Have you noticed that most romance novels are peopled by the young and beautiful? Yeah, I’m a master of stating the obvious. Sure, traditionally-published novels usually starred those under thirty-five. In fact, an editor once said to an author: “Make your heroine twenty-three years old and the CEO of a company.”
I swear that is the absolute truth. Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t know too many 23-year-old CEOs.
The point is that traditional publishing had this idea that readers were all in their twenties and they didn’t want to read about anybody much older than they were. (Is it any wonder so many authors happily deserted traditional publishers and embraced indie authorship?)
Still, the idea of romance and sex being for those below forty holds sway. Even we indie authors write heroines younger than our generation. I think one reason we do this is that we—people in general—have a self-image embedded in the brain that doesn’t age. That’s why you are startled when you walk down the street and catch your reflection in a store window. Ever done that? Ever thought, “My God, I look just like my mother!”
Shaking It Up
I love writing about two people who find each other in life. There’s romance and sex and passion and, in the end, commitment. But, I also love shaking things up a bit. I sometimes throw in a secondary romance between people of a certain age.
In Still The One, the main love story was Burke and Ally. Burke’s grandfather and Ally’s grandmother were scheming matchmakers who were also in love and having an affair after meeting on a cruise ship. Yes, they talked about sex! Oh, horrors. Seventy-something people talking sexily. What’s the world coming to?
In The Trouble With Love, Deputy Susannah Quinn and Special Agent Hogan are the main love story, but I get more comments and email about Susannah’s mom Tory and Hogan’s Uncle Walter. These middle-aged people fell hard and fast for each other–in lust and in love.
In Old Enough to Know Better, Stormy is an older woman, and her soul mate just happens to be a younger man, Sean Butler. Sean has all he can do to woo Stormy who obstinately refuses to become involved with him—even though she’s half in love with him anyway. In the end, he prevails. I don’t want to spoil the ending in case you haven’t read this book, but he gives her a pendant with an engraving that sums up Stormy’s attitude about finding love.
So if you’re older than 30—or 40, 50, 60, or beyond—don’t despair. The road of life is long and offers love and romance—and, yes, sex too—every step of the way. You can fall in love, and you can read about women and men your age falling in love. In this new age of publishing, authors aren’t restricted by arbitrary age guidelines. We can write all kinds of stories—even romance novels with over the hill lovers if we wish.
Love at any age is amazing, intense, breathtaking, and wonderful. When you’re older, that’s still true—sometimes all those feelings are magnified. In “The Man in Lower Ten,” Mary Roberts Rinehart wrote: “Love is like the measles. The older you get, the worse the attack.” Now that is the stuff of romantic comedy!
No matter your age, I wish you the kind of love I write about in my romantic comedies!
(Joan Reeves writes funny, sexy Romance Novels. For your consideration, get your flirt on with any of her novels, available at most ebook sellers, with audio editions available at Audible and iTunes. Joan publishes Writing Hacks, a free subscription newsletter for writers, and I♥Books, a free subscription newsletter for readers. Visit SlingWords, Joan’s Blog, or her Website.)