Tuesday, November 1

A Seasoned Rebel



I’m not a rule breaker by nature. Honest. I’m pretty ordinary and I mostly go with the flow. You could easily make the argument that I’m kinda boring. But when it comes to writing my novels, I’m considered a rebel because I write older characters. It’s not that I’m being deliberately difficult by not writing the typical young, hip, twenty-something heroine or the usual too-cool hunky hero. It’s that I don’t know those people. I don’t run in those circles, and I know that if I tried to write younger characters, they would all sound false.

I never got why romance novels seem to be the bailiwick of characters who are younger than 50 anyway. If 40 is the new 30 and 50 is the new 40, then how come romance after 50 isn’t sexy? Why is it that if you’re a woman of a certain age, then nobody wants to read about your love life? I actually had an editor tell me that “nobody wants to read about Grandma and Grandpa having sex.” Seriously? Have you run that theory past, say . . . Grandma and Grandpa? Frankly, I think the scenes between Jane Fonda and Sam Eliot on Netflix’s hit show Grace and Frankie are pretty sexy. And I’ll watch Jeff Bridges in a love scene any time any place. 

I love the older heroines in my Women of Willow Bay series. These are women of experience and depth. They’re grown-ups, past all the silliness of youth. Carrie Halligan in Once More From the Top is a raising a teenager and running her own business when she reunites with the father of her son. Even though she’s in love, she’s also built her own life and changing everything is hard. They have to find a way to blend their lives and become a family.

Julie Miles in Sex and the Widow Miles is sexy, funny, bold, and living the perfect life with her doctor husband. Everything falls apart when her husband dies and Julie has to rebuild her life at age fifty-two. But she does it, in spite of discovering that her perfect life wasn’t all that perfect. Julie’s boldness comes from her maturity. You can forgive her for being snarky and brash because, unlike an annoying sarcastic twenty-something, she’s earned the right to speak her mind.

Sophie Russo and Henry Dugan in The Summer of Second Chances are middle-aged friends turned lovers. When Sophie realizes that she can act on her attraction by just being honest with Henry about how she feels, she skips the silliness and self-doubt of young kids falling in love. Their love grows gently and quietly out of their deep respect for each other and their friendship. 

In my current WIP, Sarah in A Safe Haven for Her Heart (book 4 in Women of Willow series) has a big issue to overcome because she’s was abused in her first marriage. She has to learn to trust again and Tony, deputy sheriff, handyman, and grandfather believes he’s the one to help her do that. And Libby and Nick in A Little Glimpse of Heaven (book 5 in the WOWB series), also a WIP, are both grieving lost spouses after long happy marriages when they discover one another—a story only a seasoned romance can tell. 

Love can happen to anyone at any age. That’s why I’m writing mature heroines. That’s why I’m stepping out in faith and breaking the rules. So do you break the rules as a writer? How? Let’s talk.

17 comments:

  1. Oh yes, I like the idea of breaking rules! But, for me there are no rules when writing. That's the whole enjoyment...write well... make it your absolute best... those are my own person rules. Nice blog.

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    1. Hey Caz, thanks for stopping by! I like your rules!

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  2. I think romance at any age can be smexy - especially is Mr. Sam is involved........ ;)

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    1. Yeah, you really can't go wrong with Sam, can't you? ;-)

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  3. Yeah, I think Mr. Sam wrote that particular book! Re: rules. I don't know. I don't think about them, for the most part, although I admit some of the strictures within category romance cam feel a bit confining! I'm glad you write older people because I love reading them.

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    1. We are Sam fans here, aren't we? I think the older we get, the less we feel confined by "the rules," but when very young people are flying the plane, we are necessarily within the strictures of the publishing world. Maybe we can change that...

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  4. Sam Eliot could *talk* to me and I'd get twitterpated! I agree that if you tried to write a twenty-something character, it would not feel authentic. So write what you like! You'll feel more proud of the results and of yourself.

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    1. Yeah, me too, Ava! I'm not even going to attempt writing 20-something romance, I'm way too out of it. So yup, I'll write my seasoned characters and put them out there with pride! ;-)

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    2. You picked the right image for sure. Sam Elliott's voice alone is a turn-on.

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  5. I love reading and writing older characters, they are so much more multi-faceted than their younger counterparts. All their life experiences make for an interesting story. And for us baby-boomers, we'd rather not read about a hero who reminds us of our grandson! Readers seem to love my older characters :)

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    1. Thanks for coming by, Jill! Yup, I know I'd rather read about heroes my own age.

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  6. Thank you for breaking rules, Liz! I like reading about all kinds of characters. But I'm tired of naked chests because I'm wanting to know what's under that shirt??? There's beauty, beautiful desirable beauty, at all ages.

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    1. Hi, Vicki! Glad you stopped by--I get tired of all the graphic content on the covers and between them!

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  7. Nan, I am so looking forward to reading books 4 and 5 of WOWB! Keep working and writing! You expressed it so well, older characters bring the past experiences to the relationship yet are able to speak their minds and ask for what they need.

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    1. Thanks, Carolyn! I appreciate your support so much! I'm actually still writing early in the mornings--keeping up my challenge. ;-)

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  8. My mom is living the fifth book!Lol Sometimes she seems like a high schooler instead of a 74-year-old woman. But, she's very happy which we were worried wouldn't happen again.

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    1. That's great news!! Love happens, baby, age has nothing to do with it. So happy for your mom!

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