Monday, 23 July 2012

Contemporary Summer: Guest Post with Luisa Plaja + Giveaway!

Hello, everyone! Today I have the lovely Luisa Plaja on the blog (who you may know from the wonderful Chicklish site), who will be talking about "freaky contemp" and romantic comedies! She has also kindly offered to giveaway one copy of her book Kiss Date Love Hate to any reader, worldwide! I hope you enjoy her post :).
What is Freaky Contemp? And One Reason I Love Romantic Comedy...

I love contemporary fiction. I enjoy reading about realistic situations, and I like imagining that the characters are people I could bump into later today. I enjoy the way this type of fiction shines a light on everyday issues.
Of course, I know this is present in fantasy fiction too. In fact, fantasy elements can sometimes stretch the known world in a way that speaks even more clearly to reality.

Many of my favourite stories would probably be classified as contemporary fiction with fantasy elements – the best of both worlds, maybe, for me? A couple of these are Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers, a body swap between a 13-year-old and her mother, and Fly on the Wall by E. Lockhart, where a girl becomes a fly on the wall of the boys’ changing room at her school. These are fantastic (literally) ways to explore real-life issues of teen identity and finding your place in the world. I find these kinds of themes perennially fascinating, and they lie in the background of some of my own writing: Split by a Kiss, where a girl follows two parallel paths in her life; Swapped by a Kiss, a body swap between female friends; Kiss Date Love Hate, where friends’ personalities and desires can be altered in a computer’s profile settings. 

So are my books ‘fantasy’ or ‘contemporary’? I’d say that, like many stories, they’re a bit of both. Prompted by a Twitter conversation with Sophie of So Many Books, So Little Time, and inspired by Freaky Friday, I sometimes jokingly call this genre ‘Freaky Contemp’. 

One thing’s for sure: my stories are light-hearted, and they could definitely be called ‘romantic comedy’. So I’d also like to say a few words about romantic comedy, as it’s a genre that occasionally gets a bit of a bashing. It’s sometimes described in a derogatory way, with words like ‘fluff’ and ‘froth’. But I’d like to challenge the perception that there’s anything less worthwhile about books that make you laugh, about stories that leave you with a smile on your face. ‘Breezy’, ‘fun’, ‘feelgood’ – these all sound like great attributes!

Jeanette Rallison says on her Goodreads page that she “likes to write romantic comedy because there is enough angst in real life, but there’s a drastic shortage on both humor and romance”. 

Meg Cabot has written more than one post suggesting that people with traumatic lives often crave light relief. Here she is at Booktrust: “My father was an alcoholic, so I was thrust into the parenting role because I had two little brothers. When I wanted to read I didn’t want to read about kids like me; I didn’t want to read about kids with a bad life... I wanted to escape. I wanted to read about kids who had great things happening to them, or just funny books that would take me away from that.” 

I think we all have times in our lives when we struggle to read anything tragic or heart-wrenching, or anything containing more than ‘mild peril’. At these times, or at any time, we could do worse than reach for the books that make us happy. 

Call romantic comedy what you like, maybe, but try not to dismiss it. Being tempted to smile can be as essential as being moved to tears. There’s nothing particularly freaky about that.

Luisa Plaja is the author of several books aimed at teenagers, including Split by a Kiss, Swapped by a Kiss and her latest novel, Kiss Date Love Hate. Find out more at her website, and read her posts about teen fiction at Chicklish.

Now on to the giveaway! For a chance to win a copy of Kiss Date Love Hate, please fill in the form below! Open INTERNATIONALLY. Ages 13 and over. Giveaway ends July 31st 2012. Prize will be shipped by Luisa.

This giveaway is now OVER. No more entries will be accepted.

Don't forget to stop by Cait's blog for a review of Rose by Any Other Name by Maureen McCarthy!


  1. thank you for the international giveaway! I love romantic comedies :)

  2. I love this guest post!! I think contemps with fantasy elements sound pretty awesome, and definitely still classed as contemps. Totally get what Louisa was sayng about needing some humour in books sometimes!

  3. I've never heard the phrase FREAKY CONTEMP before. An interesting post thank you.

  4. I love the quote from Meg Cabot!!❤

    Haha, I love the term Freaky Contemp. :p and YES! your books are definitely romantic comedies, Luisa. (: thanks for this awesome guest post and giveaway!

  5. Contemporary Novels are the best! My favorite genre :) I love reading about characters that I can identify myself with.

  6. I would like to thank you for a fantastic book giveaway, that i would love to have the oportunity of reading and reviewing! (Goodreads & amazon websites).

    I am a huge fan of your brilliant book blog, that never fails to bring a smile to my face. I shall continue to follow & read with interest.
    Thank you so much x

    Email: lfountain1(at)hotmail(dot)co(dot)uk

  7. I love books that give me the best of both worlds! Who wants to read about stuff that you can see around you every day?

    Thanks for making this open internationally!

  8. I would love to read this book. Who wouldn't?

  9. Chicklit persone here! Thank you for the international giveaway. Really wish I'd win. :)


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