That’s a question I hear from readers about my latest book, Everything She Ever Wanted: A Different Kind of Love Novel. In a book world where heroines are mostly between 18-30, why did I pick a heroine who’s (gasp!) 40-years-old? Why couldn’t I make her 30 or 27? Why risk getting her called a cougar, her story lumped in with the older-woman-younger-man tropes that apparently isn’t popular among readers, if not detested by many?
My answer is simple: because not all women are between 18 to 30. Neither do you have to be within that age to be considered beautiful and worthy of a book.
In a world dictated by categories and subcategories and their corresponding keywords, I was close to categorizing the book as literary fiction instead of contemporary romance. But even that train of thought gave me pause. It made me realize that the older we get, the more we become invisible in books and movies… in popular culture. And I wasn’t having any of it, not anymore. At least, not for Harlow James, the heroine who came to me exactly as she was, successful at forty but alone and having just suffered a great loss.
“It is what it is,” has even become my favorite saying about my writing of late. I don’t question the why’s of my writing process anymore, or why I write the stuff I write. I just do. They’re the questions I ask myself and seek answers to. It’s what I learned from Ray Bradbury when I met him twice so many years ago, when he’d tell fellow writers to never stop asking, “What if…?”
And so I asked that question. “What if an older woman fell in love again?”
Those things still do happen, right?
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