Bestselling British novelist Katie Fforde discusses her latest, A Perfect Proposal, about a young English woman’s impulsive trip to America and the man who follows her back home.
Zola: You refer to your novels as “chick-lit” rather than “romance.” Why? What do you think the difference is?
Katie Fforde: It’s other people who describe my books as chick-lit but I prefer that to just “romance,” which to me means shorter novels that only concentrate on the romance and nothing else much happens.
Zola: What are the biggest Dos and Don’ts of writing chick-lit?
KF: For me the biggest “don’t” is to have an unlikeable heroine. You may plan for her to start horrid and end up nice but it’s a big risk. I won’t persevere with a book if I don’t relate to the heroine straight away. The exception to this is Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind.
Zola: Sophie heads off to New York City with just a rucksack and an address. If you could venture to any new place on a whim, where would it be?
KF: I have a fancy to go to Morocco, but I’d need more than a rucksack. I do wish I was like Sophie!
Zola: You once spoke of wanting to write a screenplay. What would be the first of your novels you’d consider adapting?
KF: I would love to work with someone who knows about screenplays. I think Wedding Season or A Perfect Proposal would be good ones.
Zola: Can you share with us the story of your own proposal? Was it perfect?
KF: Like many proposals, ours was a bit muddled but we ended up engaged. The odd thing was I’d decided that I was far too young and if Desmond proposed I’d say no. We’re still married.
This article originally appeared on Zola Books.