Message From The Author

Author's Message

Practical Crusie-isms: In Life & Fiction

Crusie novels deliver much more than a couple of laughs; but readers might be having too much fun to notice that they are also absorbing lessons for living--her way.

The more you read Jennifer's novels, the more you'll be tempted to adopt Crusie-isms into your own life.

For starters: You are a woman--don't apologize.

Although known for love and laughter, Jennifer is very serious about creating female-centered novels that validate the meanings of our experiences as women.

"Once I read romance, I found that even the most abysmal examples of the genre took place in my world, a world of relationships, details and victories that balanced my defeats...The best of the genre...contradicted patriarchal common wisdom...telling me that my perceptions were valid after all."

After recovering from the shock of finding healthy women's views in romance fiction and experiencing the novels' powerful "I feel great about me" affect, this feminist decided to write her own. "If romance fiction makes me feel this good when I read it," she wondered, "what will it do to write it?"

With a purposeful and playful vision, Jennifer develops characters, relationships and situations that serve to remind us of our own capabilities: I am woman, hear me roar [giggle, scream, moan, love]. But will I settle? Never.

Of course the above means: Alas, you aren't a fairy tale princess, but your dream can come true anyway.

Jennifer has learned a lot about achieving what she wants out of life, and consequently, so do her characters.

"My heroines are good people with basic flaws who always try to do the right thing--even if it backfires." At the end of a bumpy road, both her heroines and her readers revel in a happy ending, but drawing from Jennifer's own reality, her characters must work hard and earn their fairy tale pay-off.

During her first year of writing, Jennifer taught high school full-time and worked in a bookstore at night. After that, as she tells readers on her website, "I was in grad school for my entire fiction writing career up to June of '97, which means I took classes and taught a five credit college course for two hours twice a week plus office hours."

Now that hard work is involved: Feminine wiles are out, but a sense of humor is in.

"Laughing out loud is powerful and sexual; it demands attention and announces knowledge, not innocence."

But most importantly, humor is a woman's best defense. Forget for a second that it's fun, that it offers a good time, or that humor can be warm. Used effectively, humor is a diffuser that delivers a soft, yet effective punch.

For example, when well-meaning fans (or romance hecklers) audaciously ask Jennifer, "Do you research your sex scenes?" She responds, "Yes, but it's a hassle because I always have to keep one hand free to take notes." (Touché.)

Jennifer wouldn't arm her darling heroines with an ounce less of her own razor-sharp wit. In book after book her characters creatively substitute humor for anger, intelligently putting foes in
their place.

Jennifer admits, "One of the reasons I write romantic comedy is that nothing in the world has the power to make people look at an idea in a new way like humor."

Readers will be looking at their own lives in a new way following her newest releases, Tell Me Lies (now in paperback) and Crazy For You (a hardcover release, on sale in April), which focus on living in the here and now.

"Don't you ever look at your life and say, 'Is this all there is'?" asks practical, dependable Quinn in Crazy For You.

Unlike most of us, Quinn actually does something about her whining and no matter the mess she makes of her life, her determination is like cement.

The rest of Quinn's close community fall into her wake and one man in particular, into her bed (while the last one is still hanging on to her bed sheets).

Knowing most people either want to change (at least one thing in their lives) and knowing it can take a lot of lightning and thunder to provoke action, Jennifer explores personal change, its consequences and aftermath, in both Crazy For You and Tell Me Lies with a convincing "now or never" slant.

After facing her own mortality due to cancer and realizing that our days are of a finite number, Jennifer has thrown down the gauntlet. She shows us through her heroines, and she'll tell you herself, that life is for living. So how about it?

To learn more about Jennifer Crusie's views of woman and romance, read the chapter she has written in Para•Doxa, titled "Romancing Reality" (Vol 3, No 1-2, 1997). She has also written a chapter on women's humor in the ROMANCE WRITER'S SOURCEBOOK. Or visit Jennifer Crusie online at her website: http://www.jennycrusie.com


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