IF WE WRITE THEM, WILL THEY READ

January 19, 2013 by in category Archives tagged as , , , , with 6 and 0
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Monica Stoner, Member at Large

 
Does romance end after a certain age? Is there some preordained cutoff for intimacy? I’m sure many young people might want to believe their parents only did the deed often enough to produce children because thinking about the alternative might give them nightmares.

Fact is, romance doesn’t die at any one specific age though to peruse the Romance section of a book store one might draw the conclusion a heroine over thirty is also over that proverbial hill. At a time when publishing decisions were based on advice from people barely out of college, that might be understandable. But in this very brave and shiny new world of small presses and self publishing, why don’t we see more heroines, well, our age?

Could the lack of mature heroines be caused by habits and standards established in those earlier days of publishing (all of five or so years ago?) Or do we write what we believe people want to read? Do we worry if we were to write about people falling in love at the same time their arches are falling, we won’t find enough of an audience?

Remember the phrase “Love, like youth, is wasted on the young” from that lovely 1960 song “The Second Time Around?”
 

“Love is lovelier the second time around

Just as wonderful with both feet on the ground

It’s that second time you hear your love song sung

Makes you think, perhaps, that love like youth

Is wasted on the young…”

Words by Sammy Cahn and Music by Jimmy Van Heusen

-Performed by Bing Crosby in the 1960 film “High Time”,

This is considered a classic love song, well at least by the people I knew in high school. A lot of those people read books, and some of those readers peruse the Romance shelves. How many of your friends read Romance? And how many of those readers do you think might be just a bit tired of flawless skin, perky body parts, and an air of wide eyed innocence?

It’s an intriguing question. Right now the hot age group seems to be teens into twenties, and some of those books are extremely well written. Does this mean we should all be pounding out our own YA or MG books? I admire these authors but teens live in another universe with their very own language from me, and I sincerely doubt I could ever create a book in that genre. Having survived my teens, twenties, thirties, and beyond, I believe I could create a story about those young people many decades later.

What do you think? Is there a need for books about people whose libido didn’t dry up and blow away the day they bought their first pair of support hose?

Monica Stoner writes as Mona Karel in multiple sub genres.

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A Slice of Orange started in 2004 as a group of authors from Orange County, California. We have expanded to include authors from around the globe–from the UK, all across the US to New Zealand. Our authors include the multi-published and writers at the beginning of their publishing career. In addition to authors, we feature blog posts from editors, PR professionals, and cover designers. The bright segments of the writing and reading community that make up one perfect entity—A Slice of Orange.

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    A Slice of Orange started in 2004 as a group of authors from Orange County, California. We have expanded to include authors from around the globe–from the UK, all across the US to New Zealand. Our authors include the multi-published and writers at the beginning of their publishing career. In addition to authors, we feature blog posts from editors, PR professionals, and cover designers. The bright segments of the writing and reading community that make up one perfect entity—A Slice of Orange.
  • Anonymous says:

    Self publishing might be the way to go but I wouldn't pass up some of the small presses.
    I do believe there's an untapped pool of potential readers who would appreciate characters with a bit more seasoning

  • Anonymous says:

    As an old broad (and writer) myself, I've often pondered how old a heroine I can get away with and still have an audience. I've published several cougar stories of women in their mid-40s.

    But I'm almost convinced I have to have TWO pairs of lovers in one story, one that draws in the 21-40 crowd and another where the mother or *shudder* grandmother finds romance at her advanced age.

    Thanks for bringing the subject up for discussion.

  • Anonymous says:

    Monica:

    Thank you so much for putting into words exactly what I've been thinking and wondering about myself. I'm totally tired of the lack of diversity in romance stories when it comes to the ages of the characters. There's no question in my mind there's a huge bias against "older romance" stories. You're so right about the current hot age group is the teens-twenties. I was recently shocked to see so many shelves at my local Barnes & Noble store devoted to those readers. I guess we have "Twilight" and "Harry Potter" to thank for that phenomenon.

    I've continued to read romance stories to try to hone my craft. However, I'm very weary of reading about 20-30 somethings with their hard bodies and never ending orgasms. As an older "baby boomer," I want to read about realistic people in my age group who have lived a while, learned a few things and are willing to take another chance on love. I can't help thinking there are other readers out there somewhere just like me.

    With that in mind, I'm considering the idea of eventually self-publishing whatever story I finally finish. I'm new to the journey of writing but I continue to find it fascinating and worthwhile (although it's a lot harder than I thought it would be!). Who knows? Maybe we'll someday succeed in creating a whole new sub-genre in the world of romance fiction. I, for one, certainly hope so.

    Mary Jo

  • Anonymous says:

    Marianne, I'm thinking about it, along with several people in a discussion group. I think we need more writers to explore the idea of love at any age

  • Anonymous says:

    Here, Here! I recently heard a wonderful true story that was post menapausal in the age of the characters, it certainly cast a shiney new light on the future. Life doesn't end with the loss of youth, it actually gets bolder and brighter. Let's hear it for the wise heroine.

  • Interesting post, Monica. Are you planning to write an older herione?

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