August 5, 2011

The Others - Jennifer Crusie

If it hasn't been obvious from the current giveaway, where a Jennifer Crusie book is part of a set of summer reads I'm giving away, this is one of my favorite chick lit authors. And as the story almost always seems to go, my first encounter with one of Jennifer's books happened while browsing through a bookstore while on vacation in the US. Come to think of it, I got to know quite a few of my fav authors that way.

Actually writing under her grandmother's maiden name (her real name is Jennifer Smith) she is best know for her contemporary romance novels. While this rings true for earlier books, I'm having a hard time to just put her solely in this genre though, because it neglects how she often mixes chick lit with suspense today. We're talking steamy scenes and smoking guns.

With a focus on women’s journeys, especially issues dealing with relationships, friendships, community, and creativity, Jennifer is certainly looking beyond the borders of "her" genre. I must confess that it doesn't always work when author's try to tackle new genres or themes, but Jennifer always manages to convincingly put her lovable quirky characters, with both smart and often screamingly funny dialogues, into all different kinds of (genre) settings captivating the reader every time. Just look at Don't Look Down, her collaboration with thriller writer Bob Mayer.

Currently she is working on the four-book Liz Danger mystery series (mystery, did you hear this, oh my gosh, I love mysteries) and she's not neglecting her solo novels, plus two more collaborations, one with Anne Stuart and Lani Diane Rich again, and one with a brand new collaborator, either.

After having mostly worked with other authors the recent years Jennifer brought out the solo novel Maybe This Time, her homage to The Turn of the Screw, in 2010. I haven't read it yet, but it's definitely on my wishlist. And just look at the adorable bookcover! This looks like a ghostly good read to me.

Last but not least, Jennifer is also working on a non-fiction guide to writing women's fiction that will expand on the topics covered in many of her earlier essays on the writing craft and publishing. Some of those are available to interested readers on her web site, such as A Writer Without a Publisher Is Like a Fish Without a Bicycle.

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