07-14-18 Cassandra O’Leary

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Am I showing my age… I don’t think so!

I’m a baby boomer—just. I was born in the early 60’s and, apparently, I’m supposed to be 'entering a certain phase in my life’ where I will want to read and watch different things. Things that relate more to my transition into middle age. Does that mean I have to change, and do I want to change what I'm writing or even reading?

I hate that word middle aged. I certainly don’t feel middle aged. I hope I don't look middle aged. I've always considered myself a 'young' quinquagenarian. What was middle aged in my mother's day, is probably now 15 years later today, because we are keeping fitter by being more active, living longer, working longer, medical advances etc.

I’ve always wanted to watch, and read, about different life phases-youth adult, new adult, young, old, rich, poor etc. I hate any kind of ageism or ism. I don’t feel any different now than I did 10 years ago, 20 years ago…. So, I’m not sure as a writer I will be changing who and what I write about.

Some are saying that boomer literature is the new ‘trend’. What is boomer literature? It’s books with characters and stories that appeal to the ‘older’ baby boomer generation (late 1940's to early 1960's) because they can relate more to older characters facing the same transition into middle age. The rise of hits like, The Best Little Exotic Marigold Hotel, is an example. I loved that movie because of the fabulous writing, with strong characters that appealed across all walks of life. I may be getting older but that doesn't mean I ONLY want older characters.

Maybe I’m an exception, but I love all kinds of romance. They say variety is the spice of life. I like to
read broadly. I love historical romance obviously, that’s why I write it. I also love paranormal romance, same sex romance, contemporary romance, and romantic suspense—as well as other fiction and non-fiction books. I don’t care if the heroine and hero are younger or older. What I do care about is the depth to them and the fears and obstacles they face on their journey to their HEA. Do older characters make the book more relatable for me? Maybe. I have a very vivid imagination and I relate to people across many age groups. In addition, it depends on what I'm in the mood for reading at the time.

Would I like to see more books with older heroines and heroes, sure, but not exclusively. I will still focus more on writing, intelligent characters with understandable fears. Fears that make them interesting, real, complex characters. This means I often don’t mind if they are older, same sex, younger, disabled, etc.

They say baby boomer romance is wanted because boomers are transitioning into another phase of their life. That is probably true, but it doesn’t mean I want to leave my younger days behind. I think reading, and writing books with younger characters keeps me young in my thinking and my outlook on life.

Everything in moderation is a great saying. I can’t wait to read some of these baby boomer stories, I suspect they will be fabulous, and I'll really enjoy them. However, I’ll write what I love to write—which currently is sensual, romantic historicals—with men and women of various ages, but predominantly younger than I. How does the saying go, "You're as young as the man you're feeling—or in my case in my 50's, I'm as young as the man I'm reading or writing about....

Is the H/h's age something you think about when deciding on which books to read? Would you like to see older heroes and heroines, if so why? Or does it not matter as long as you fall in love with the characters? 


Judith Ashley said...

Great post, Bron. I'm just outside the Boomers in that I was born in the early '40's. I agree that if the characters are well-developed, age isn't something I pay attention to. What I do have a problem with are the twenty-somethings that are head of their company, mega-rich, etc. It isn't that I have a problem per se - it's just that it reminds me of the movies of the '50's where the people live in luxury even though they are out-of-work with no income. Loved the escapism and I was young enough the disconnect didn't really register.

Yes, there are the mega-millionaires who started their business in the garage, etc. but I need references to the challenges they faced in making those millions if I'm going to sit back and read about them finally finding true love and their HEA. Otherwise, show me how they struggled balancing building this mega-business and having any relationships and now that they are a success, why they want to be involved with someone and 'set up their nursery'.

Sarah Raplee said...

Great post, Bron! I'm an eclectic reader like you. Give me a great story! I read my first Baby Boomer-type Romance years ago. Don't remember the title, but I remember the author - Anne McCaffrey, famous for her SciFi-Fantasy stories (The Dragons of Pern), probably because a contemporary romance with an older couple was both a huge change for her and almost unheard of at the time. I also remember the awesome characters and the issues they faced.

At the time, those characters were quite a bit older than me and some of their issues were different than mine, but that was part of the reason I loved the book - just as I have YA favorites and I love the Grandma Maur character in Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum Series.

Diana McCollum said...

Interesting post, Bron! I read every age group across the board. My least favorite would be YA. Very few of those books I can get interested in. A few years back, Harlequin had a line called "Next". Similar to baby boomer books in that the kids are grown and the heroine was looking for her "Next" phase in life. I really enjoyed those books. My friend Susan Crosby wrote for that line along with her other Harlequin obligations. I was very sorry when Harlequin discontinued that line.