Tuesday, July 19

Still Sexy After All These Years

Liz's post yesterday got me all stirred up about romance novels with seasoned characters, something I am deeply passionate about. I'm so stirred up that I dug out an old blog post from a couple of years ago and am reposting it today, just to ask the question again--why do romance publishers seem to be ignoring the largest demographic in the country? Especially considering we are the demographic that is spending money on books . . . so, here we go . . .

I’m bugged, so get ready. There’s a chance, if you know me, that this may be a familiar rant. It seems that most romance novels are the bailiwick of characters who are younger than 50. If 40 is the new 30 and 50 is the new 40, then how come romance after 50 isn’t sexy?

Well, folks, I’ve got big news–sexy is timeless. Excuse me, but two words, Sam Elliot. Or how about Sean Connery? Jeff Bridges? Denzel Washington, anyone? Richard Gere? And as far as sexy women are concerned–want to talk about Susan Sarandon? Sophia Loren? Goldie Hawn? Helen Mirren? Tina Turner? Me? (Sorry, I couldn’t resist!)

Hollywood is beginning to get it. I thoroughly enjoyed the film Something’s Gotta Give—a love story between two people well over age 50. Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson totally rocked that delightful movie. It’s Complicated showed us Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, and Steve Martin as grown-ups in a love story that was fun and sexy. Streep and Stanley Tucci recreated the romance between Julia and Paul Child—an older couple madly in love—in Julie and Julia. And hey how about Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan in Mama Mia? And just this season, Netflix brought us Sam Eliott and Jane Fonda in Grace & Frankie.

So what’s up with the world of romance novels? Why is it that if you’re a woman of a certain age, then nobody wants to read about your love life? All of us more mature folks are still falling in love, rediscovering love, renewing love, and by God, we’re still having sex and probably doing it with way more panache. So why are most romance novels about girls in their twenties and early thirties?

A few years ago, Harlequin nailed it with their NEXT imprint, but it didn’t make it, and I’m not sure why. Maybe we weren’t ready then, but I believe we’re ready now. That’s why I’m writing more mature heroines, like Carrie in ONCE MORE FROM THE TOP and Julie in SEX AND THE WIDOW MILES. I’m ready for romance with a dash of maturity, two people involved in a relationship without all the nonsense of youth. I want conversations between grown-ups who are over the drama of coming-of-age and meet on the level playing field of self-knowledge. I’m looking for sensual sexy love scenes written with that irresistible combination of humor, passion, and life experience.

Baby Boomers, as writers and readers, let’s put the romance world on notice—we’re here, we’re in love, we’re making love, and our stories are worth telling. Who’s in?

9 comments:

  1. I love this post. It certainly bears repeating. Maybe sometimes "they" will hear us roaring out here.

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    1. Wouldn't that be lovely, Liz? Thanks! Meanwhile, I'll just keep writing what I love to read...

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  2. Enjoyed the post and will do my part by writing, buying, and reviewing!

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    1. Thank you, Ashantay! That's the kind of support we need, baby!

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  3. Once I saw the pic of Sam, my brain short-circuited and I just stared for a while...that man! Gah....

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    1. Yeah...totally get that. Jeff does it for me, but Sam does too!

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  4. I suppose there are people who want to re-experience first time love, romance, even youth. I feel sorry for them. Each day only happens once. I'd hate to miss out on 'now' by trying to relive 'then'. As I recall, 'then' was awkward, inexperienced and a little naive.

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    1. That makes perfect sense, Sandra, and is probably the driving force behind Boomers buying New Adult and Romance with younger characters. But you are so right, now is where we are and I love the here and now. I can't think of anything worse than going back to "then." Ack!! Thanks for stopping by!

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  5. Love them both! LOL

    I was a huge fan of the NEXT series. I looked so forward to them and have a couple on my keeper shelf. While there is something to reliving first love, there is also something to having a guide to everlasting love :) or second-chance love.

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