A huge hello to Ciara O'Neill who joined The Novel Cafe today for an Author Special! Thank you Ciara...it was a pleasure to have you!

Alert! Shortage of Hollywood Romcom movies!

If there was such a headline as this, I could well believe it.

I have been waiting with bated breath for the release of Austenland which was shown at the Cannes Film festival in August 2013. With much anticipation I browsed the cinema listings for months hoping to see it on general release. It wasn't released in the UK until this week when it came out on DVD. Given the fantastic cast and great story line, not to mention the devotion we have for all things related to Jane Austen, this is surely a crime!

As there’s such a huge appetite for the chicklit and RomCom genre, I fail to understand why Hollywood doesn't make more RomCom movies. You can never have enough happiness and there's a lot of comfort to be gained from a happy ending. RomComs are fantastic stress relievers.

Think about it. Most of you reading this will have seen movies where horrendous and sometimes hilarious obstacles and hurdles are thrown in the path of two protagonists who are very obviously destined to be together. Have you ever not sighed with satisfaction when they do eventually fall into each other's arms at the end? I can pretty much bet that you don't turn around to your companion and say "Gosh, isn't it a shame that:

(a) he didn't die in a car crash on the way to see her, or 
(b) she didn't go blind from the syphilis she was riddled with.” 

These are definitely not the kind of endings we look for in a RomCom.

The beauty of RomComs and the chicklit genre is that they can be put in any setting - desert, city, village, beach, country; in any era - present, past or future. They can have any theme - sport, academia, medical, scientific, business/office, artistic, theatrical, musical, nature, marine, agricultural, ethnic, fashion, media. I’m getting carried away but it proves my point that the potential for new story lines is endless as are the number of incredibly well written novels in this genre by some highly talented authors. This therefore, does not account for this bizarre RomCom-themed movie shortage. 

When I wrote my novel, Legally Wed, I saw it play out as a movie my head. I cast Henry Cavill (who wasn’t as well known then as he is now) to play the part of Max. Max is a self-assured businessman. Women find him attractive but I wanted him to be liked for more than his looks. He evolved into an intelligent and smart, well travelled but also likeable being. Henry Cavill fitted the bill perfectly but I had to imagine him with an American accent - Superman hadn’t been made then! For Mia, the heroine, she is an English woman who came from an Italian background. I needed an actress who was dark-haired and also not a skinny wraith. It took me ages to find someone from the current pack of Hollywood stars but I eventually picked Rachel Weisz. She’s beautiful but not obviously so. She also seems to exude a quiet confidence but has this gentle aura of vulnerability at the same time. 

The book I’m writing now was inspired by someone I saw on TV. This man (I won’t give the namer the program away as it will be a spoiler alert!) comes from a multi-cultural background, is well educated and a global traveller. The hero in my book is not multi-cultural but he’s also a seasoned traveller who has lived amongst diverse and ethnic communities; his global experiences have evolved into a large feature of the plot. In my movie mind, he looks a little bit like Hugh Dancy (the chap who’s married to Claire Danes). Hugh has a kind of Mr Darcy-esque vibe but not quite as haughty. The female lead in my mind resembles Amy Adams. My character is a little lost and more than a bit feisty. She needs to be - she’s had a major life shock. The two leads are as different as two people can get and I get excited writing it and seeing their story unfold in my head.

The same thing happens when I read a book. If the writer has done a good job, I will be able to see the characters as real people. It’s more than describing hair and eye colour. It’s about mood and temperament, mannerisms and actions. By the time I’ve finished reading the story, a movie has imprinted itself in my brain. It’s an incredibly pleasurable experience.

There’s no disputing the attraction for action, thriller and the heart-wrenching drama genres that fill the big screen. In fact, in the majority of other movies, there is almost always a romance angle. So I’m even more confused about the dearth of RomComs? Is it a case that our guys don't want to go see these with us? Do they sit and squirm their way through the love scenes? Who needs the guys anyway! I would happily go with my Mum or girlfriends and my sister always let's me know if there's a good one coming out so that we can share the delicious experience. 

Perhaps we need to put some girl power behind this and turn it into a crusade against Hollywood. Whenever you see a new RomCom come out, don't wait for it to hit DVD. Round up a bunch of your friends and head off to the cinema where you can all share in the joyous glow and happy buzz. 

If you’d like to see more of my Legally Wed movie ideas, and seeing how I’ve cast my other characters and visualise settings from the book, then check out my Pinterest Board -http://gb.pinterest.com/ciarawriter/

It has been a lovely experience writing this because it has cemented my love of love and RomCom even more!

Ciara xxx

Dont miss Legally Wed now available on Amazon at a bargain price!Just click on the link...