Older Characters

What do I mean by those words? For some people, 35 is older. I’m sorry, I really have a hard time wrapping my mature mind around that concept. 40? Yeah, I can go there. Except I was really in my prime during my 40s and 50’s. I ran for the school board for the first time when I was 40. (and lost–not fun, but ran again when I was 44 and won. Much more fun. 😊)

IMG_3312 kids hate this pic.:)

I was in my 50’s when I went back to school to get principal certification. And I didn’t begin writing until I was in my 60’s. Maybe I’m just a late bloomer? Well, yeah pretty sure. But I’d argue age and our perception of age has changed. Even for women.

Women in the real world anyway, perhaps not in Hollywood. But the last I checked, I don’t live there. 😉

I write romances with heroes and heroines in their 40-s and 50’s. Second chance love, but always with danger thrown in. My tag line is “Romance, Suspense, Second Chances. Experience Required.” My stories almost always have the parents of the main characters in them, too, as supporting characters, so folks in their 70’s. I like the generational thing.

I remember attending my first RWA convention. It was in Dallas, and I’d just retired from being an elementary school principal. I went not knowing a soul, not even belonging to a local chapter. Everyone was welcoming and friendly. One of the sessions was put on by Harlequin, I think, and they were touting their new line of romance with older characters. I can’t remember its clever name, but I do remember thinking, Yea! There’s a place for me. LOL Remember, I was very green.

I didn’t even know that I don’t write category romance. I believe that line fell by the wayside. But as we’ve all grown older (a thing, if we’re lucky. we do), the idea of reading about folks who are closer to our own age falling in love and solving problems and getting into scrapes and getting out of them has grown in popularity.

On Facebook, I belong to a group for writers of Seasoned Romance. I understand at RWA this summer there will be a panel on this subject as there was at the recent RT conference.

This makes me happy. Partly because maybe there will be more readers for my books, but also because there will be more books for me to read.IMG_3926

My husband read a recent NY Times article about the importance of reading and raising kids to be productive adults. The author accepted a challenge to read 100 books a year—of all kinds. He and his wife challenged their teenagers to accept the challenge. They haven’t yet made it, but that’s one of those goals that even if you don’t make it, you accomplish a whole lot with the attempt.

I confess to not reading a wide variety of books, but even when I was laid up all last summer with my broken ankle resting above my heart, I didn’t read 100 books in that year. That’s a huge goal, but a worthwhile one for a person of any age to set.

So, where do you fall in your reading? Only read books with younger heroes and heroines? Do you read multiple genres? How about the number. Are you in the 100 Club?  Love to hear from you.

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10 thoughts on “Older Characters

  1. Joanne Guidoccio says:

    Hi Marsha, Excellent post! I write novels with older protagonists…or what some like to call boomer lit. And that’s what I like to read. I also read memoirs, historical fiction, and self-help books. Each year I pledge to read 50 books. According to Goodreads, I read 59 last year. As for 100 books a year…that’s a daunting goal!

    Liked by 2 people

    • marsharwest says:

      Hey, Joanne. Thanks. Good for you for keeping a count of what you read and for reading a variety of stuff. I’m pretty sure I must’ve read 50 last year, but that was only because of the forced inactivity. I’m impressed you can do that with an active, busy life. Thanks for stopping by and for sharing. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. vicki says:

    Hi, Marsha! I read books with characters of many ages. A good story is what’s important with characters to like. They can be of any age. I haven’t read stats in a while, but I’m guessing older readers read more and read a big variety.

    Liked by 2 people

    • marsharwest says:

      Hey, Vicki. Good for you having a more eclectic taste. When I went back to reading years before I began writing I was drawn to romantic suspense, so I wanted to write that. As I struggled with the “rules” I stopped reading other types of fiction, because I was afraid I’d pick up the things that worked for that style of writing that might not work for RS. Maybe I’d be okay now. I can read cozies without that style creeping in. I don’t want to confuse readers or myself. LOL I agree with your assessment of older readers’s reading habits. Thanks for stopping by and for sharing.

      Like

  3. Jacquie Biggar says:

    Enjoyed this post, Marsha. I can remember when I used to read a hundred books, back before writing took over my time! 🙂
    Goodreads has a fun yearly challenge where you can guess how many stories you’ll read and they keep count. I like a variety of genres and age groups, though I have to admit I like my heroes to be somewhere in their thirties (if I’m going to fantasize, he may as well be perfect! lol)

    Liked by 1 person

    • marsharwest says:

      Hey, Jacquie. Glad you enjoyed the post. I’m impressed with the numbers of books you read. I’ve always read a lot (well, not for the 15 years I was in education–then it was all education related), but never have come close to 100. I love that Goodreads does that, but then I have to remember to go there and fill in that I’ve finished a book. The young guys, hus? You go for it, girl. LOL Never have liked the young guys, even when I was a young. We all have our own fantasies. Thanks for stopping by and for sharing. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Kathryn Jane says:

    Yay for older characters, Marsha! Like Vicki, I like reading a good story, regardless of age, but I don’t usually enjoy romances with characters under thirty.
    As for writing, I lean toward the 35 to 50 range, although my last book had a very sexy couple that were 60!
    And reading, well, that all depends on circumstance. When I lived on a remote ranch, winters were very long, and I often read a book a day. Now however, I’m so busy writing that I’m very selective. I read every new JD Robb, and Janet Evanovich (Stephanie Plum series) … and I re-read the series I love.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. marsharwest says:

    Hey, Kathryn. Can’t wait to read your latest with the 60 year olds. I’m not a fan of Robb or the Evanovich books., but I know so many are. Just a weirdness in me, I think. I’ve re-read scenes from Nora Roberts and Carla Neggars, and Suzanne Brockman. well, and a few of yours, too.
    Nora’s The Villa was kind of an inspiration that I could write older characters. So glad we found Seasoned Romance on FB. Nice to know there are others toiling in the same vineyard. Thanks for stopping by and for sharing.

    Like

  6. LD Masterson says:

    As a boomer, I enjoy reading books with more mature characters. But I still tend to write younger characters – I want my MC to be able to do all the things I can’t anyone (or never could). To add on to Kathryn’s comment – I never read Nora Robert’s romances but I have all the JD Robb’s. I guess I’m more into mystery. I enjoyed Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series for the first 13 or so books then lost patience with Plum’s inability to choose between Joe and Ranger and gave up on her.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marsha R. West says:

      Hey, LD. Interesting the separation of Roberts’ books. I have friends who swear by the Robb stories and I’m just not into that future thing. I like mysteries, too, but they have to have romance smushed in there. And I just did not like Stephanie Plum.But hey, isn’t that great? All kinds of folks for all kinds of books. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. 🙂

      Like

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