I try to read a variety of genres and lengths, and recently I stumbled over to the new adult/chicklit/women’s fiction side of romance and discovered Chris Van Hakes. Her debut Novel, Lost and Found, is making waves, so I decided to check it out.
I found that Chris has a fresh voice with an alternating first-person style. I don’t normally read first person, and sometimes it can grate on me, but she did a good job of having distinct voices for each of the main viewpoint characters.
Here is the text of the 5-Star Review on Amazon:
I enjoyed this book tremendously, and normally I stay away from first-person stories. In fact, I almost didn’t get it for that reason, but I read the sample and I was hooked. This book embodies the new adult genre for me — characters who are finding themselves and love at the same time. There’s not a lot of description of intercourse, but it’s there, in the background. To me that’s more realistic than pretending everyone is waiting for marriage. I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did.
I tracked Chris down, and here is what she had to say.
Lily – Everyone always wants to know where writers get their ideas. What sparked this book for you?
Chris - I wish I had a good answer to this question, but I honestly don’t know. I read a lot, and I think I just imagine what different characters would do in different settings and interactions. I kind of believe that all fiction is fanfiction. Lost and Found is definitely partly Pride and Prejudice, which I’m a tiny bit obsessed with.
Lily – Who would be interested in reading this book?
Chris – I got a few reviews that said fans of Rainbow Rowell would like my writing, and I will take that compliment to the compliment bank. Cha-ching! I think people who like light romance and alternating points of view would like it. If you’re looking for a steamy novel, I don’t have it, but if you’re looking for a lot of romantic tension, I’ve got that.
Lily – You’ve mentioned on your blog over at www.readingandchickens.com that you don’t like to read about people “bonking”. (I love your word choice.) There seem to be two parts of the market now, one trending towards erotica and one trending towards characters that don’t have intercourse at all. Is there still a place for a middle ground as represented in your book? Have you had readers upset on either side, expecting something else?
Chris – Ha. I actually don’t mind reading about bonking, per say. It can be sexy and hot, but at some point it gets to be…filler. I end up skimming. If it’s integral to a plot point, I don’t mind it, and I think there are some authors who do it really well. I was a big fan of Christina Lauren’s Beautiful Player, for instance, and I think even though there’s a lot of bonking in there, it works.
And yes, I think there’s definitely a middle ground. That’s what I like to read, and I can’t be the only one out there, so that’s what I write. I haven’t had any readers mention there wasn’t enough sex, but I have had a few that didn’t like the mentions of sex in the book. This is the case of “can’t please everyone, so please yourself,” I think. I write what I’m most comfortable writing for a particular character or scene. For Lost and Found, it was light on the sex. I don’t know what it will be for future novels, though.
Lily – Are you working on any follow-up books?
I am! I’m writing a new novel, another romance/women’s fiction story, called Letters from Clementine. I haven’t worked out a whole lot about it (still in first draft mess form) but I’ll probably post a synopsis about it on my blog in a few weeks.
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