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Carla Caruso Talks The 5 Books That Made Her Want to Write Chick Lit

Happy International Chick Lit Month, all! Wishing you many rip-roaring reads, feisty heroines, and spunk-tastic heroes.

I thought I’d raise my glass to the occasion by listing the FIVE books that made me want to write the (sometimes maligned, albeit ever-popular) genre, chick-lit. Those titles that ensured I knew which fiction camp I’d hope to wander into one day, if I had half the chance (that being the fun, flirty, frilly, clever kind!). But, on with the list…

1.       REMEMBER ME? by Sophie Kinsella – …Okay, and The Undomestic Goddess, Twenties Girl, Can You Keep a Secret?, etcetera, etcetera. I first happened upon Kinsella’s brilliance when my sister passed on her library copy of the first in the Shopaholic series. But it was Kinsella’s standalone novels that really got me pink with excitement. Remember Me? involves a young heroine who, after a car crash, discovers she has amnesia and has lost the last three years of her memory. In the time she’s forgotten, it seems her entire dream life has come true, from now having a millionaire hubby to possessing a mouthful of expensive dentistry work. But is everything as dreamy as it seems? ;)

2.       HANDBAGS AND GLADRAGS by Maggie Alderson – My Alderson addiction started with Pants on Fire and continued with Mad About the Boy, Cents and Sensibility, and this fave, Handbags and Gladrags. It’s about a magazine stylist who has a globe-trotting affair with a Fashion Week photographer. London-born Maggie lived in Sydney for eight years and wrote brilliantly from an outsider’s perspective on the glittering Harbour City. It probably even partly contributed to me moving to NSW for three years! Maggie was also a big-deal magazine editor when all I wanted to do was work for a fashion glossy…

3.       Who’s Afraid of Mr Wolfe? by Hazel Osmond – I’ve only read one book by Ormond and this is a good reminder to look up more of her tomes, because I LOVED this novel. I read about it on a chick-lit blog, downloaded it on my e-reader while travelling in Europe – and didn’t want to leave my hotel room once I got stuck in! It’s the push-and-pull between the ad-copywriter heroine and her new, scowly boss, Jack Wolfe, that had me on the edge of my hotel couch.

4.       AIR KISSES by Zoë Foster – When I first read Foster’s debut tale about “the magazine world’s most unlikely beauty editor”, I was working for a tiny mag in Sydney, rather wishing I was writing fabulous fiction. Foster, also a magazine journo, had just made the crossover to novelista. Since then, she has married (and had a baby with) top-earning TV comic Hamish Blake, launched her own skincare range, produced a beauty app, and released a trillion other books to much success. I’m not jealous, much…

5.       NOWHERE GIRL by Gilly Lockwood – Okay, this is really ‘teen chick-lit’, but I was a big Dolly Fiction fan back in the day and its influence remains. It was the kind of (younger) chick-lit that fed my soul before the genre, chick-lit, had even been properly coined! The fiction line was put out in partnership with Dolly Magazine and I read the books I owned in the series probably more often than my Baby-sitters Club, Sweet Valley and Judy Blume novels. The heroine in this book thinks her life sucks when she has to work at her uncle’s truck-stop cafe on the Nullabor Plain one summer. That is until she meets a cute local named Kieran… Funnily, just the other day I was excited to hear the news that Harlequin Teen is now partnering with Seventeen Magazine to publish original novels as Seventeen Books. Sigh! For me, it’ll be like a trip down memory lane…

Want to hunt Carla down and give her some Ninja love?  Her latest release is the rom-com mystery, Pretty Famous, involving a dark secret from Hollywood’s Golden Age and a possible prince-in-hiding (ooh, er!). She’s also involved in the FREE chick-lit ebook anthology, Autumn Leaves – featuring none other than Georgina "Glitterpants" Penney.  For all the extra feels you can also stalk Carla at www.carlacaruso.com.au.