A Little Help From My Family and Friends

As a writer, a lot of people ask me about my influences.  What inspires me to write?  They often ask how I come up with the humorous situations my characters get themselves in.  Now, I guess I can throw out a few names of authors who I really love and it would be fair to say they have had an influence in my professional life in terms of writing but if I have to be really honest, my greatest inspiration are the people who are around me day in and day out.   My family and friends are by far the greatest influence in my writing.  They are my idea generators.  They are my characters (with names changed to protect the innocent, of course). I can watch them all day long and come up with tons of ideas for plots, dialogues, scenes, and unbelievably funny moments in my books.  For example, my mother is the inspiration for Marty Peter’s mom in my book And The Winner Is.  My mom, just like Deandra Peters, is caring and loving.  She is the center of our family, the glue that sticks us all together, through the good and bad times.  But, my mom can also be sarcastic, unforgiving and the best dispenser of guilt I have ever seen in my life.  I really am convinced that the FBI could use a girl like her on their team.  Forget interrogations!  A half-hour in a padded cell with my mom and criminals would be spilling their guts out, doing anything to get away from her, begging on hands and knees for mercy.  I’ve seen her technique.  Let me tell you, it isn’t pretty.

Then there are my friends.  What can I say about them?  They litter my books with material.  I have one very good friend of mine that is the model for all of my main characters.  She is strong, smart, sassy, beautiful, opinionated and would go out of her way for a friend or anyone in need.  She is a true friend and I can count on her for anything.  But what I love most about her is that she is funny.  And when I mean funny, I mean “laugh out loud, hand over my stomach, stop it I’m cramping” kind of funny.  She has no filter and says anything she wants and does the most outrageous things I’ve ever seen someone do that allowable under the law.  I treasure her because her adventures are mine.  I tell her all the time that I borrow from her.  She is my Marty.

So yes, I absolutely adore Sophie Kinsella and Cecilia Ahern.  I admire Jane Green and Kristin Higgins.  I am a fan of Emily Giffin. But my true inspiration?  My family and friends.  They are loud, obnoxious, ‘in your face’ kind of people and I love them to death.  Without them, my life would be boring and my characters dull.  Let’s face it?  I wouldn’t be a writer without them.

Who Took The Comedy out of Romance?

I’ve just noticed that despite the plethora of chick lit books out there, there are very little offerings in terms of movies.  I wonder why that is?  Are we so obsessed with big budget action movies that we’ve skipped over the need for a good laugh and two people pushed together by fate?  I tried to remember the last good movie I went to that did this and none sprung to mind that has been memorable or even worth a glance other than Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve and possibly Bridesmaid.  Where have the Harry and Sallys gone?  The Bridget and Marcs?  The Becky and Lukes? Seriously, is there really no one who wants to see two people fall in love without a waterwork of tears or the world coming to an end?  I can remember when Julia Roberts made at least two movies a year where she either played a prostitute in love, a best friend in love, or a movie star in love.  What happened to the Julias of the movies?  I miss you, Julia!

Don’t get me wrong. There have been a few romantic movies released in the past year but it has mostly been romance dramas, not comedies.  Dramas such as Lucky One, The Vow, and a re-release of the Titanic (which every time I hear the opening notes to “My Heart Will Go On,” I start to bawl).  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy those movies too.  Everyone needs a good cry into a box of popcorn every once in while but I miss my comedies. I need to laugh.

And because of it, I am a women in mourning, practically wearing black every day over the tragedy of it all.  Although, as a New Yorker, most of my wardrobe is black.  I’m not trying to be witty; just honest.

I think back to all of the really good chick lit books I’ve read this year and at least a dozen of those can easily be made into good romantic comedy movie that I would pay good money (or at least $10) to see.

So to save you some trouble, I’ve listed potential good romantic comedies that have come out this month or are coming out later on in 2012:

  • Hope Springs-August 2012
  • Hit and Run-August 2012
  • Celeste and Jesse Forever-August 2012
  • Bachelorette-September 2012
  • Hello I Must Be Going-September 2012
  • The Big Wedding-October 2012
  • This is 40-December 2012
  • Playing for Keeps-December 2012

Romantic Comedies-My Favorites

A few weeks ago, I wrote about romantic comedies and how much of a huge fan I am of them. After I signed off, I tried to write down some of my favorites romantic comedy films. As I was making the list, I thought I would limit it to just the top ten but I found as I started jotting down my faves, that there are much, much more than ten and I couldn’t narrow it down. It would be like choosing your favorite among your own children. I also discovered that I watch way too much T.V. but that’s the topic of another blog.

So here is the list of my top 60, which you’ll see is a mix of the new and old, the classics and contemporary, the musicals and the straight dialogue. The films that really capture my imagination are the ones with the couple sparing-duking it out, a hate to love relationship. I can’t help it-I love a good war of words. Hey, I’m a writer-did you expect anything differently?

They are listed in no particular order. Please feel free to add your own to the list as I am sure I missed a few good ones. Enjoy!

(1) When Harry Met Sally;
(2) Philadephia Story;
(3) Bringing Up Baby;
(4) Groundhog Day;
(5) While You Were Sleeping:
(6) Four Weddings and a Funeral;
(7) Bridget Jones’ Diary;
(8) Love Actually;
(9) The Gay Divorcee;
(10) Adam’s Rib;
(11) It Happened One Night;
(12) You’ve Got Mail;
(13) My Big Fat Greek Wedding;
(14) Shakespeare in Love;
(15) Sleepless in Seattle;
(16) His Girl Friday;
(17) Breakfast in Tiffany’s;
(18) Leap Year;
(19) Easy A;
(20) Pretty Woman;
(21) Can’t Buy Me Love;
(22) Sixteen Candles;
(23) Two Weeks Notice;
(24) Some Like it Hot;
(25) My Best Friend’s Wedding;
(26) The Princess Bride;
(27) The Wedding Singer;
(28) Adam’s Rib;
(29) Confessions of a Shopaholic;
(30) French Kiss;
(31) Knocked Up;
(32) Annie Hall;
(33) Hannah and Her Sisters;
(34) He’s Just Not That Into You;
(35) The Wedding Singer;
(36) Jerry McGuire;
(37) Moonstruck;
(38) Vicky Cristina Barcelona;
(39) First 50 Dates;
(40) Top Hat;
(41) Mamma Mia;
(42) Valentine’s Day;
(43) Never Been Kissed;
(44) Clueless;
(45) Fever Pitch;
(46) Shallow Hal;
(47) Nottinghill;
(48) Knight and Day;
(49) 13 Going on 30;
(50) Sweet Home Alabama;
(51) Splash;
(52) Arthur;
(53) Moonstruck;
(54) Kate and Leopold;
(55) Something About Mary;
(56) Only You;
(57) Serendipity;
(58) Runaway Bride;
(59) Ever After;
(60) Just Like Heaven;
(61) Gone with the Wind (OK, so I know I said 60 and this is a classic drama set in the Civil War but the scenes between Vivian Leigh and Clark Gable are priceless and the sparing between the two earns a spot on this list:-))