I have a love-hate relationship with labels. As a woman of mixed race, I long ago tired of strangers stopping me in the street to ask, “What are you, exactly?”—as if by answering this intrusive, annoying, and racist question, I could sum up my entire existence in a tidy sound bite (but that’s another blog for another day); for the record, the answer is Ukrainian-Indian-Canadian-and-none-of-your-business). I am more than any single label. We all are.
But I also understand that labels serve a purpose. Without them¸ we’d be plucking cans off the shelves not knowing what’s inside, and as much as I love surprises, I’m not partial to baby squid in spicy tomato sauce (although some people are).
So it is with this mixture of wariness and purpose that I label my first novel, The Healer, as sci-fi chick lit.
By offering this label upfront, I want you to know precisely what you’re getting: an estrogen-charged narrative—complete with tragedy-laced romance, tears, and a gritty search for identity—that also happens to be a little bit out-of-this-world.
How you respond to the words “chick lit” depends upon your own relationship to the phrase (and to those who consider my use of the word “chick” anti-woman or pandering to stereotypes, this Proud Feminist scoffs in your general direction. Scoff). In my mind, chick lit (like chick flicks) is meant to resonate with anyone interested in exploring any aspect of the female journey, and keep you entertained while you’re at it. This female journey is never more compelling than when it unfolds in an alternate reality where the laws of nature twist and bend and snap in two. My protagonists are regular women who, in addition to dealing with the emotional crap we all face on a daily basis, also happen to be coping with some, shall we say, irregular situations.
Who else writes sci-fi chick lit? Well, I’m sure loads of authors do, but it’s not up to me to stick a label on their work. I’m just happy to offer my own contribution to the genre.
This is not to say that those who recoil at any of the words in the label should refrain from reading The Healer. Just don’t run away in horror when you encounter my swoon-worthy romantic lead or any of the supernatural elements that I consider representative of sci-fi chick lit.
By identifying The Healer as sci-fi chick lit, I want you to know what you’re getting, but I also want you to keep an open mind about what’s inside. This book—well, she’s my baby, and she’s more than the label she wears. And I hope you enjoy her.