Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Grow Old Along with Me. . .

“Just because there’s snow on the roof, it doesn’t mean the fire’s gone out in the hearth.”
“Why in the world do you write romance with over-the-hill characters?”

I can think of only three books in which I’ve included “young love”. Nothing wrong with that--we’ve all been there. However, young doesn’t stay young, but we home love doesn’t disappear, too. So I often write characters who fall in love when they’re past the “romantic fantasy” stage of life-or maybe for the second time. Why? Let me count the reasons.

Not all readers are 18. Many women who read romance can identify with the struggles of falling and staying in love in spite of the odds only in memory. But when they put down the book and look in the mirror, they know the characters aren’t “them” any longer. The story was fun while it lasted, but now it’s over. Is the reader “over”, too? She/he hopes not.

Enter the character pushing 30, over 40, or even a senior citizen. She has a few miles on her, and she knows what love means--and what it doesn’t mean. She can appreciate a man for who and what he is--not his good looks and money. The physical intimacy is nice, but the year-to-year companionship may be even better. She’s done with the fantasy of “when I grow up” and ready for the reality of “my life now”.

So, yes, I often write--maybe even prefer to write--older characters. They’re real. They live in the real world, not the one they think exists somewhere out there. They have a lot to teach the younger generation because they’ve lived in another one. They’re more comfortable with themselves, more accepting of other people’s foibles, and less apt to take chances just for the sake of taking chances.

In Where Is Papa’s Shining Star? and its sequel, Finding Papa’s Shining Star, Alan has fought more battles than just the one in the trenches in France which left him permanently blind. Lenore is still fighting her circumstances and her fear. 

In The Showboat Affair (written as Gwyneth Greer), Jean and Nick are willing to take a second chance on love, even though it means they sometimes feel they’re running for their lives.

In Ruthann’s War, currently under contract to The Wild Rose Press and awaiting edits, Ruthann meets a man 22 years her senior and finds a love to last two lifetimes.

In The Penelope Pembroke Cozy Mystery Series, Penelope has been around the block once and is determined to stay parked--until Sam turns up. He hasn’t just been around the block but rather to hell and back.

There’s a tenderness between older lovers not found in younger ones rushing to live a lifetime in a moment. And that’s what appeals to me and, I think, to others of my generation and perhaps younger. In the words of a song popular while I was growing up, a “little tenderness” makes real life worth living.

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