How Caddyshack Inspired Jen Lancaster To Write A Mainstream Novel

This month memoir author Jen Lancaster moves into mainstream fiction with If You Were Here. Today the author shares why she proudly proclaims, "I blame Carl Spackler" for her first work of fiction.

Have you ever witnessed something so meaningful or momentous that the memory of it stays with you the rest of your life? There are those among us who’ll never forget the footage of Kennedy being shot or the Challenger exploding. Some people have seen miracles unfold, like Captain Sullivan’s heroic Hudson River landing or the Chilean mine rescue. Others will always remember observing tiny but nonetheless profound acts of kindness.

For me, that moment involved watching the movie Caddyshack.

I had no idea that one silly film from thirty years ago had the potential to impact my adult life. And yet because of Caddyshack, I almost ended up making the most expensive mistake of my life when buying my first home.

When we saw the house in question, my husband took in the view that included both an eight-foot sculpted bear statue and a stone lion fountain carved into the shape of a lion, before remarking, “So, do you think this place is Russian mafia or Italian mafia?” Between the ridiculous silver leaf ceilings, miles of fake plastic ivy, electric pink bathtubs, and elaborately carved antler chandeliers, I knew the joint was an interior designer’s worst nightmare. I was well aware that’d we’d have to spend many thousands of dollars chasing the ghost of Carmella Soprano out of there.

The thing is, the house had a pool and a pond. The idea of quoting Chevy Chase’s character Ty Webb for the next ten to twenty years was almost too delicious to pass up. “We have a pond in the back,” I envisioned myself telling imaginary guests.

“We have a pool and a pond. The pond would be good for you.” Ultimately, we didn’t buy the tacky house.

However, the idea of what could happen if we made a housing decision based on my great love of ‘80s movies inspired me to write my first novel If You Were Here.

Up until then, I’d only written memoir. If I hadn’t grown up adoring Harold Ramis and worshipping all things John Hughes, I may have never been inspired to step out of my comfort zone, so this book pays homage to my very favorite teenage movies, particularly Sixteen Candles. I hope readers will get a kick out of finding all the ‘80s film Easter eggs hidden inside.

By the way, the house we bought has a pool, but someday we hope to dig out a pond.

And if we do? The pond would be good for you.

- Jen Lancaster

So how did this '80s-film inspired mainstream novel turn out? Find out tomorrow when If You Were Here when it hits stores!