Alan, Theresa 1972-

views updated

Alan, Theresa 1972-

PERSONAL:

Born March 17, 1972, in Evanston, IL. Education: University of Iowa, B.A., 1994; University of Colorado, M.A., 1997.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Denver, CO. Agent—Alison Picard, P.O. Box 2000, Cotuit, MA 02635. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Colorado Romance Writer's Author of the Year, 2004.

WRITINGS:

ROMANCE FICTION

Who You Know, Kensington Publishing (New York, NY), 2003.

Spur of the Moment, Kensington Publishing (New York, NY), 2004.

(With Fern Michaels and Linda Lael Miller) Jingle All the Way, Kensington Publishing (New York, NY), 2004.

(With Carly Alexander and Holly Chamberlain) Sex and the Single Witch, Kensington Books (New York, NY), 2005.

The Girls' Global Guide to Guys, Kensington Books (New York, NY), 2005.

Girls Who Gossip, Kensington Books (New York, NY), 2006.

(Contributor) I Shaved My Legs for This?!, Kensington Books (New York, NY), 2006.

(Contributor) The Dangers of Mistletoe, Kensington Books (New York, NY), 2006.

Getting Married, Kensington Books (New York, NY), 2007.

Spa Vacation, Kensington Books (New York, NY), 2008.

SIDELIGHTS:

American writer Theresa Alan debuted as a fiction author with her 2003 novel, Who You Know, which took her five years to write. In the novel, Alan examines the lives of three young Boulder, Colorado, women who all work for the same firm, McKenna Marketing. The three friends, Avery and sisters Jen and Rette, get together outside of work, as well, sharing a drink at their favorite bar or having impromptu sleepovers. Each of the women has her own problems and joys. Rette is engaged and hopes to lose some weight before her wedding. That she feels she is in over her head at work does not help. Jen, meanwhile, is a slim woman who works her way quickly through men, not looking for the perfect one or for permanency. And Avery is divorced, but still hoping to find the right man. Each of the women attempts to help the other in her search for happiness in this "novel to be savored like a good box of chocolates," as Booklist contributor Megan Kalan wrote. Kalan also praised Alan's "masterful job of switching between first-person points of view to offer glimpses into each woman's life." Donna Carter, writing in Romantic Times Online, also commended this debut, noting that the author "demonstrates that her knowledge of the Gen-X girlfriend formula is sound." Similarly, Best Reviews critic Harriet Klausner termed Who You Know "delightful chick lit."

Alan's second novel, Spur of the Moment, is once again set in Colorado, where the author lives. This time the city is Denver, and the book follows the lives of a group of improv comedians living together. Alan explained in a Chick Lit Books interview that the novel was inspired by her sister, an improv comedian: "I thought it was such a fascinating world and I'm not aware of any other fiction that deals with this subject. I don't think a lot of people know about what it takes to be a sketch or improv comedian, and this was my opportunity to let them know about it." The novel features Ana and five other members of the comedy group Iron Pyrits, three men and three women. Ana has more than a soft spot for both Jason and Scott, but Ramiro needs more nurturing than the others. Then there is Ana's best friend, Marin, who always picks the wrong guy, and Chelsey, who is needlessly worried about her interracial relationship. The book is, according to Klausner, writing in Best Reviews, an "insightful look at six fine protagonists through the eyes of awesome Ana." Carter, writing in Romantic Times Online, had a more mixed assessment, noting that "while Alan has a tendency to mistake raunchy for funny, she shows that she's capable of handling more sensitive issues."

In The Girls' Global Guide to Guys, Alan takes as the premise an aspiring travel writer who is having little success in her chosen profession or in her love life. She decides to combine these two concerns, traveling with a friend of hers to distant lands to write about dating and romance customs around the world. Carter, writing again in Romantic Times Online, was not so impressed with this effort. In her opinion, "This book feels hastily written, with lots of stilted exposition and a mechanical quality to the plot and storytelling." A more positive assessment came from Booklist contributor Aleksandra Kostovski, who noted, "Part travel guide, part love story, this book will appeal to hopeless romantics and travel hounds alike." Girls Who Gossip, also from 2006, features Helaina Denner in a tale of family tragedy and reconciliation. A change from Alan's usually lighter fare, this novel received higher marks from Best Reviews critic Klausner, who found it "a deep character study of a despondent grieving young woman," and from Romantic Times Online reviewer Stephanie Schneider, who felt "Alan does an excellent job of letting the plot develop naturally, without a too neatly packaged happy ending."

Another novel from Alan that eschews the expectations of genre, Getting Married, deals with the stresses of an upcoming marriage. Protagonist Eva Lockhart finds the stress leads her to use and become addicted to speed. A Publishers Weekly reviewer found the theme trenchant, but the execution wanting: "Though Eva's drug addiction is handled with all the finesse of a public service announcement, it's a pretty big departure for a chick lit heroine." Booklist reviewer Kostovski, however, had higher praise for the work, concluding, "this is a strong effort that will surprise and delight readers."

Alan concluded her Chick Lit Books interview by pleading indulgence for her chosen genre of writing: "It especially irritates me when other twenty and thirty something women put the genre down. If you are writing about women in their twenties and thirties, even if it's literary fiction, chances are it's going to be marketed as chick lit. We can't control how our books are marketed. So if you put down this kind of fiction, you're putting down a heck of a lot of young woman writers."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, May 15, 2003, Megan Kalan, review of Who You Know, p. 1642; February 15, 2005, Aleksandra Kostovski, review of The Girls' Global Guide to Guys, p. 1066; April 1, 2007, Aleksandra Kostovski, review of Getting Married, p. 33.

Publishers Weekly, March 26, 2007, review of Getting Married, p. 64.

ONLINE

Best Reviews,http://www.thebestreviews.com/ (April 10, 2003), Harriet Klausner, review of Who You Know; (June 12, 2004), Harriet Klausner, review of Spur of the Moment; (August 12, 2005), Harriet Klausner, review of Sex and the Single Witch; (January 15, 2006), Harriet Klausner, review of I Shaved My Legs for This?!; (July 16, 2006), Harriet Klausner, review of Girls Who Gossip.

Chick Lit Books,http://www.chicklitbooks.com/ (April 14, 2008), interview with Theresa Alan.

Romantic Times Online,http://www.romantictimes.com/ (April 14, 2008), Stephanie Schneider, reviews of Getting Married, Girls Who Gossip, and The Dangers of Mistletoe; Donna Carter, reviews of Spur of the Moment, The Girl's Global Guide to Guys, and Who You Know.

Theresa Alan Home Page,http://www.theresaalan.com (April 14, 2008).