“Inspirations and Influences” is a series of articles in which we invite authors to write guest posts talking about their…well, Inspirations and Influences. The cool thing is that the writers are given free reign so they can go wild and write about anything they want. It can be about their new book, series or about their career as a whole.
Today’s guest is author Marta Acosta famous for writing the Casa Dracula series as well as blogging at Vampire Wire. Now, under the pen name of Grace Coopersmith she is releasing a vampire-free contemporary romantic comedy: Nancy’s Theory of Style. To celebrate its release, we invite the writer to talk about the inspirations and influences for writing the novel.
Please give a warm welcome to Grace Coopersmith/Marta Acosta!
When I was in first-grade, I improvised a story for my class and they burst into laughter. Really, if you haven’t made a roomful of six-year-olds laugh, you haven’t lived. The reaction surprised and delighted me. I’ve been making up funny stories ever since.
My agent says I’m not supposed to tell people that I write romantic comedies. For some reason the publishing crowd in Manhattan hates this term. I think it’s a perfectly good phrase. Romance and comedy? Seriously, what is not to like?
Most of my favorite stories are romantic comedies. I keep going back to Jane Austen’s novels and the complications and excitement of young women falling in love. I especially like Austen’s moral clarity, even while she makes her villains seductive and her heroes difficult. I love her secondary characters, each detailed and specific. You can see the author’s fondness for the chattering Miss Bates in Emma, and it’s clear that she was having great fun writing the odious Mr. Collins in Pride and Prejudice.
Her stories are timeless, because falling in love is timeless. Making mistakes is timeless. Trying to negotiate problems of social class is timeless.
Many people scoff at women’s fiction as insignificant stories about domestic life. I think dismissing these stories as unworthy is dismissing the importance of life as a wife, mother, sister, aunt, daughter…
Those young women looking for love are the basis of our society.The same warm hearts that fall in love are the warm hearts that care for sick children, aging parents, a husband going through difficulties. Their hope, faith, and love carry all of us through. In each older woman, that girl still lives and remembers what it is to be in love, to feel that current of attraction, to wonder if this one is the one, to awake excited about every day.
Those emotions are what inspire me to write romantic comedies. I want to capture that point of life when a young woman is discovering the world and herself. She makes mistakes and tries to fix them. She learns how to laugh at herself. She is challenged by problems and finds the inner fortitude to deal with them. She is gullible, not because she’s stupid, but because she believes in the goodness of others. She tries to be flexible and sometimes compromises too much.These experiences will shape her and bring out her true character.
And if I’m laughing, I’m laughing with her, not at her, because I don’t think she’s silly. I think she’s magnificent.
About the author:
So here’s the scoop. I’m from the San Francisco Bay Area and I can never seem to get away from here for long despite my continual fear of earthquakes. Yes, that’s all I got out of the geology classes I took at Stanford. That and a nifty rock pick. If you haven’t gone to the desert and smashed things with a rock pick, you don’t know what you’re missing.
I received degrees in English & American Lit and Creative Writing, which qualified me to do very little except read books. That was my goal all along, but no one pays you to do that. I studied in England and missed the sun. I worked in non-profits and the theatre and missed getting paychecks.
I live with the fabulous spouse and the force-of-nature spawn and our insane rescued dogs. A friend who recently visited said, “They are bad dogs.” I prefer to delude myself that they are morally complex.
I’ve won some awards for my writing, but I get a real thrill when a fan sends me an email, or readers say they like the nonsense on my blog. My priorities have always been skewed.
You can read more about the author at her website.
We are giving away one copy Nancy’s Theory of Style. The contest is open to residents of the US and Canada only and will run until May 29 at 11:59 PM (PST). To enter, leave a comment here answering what is your favourite romantic comedy? Only one entry per person please! Good luck!