Even if younger generations want to typecast us, we don’t have to accept it. Author Mary Ellen Woods, who lives in central Florida, certainly doesn’t. She has found a second career, and by writing about romance among baby boomers, she is writing for us! Her first effort is We Shall Ne’er Be Younger.
To keep the interest of teenagers while teaching U.S. history for thirty-five years, I became pretty good at storytelling. When I retired, I needed to keep mentally active and decided to take up a second career as an author. The plan was to write a John Jakes-style historical fiction series. But while researching the publishing industry, I got interested in the romance genre. My book had a love story within it and romance is the most popular and highest selling genre.
I discovered romance novels populated with heroes and heroines under forty, most in their twenties. I had a hard time identifying with the protagonists and reasoned that other older women, the most voracious readers of the genre, might feel the same way. With the popularity of online dating sites for baby boomers and sales of medications such as Viagra, I believed there was a market for romances that featured couples over fifty. Those novels I found featuring older couples as their characters were generally very tame, what is classified as “Clean and Wholesome.” Yet women of all ages raved about naughty novels such as “Fifty Shades of Grey.” So it seemed to me that boomers were being stereotyped and portrayed as though they were not sexual beings anymore.
I set out to remedy that by making the statement that those of us over fifty can still find not only love but sexy encounters. That’s why I wrote and published a steamy romance with both the hero and the heroine over fifty. When I released the novel on Amazon last fall, the reaction was what I expected. Younger readers who reviewed the novel saw it simply as another romance. But boomers, both male and female, were much more enthusiastic, often commenting that they could identify with the couple.
Here’s a short example from an excerpt:
His tongue is exploring every corner of my mouth when the bell dings. He pivots around, releasing me from the wall. The doors open and two twenty-something men get on the elevator. I tug down the hem of my dress.
The young men smirk and turn to face the door. I shoot Mike a glance. He is pleased with himself. The elevator dings. As the two young men disembark, one turns and remarks, “Bet you thank God for Viagra.” My face goes red as the doors close.
I plan to write more of this type of romance novel as part of a series I’ll call “The Silver Chronicles.” I’ll fight the stereotype that all we do is play golf and knit. While those activities are fine, my novels also serve to remind younger readers that we don’t stop having desires because we are over fifty. Not all my novels will feature mature couples, because that would stereotype me. I’ve accomplished what I intended, giving boomer readers heroes and heroines more like themselves by portraying my characters as sexually active men and women.