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The Buenos Aires Broken Hearts Club by Jessica Raya

May 29th, 2007 · No Comments

A friend just IM’d me about the success of a former co-worker, Jessica Raya, who is celebrating the launch of her first novel, “The Buenos Aires Broken Hearts Club.” Jessica taught me alot about the agency game and was always a very positive personality in the office. She deserves all of her success. Go Jess!

From the Vancouver Sun:
Vancouver writer’s first novel inspired by a trip to Argentina
The Buenos Aires Broken Hearts Club is a fine and frothy chick lit rompRebecca Wigod, Vancouver SunPublished: Saturday, May 26, 2007Four years ago, Jessica Raya went to Buenos Aires, where she lived for three glorious months, saw the sights of the Argentine capital, made new friends and got by surprisingly well with rudimentary Spanish. The experience, one of the best she has ever had, prompted her to write a chick lit novel, The Buenos Aires Broken Hearts Club (Warner/5 Spot, 302 pages, $16.50).

Raya, a Vancouverite with a master’s degree in English literature, seldom reads chick lit. But the book is such a smooth example of the genre that, within a month of starting to look for a literary agent, she was signing a contract with a New York publisher.”Selling it was easy,” marvels Raya, who uses the pen name Jessica Morrison on the book.” I don’t know what happened. I think it was just a confluence of timing and luck and the Internet.” She’s being modest. Raya, 35, fails to mention her talent. She comes from a family of writers and has worked in advertising, written for magazines, published short stories and taught creative writing at Langara College. She marshalled all of her skills to make The Buenos Aires Broken Hearts Club a highly readable romp.” I’m not even sure where it came from,” she says, “because I don’t even read a lot of chick lit. I just really wanted to write a book, have fun and write about Buenos Aires.”I have some friends who are really into chick lit. They read it and said, ‘This is so great. This is exactly like the kind of stuff we read.’ And I’m like, ‘Oh, thank God I got it right.’ ”

Before she completed the manuscript, “the longest thing I’d ever written was a thesis paper.” The Buenos Aires Broken Hearts Club is narrated by Cassandra (Cassie) Moore, a 28-year-old with a good life in Seattle — until she’s mown down by a grief trifecta. In a single day, she loses her job and her apartment and finds her fiance in bed with his ex. On a whim, she does something totally out of character and decamps to Buenos Aires. There, she gathers other travellers with emotional baggage around her and finds even more friends by blogging about her troubles. Before long, her site is getting 2,000 hits a day. Without having tried too hard, the young woman who at first fumbled for the Spanish words to describe losing her Seattle job (“Now, how does one say, ‘They fired my ass’?”) emerges as Cassie Moore, “world citizen and global heart-mender.”

Her problems evaporate faster than they would in real life, considering that, as Raya acknowledges, the character is a sheltered, middle-class girl, “clueless and not very self-aware.”Still, Raya thinks it can be fun to read about such people, in much the same way as “you sometimes just want to see a romantic comedy with Cameron Diaz.”

Jessica Raya — or Jessica Morrison, to use the name that appears on The Buenos Aires Broken Hearts Club — has something else up her sleeve. She has almost finished writing a literary novel, “a story that’s been inside me for a long time.” She’s versatile, and so her career should be interesting to watch.

rwigod@png.canwest.com
Sun Books Editor

The Buenos Aires Broken Hearts Club will be launched at The Whip, 209 E. Sixth Ave., from 5:30 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 31.© The Vancouver Sun 2007

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