Book of the Month: February 2009
The public’s appetite for ChicLit may have peaked somewhere around 2004, but the genre that gave us the flawed but much loved heroine of the 1990’s, continues to influence the work of both new and established authors of popular fiction.
In her debut novel, Australia’s Lisa Heidke (pictured) serves up some hilarious scenes with suburban mum style justice in Lucy Springer Gets Even. So forget Bridget Jones, the new heroine of women’s fiction is the suburban soccer mum!
Lisa Heidke told Australian Women Online, “Some people call it MummyLit because the character is married or has been in a relationship, and has children – so they’ve moved on from the ‘Bridget Jones’ where the main character is single and looking for a man.”
“The sort of characters I write about have done all that, but then they’re floundering in what they thought would be their perfect life and they’re trying to rediscover themselves and their passion for life.”
Speaking through her main character, Lisa Heidke explores the notion that women can have it all – the perfect husband, brilliant children, a fulfilling career and time out for themselves.
“When I originally came up with the story, it was going to just be about a woman who is trying to piece her life back together after her husband walks out. But I felt that she also needed to have a career, and that she needed to rediscover her passion again,” Lisa said.
In the book Lucy Springer is an actress and a graduate of NIDA who enjoyed fifteen minutes of fame before marriage and children. Lisa has written so authentically about the highs and lows of celebrity, you could be forgiven for assuming this wife and mother of two has walked the red carpet. When I asked her if she knew any actors, Lisa said, “I don’t know any actors but I read a lot of women’s magazines and there is so much reality TV these days it’s hard to avoid.”
The conversation then moves on to the title of the book. Although the title of the book does suggest that the main character is focused on revenge, as the story unfolds Lucy Springer realises there is more than one way to restore balance to the universe.
“Initially she does want revenge and she is wanting to put Nair hair remover in his shampoo and she does throw out his clothes. But once Bali happens, she realises that she does have her two children and she just wants to get on with her life,” said Lisa.
“I wanted to make the story realistic so that every woman who reads it can relate to it on some level. That is why during that first week I had to make it very clear that when Lucy is drinking the grange and she’s not showering, and she’s just wallowing in her own gloom, that the kids weren’t there.”
Before she became a wife and mother, Lisa Heidke studied journalism at Queensland University. Lisa has worked in book and magazine publishing and in 2006, her first manuscript This Wife’s Life was shortlisted for the Varuna/Harper Collins Manuscript Award. A year later, Lucy’s story was shortlisted before being accepted for publication by Allen and Unwin. Visit Lisa’s website www.lisaheidke.com
Lucy Springer Gets Even is a funny, well-written and fast-paced read. Realistic but hopeful, Lucy’s story will resonate with every woman who ever had to develop a sense of humour to survive suburbia.