ms_taken_118University of Missouri-St. Louis alumnus Dan Begley, BA English 1990 and MFA 1999, wasn’t having much success in his early attempts to publish what he called “a serious literary novel.”

His wife suggested he try writing something a little more fun. “Chick lit fit the bill,” Begley said. “It’s a great genre for wit, sharp narrative voices, poignancy and laughs. It was a blast to write.” The result is his first published novel, “Ms. Taken Identity.”

The book, paralleling Begley’s own experiences, is about a 28-year-old aspiring writer whose attempt at a literary masterpiece is unanimously rejected by publishers. The frustrated protagonist winds up trying his hand at chick lit. Mary Troy, director of the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program at UMSL, said her former student worked hard on his book, and she’s proud of him.

“In his fast-moving, comic novel, ‘Ms. Taken Identity,’ Dan Begley gives us the would-be writer Mitch Samuel, whose created personas of himself end up being his best fiction,” Troy said. “As Mitch moves from self-absorbed and deluded to honest and loving, ‘Ms. Taken Identity’ manages both to make fun of and to celebrate the genre of chick lit, all the while giving us a good old romantic comedy.”

“Ms. Taken Identity” was released this month by 5 Spot and is available for $10.97 at

Ryan Heinz

Ryan Heinz