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Monday, August 5, 2013

Will Fifty Become The New Forty?

Would you think twice about purchasing a book if the cover depicted a man with graying or totally gray hair and an attractive mature heroine? An aging biker and a fiftyish Marian the Librarian wearing sensible shoes? What would happen if the aging biker rescued Marian from a mugger? What if they hadn’t seen each other in thirty years and he regrets—oh heck, before I plot out an entire book, I think I’d better finish this blog.

That’s right, both the hero and heroine have been around the block or at least glanced longingly at it and wished they had been brave enough, once upon a time to throw away the map and have an adventure.

The hero/heroine may have been so focused on their career that they never married or their marriage didn’t survive their demanding workload. They might be widowed or divorced or surprised that someone might think of them as a love interest. They may have children or not. Whatever is going on in your character’s lives, they have reached a point where they’ve realized that change is inevitable and necessary.

If this is a romance, they will be making some hard choices that will probably include being forced to consider life without the person who has been driving them insane through most of the book.

Wait a minute. What makes a romance between these fiftyish contemporaries so different from any other romance? Nothing—except the age of the protagonists and their unique perspective of whatever problem gets thrown at them. 

The possibilities for an interesting story and fascinating characters are endless and that is fodder for any writer’s imagination—which is probably why I stopped working on this blog for a minute and started jotting down the story inspired by Marian the Librarian. I’m a hopeless romantic. 

But then again, maybe I’m just hopeful. It isn’t that I can’t admire or want to read about a thirty-something hero and heroine but I’m looking at situations from a different perspective these days and I wouldn’t mind reading about a sexy, fiftyish hero falling for someone in his immediate age group.

Most of us are familiar with the older hero/younger heroine and even the younger hero/older heroine theme, but what if both protagonists were closer to fifty? Would the character’s age matter if the story was compelling and the excerpt intrigued you or would age be the deal-breaker as to whether or not you wanted to read past the blurb?

Until next month,
Happy Reading!
Paris Brandon
Bend Over, Cowboy-5 Stars, Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews
Petting Kitty-Ellora’s Cave
Cross My Heart-NOR Top Pick
Head Over Heels-5 Hearts, The Romance Studio
Assassin’s Kiss-4 Stars Romantic Times Book Review
No Holds Barred-4 Stars JERR


Rose Anderson said...

Something to ponder, Paris. From this side of "this hill" age wouldn't make a difference to me. My mind is all ages at once anyway. :)

Tina Donahue said...

Interesting questions, Paris. I have to say, an older hero has never bothered me. When I was in high school, the pimply boys paled in comparison to Maxim deWinter in Rebecca. God, I wanted a guy like that. Mature. Rich. Knowledgeable about sex.

As to a mature heroine - I did like that old, old, old movie Dear Heart. Saw it last year on TMC. Both the hero and heroine were older (probably 50s). I liked their romance. No sex, of course. But their chemistry worked for me.

Denysé Bridger said...

This is remarkably timely, Paris - only last night I wrote a five page outline for a story in which both hero and heroine are over 50, she's a curvy career lady, and he's a pretty sexy guy who owns his own business that specializes in renovations. Like you, I enjoy the 30s most of us write about, but life doesn't end at 50, if anything it becomes richer and more of an adventure.

I remember reading a Harlequin romance over 20 years ago in which the hero and heroine had grown-up children and were starting their relationship after the death of one of their mates - not sure which one was widowed - and I loved that book... kept waiting for more like it, but sadly never saw another. I think it's time to throw the doors open and make the older people as sexy and appealing to readers as the younger set is.

Excellent blog - and good luck with Marian the Librarian's tale... I think you're on to something there!!

Melisse Aires said...

I don't write contemporary romance but I did write an older couple in one of my scifi romances. I would read books about older couples. Sometimes a subplot in a romance will revolve around a parent's romance, always enjoyed that.

Cara Marsi said...

You make good arguments for older h/h, Paris. I usually find myself in the minority when these discussions come up. I don't want to read a romance where the h/h are older. And I'm an older person. I don't mind if the older characters are secondary, but I won't read stories where they're the main characters. Just not interested in reading about people my age.I know I'll be the only one to say this because I always get shot down when I say I don't want to read about older h/h, but it's how I feel.

Debbie Haupt said...

I LOVE Romance and it always miffs me why there can't be older protagonists, I love it when an author is brave enough to add a mom or dad romance in with the kids but this 59 year old would love a little(lot) bedplay between older folks you know we don't hang up the toys when we leave our 30s :)

Paris said...

Hi Rose,

Thanks! I love reading romance and if the story looks interesting, age doesn't matter to me, either.

Paris said...


I loved the movie, Dear Heart! I haven't seen it in ages, thanks for reminding me. Yes, I always thought the older guys like Maxim were great also!

Paris said...


You're right. Life doesn't end at fifty and I don't think the possibility for a romantic adventure should end, either:)

Paris said...


Thanks! Yes, I'm used to having a secondary romance contain older characters and I always enjoy them. Maybe, with the baby-boomers hitting their stride, it's time to shake things up and make them the focus.

Paris said...


Thanks for your honest opinion! I don't know that I would want a steady diet of older protagonist but an interesting story now and then would be fun.

Paris said...


Thanks! I think that's a fabulous idea:)

Sandy said...

Great blog, Paris. I'm hearing 60 is the new 30. Smile! My book, The Catalyst didn't sell well because the hero was 50 and the heroine was 45. I had wanted them older, but I was beaten down by my peers, so I made them younger, but obviously not young enough. Wink! I guess when we get to our 50's and 60's we're suppose to die. Well, I'm not going to.

Sandy said...

One more thing I want to say, or maybe a few more things. lol My husband is 77, and I'm 69, and we have a very active sex life. Just recently my husband bought a Suzuki Burgman 400 motor scooter, not a small one either, and we have been tooling around on it. You're only as old as you want to be.

Paris said...


I know 50 is far from over the hill but I don't know if society is interested in that particular fact. I think there may be a market for the novels somewhere down the road but for now,I think the thirty and forty year-old h/h have the field.

jean hart stewart said...

Older protagonists can be wonderful. Think Judy Dench in The Marigold Hotel...

Melissa Keir said...

I don't consider age with my stories. I tend to put the characters in my mind at my own age, even if they aren't.

I think that romance is changing and we'll see more variety of ages and story lines.

Paris said...


I loved Judy Dench in that movie and her character is a wonderful example! That movie is one of my favorites:)

Paris said...


Good point. I think many of us tend to put ourselves in the characters place, which may be why many would rather be thirty than sixty.

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