me for writing books about wonderful boys that would never ever come into their lives. Some of them seemed offended that I, their sensible, not-particularly girly friend would waste their times peddling these lies. Which was pretty harsh.
Still not sure how I felt, I started dating someone. He was wonderful. Funny, sweet, clever, it was fantastic. Then one night over drinks he sat back and said ‘it’s amazing that you’re still so positive. All the girls I meet who are our age are so cynical about relationships.’ Initially, all I could think was that there was no such thing as ‘our age’, he was 32 and I was 28 so he could shut right up. But once that passed, I realized the problem wasn’t just that girls didn’t believe in romance anymore but that the boys all knew and so they’d bloody well given up as well. Refusing to accept this fate as my own, I explained why I wasn’t drunkenly clinging to the legs of the first man that would have me. Yes, I was just out of a rubbish relationship but wasn’t that something to be pleased about? Now I had the chance to go out and find someone who could really make me happy and until I found that person, I was perfectly happy staying single. He seemed pretty pleased with that answer and we continued to skip around London until he decided in his infinite wisdom that he would dump me with a Facebook message three weeks later because he was ‘scared of getting his heart broken’. Twat.
Anyway, I dusted myself off and got on with things, refusing to let him turn me into one of those cynical, desperate girls he had been so keen to avoid. It would have been so much easier to drown my sorrows in a bucket of gin and joined the bitchathon All Men Are Shit table but having wasted seven years ‘settling’, I refused to waste my time with boys I was half-hearted about. I still wanted to meet the man that would make my toes curl, that could make me want to change my single girl ways and have his babies instead of change my phone number and die alone with cats.
And that’s when I realized why I loved writing my books. Writing about Angela’s trials and tribulations made me happy. It made me believe that it was all still possible. I’d started feeling guilty that my books were selling lies, pissing of single ladies everywhere and breeding a generation of teens that would sat around waiting for their leading man to sweep them off their feet. But then I started getting emails from people reading the books and they were amazing. I was reminded that I didn’t start writing books to breed unrealistic expectations. When I started writing I Heart New York, it was because I was stuck in a miserable rut of my own and writing had helped me drag myself out of it. The idea that people were reading the book and it was inspiring them to believe something more of themselves was brilliant. And I think that’s what chick lit is about. It reminds you that love is still something worth believing in, that happily ever afters are still possible and whether you’re a fairytale princess, a hooker with a heart of gold or just a girl reading a book on the bus on her way to work, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be happy.
Ik hou van Parijs
Members waardering:(12 stemmen)
De Engelse Angela Clark heeft een droomleven in haar lievelingsstad New York. Niet alleen krijgt ze een opdracht aangeboden van het tijdschrift Belle, de bijbel voor iedere modeliefhebber, haar sexy vriendje Alex vraagt haar ook nog eens mee naar de meest romantische stad ter wereld: Parijs!
Angela neemt beide uitnodigingen gretig aan. Terwijl ze de hippe plekjes in het mekka van de modewereld opzoekt, besluit ze dat ze wel aan dit leventje kan wennen. Maar er lijken kwade krachten in het spel die Angela's geluk proberen te saborteren. En dan ontdekt ze ook nog eens dat Alex een intieme rendez-vous met zijn ex-vriendin heeft...
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