Sunday, July 3, 2011

Guest Blog: Does Age Matter?

This is my first blog with Sweet 'N Sexy Divas, and I wanted to start off with a bang, discussing what is a controversial subject for some readers and writers.

Last year I ran across a blog that brought up a discussion on the age of authors, in particular, romance authors. One commenter was "creeped out" by and avoided authors that were older and quite a few of the other commenters agreed. Apparently, to these women in their 20's, older women shouldn't be writing of such things as sex and love because it's "creepy". At first I was outraged, then later I laughed at this misconception. Since then I have interviewed many "older" writers such at Kate Douglas, Dakota Banks,and Bernita Harris, who are bestselling authors. The good news is that those commenters seem to be in the minority. I just turned 51 in June, and I've had two paranormal romance short stories published plus I'm working on two novellas and another short story this summer.

Do I feel "too old" to write romance? Not in the least! Why? Because at my age I've experienced the teenage first love, the twenties when it was more about lust then later about hurt and loss, and finally the true love of finding my soul mate. It didn't stop there though, I've also experienced the difficult years of pregnancy, babies and adjusting to a life where spontaneous passion was a thing of the past, but planned passion was wonderful. Now? I'm in the midst of a mature love that comes with knowing my partner so well that we can laugh, experiment and yes, STILL experience deep passion. Who better to write romance then writers who've experienced so much love and life?

I've noticed that many writers are featuring main characters who are in their 30's and 40's, and I applaud that trend. As far as the age of the author, I don't consider that factor one way or the other in my reading choices. Why should we? A writer's words speak for who they are, and if their stories touch us in some way then they have done their job regardless of their age. Personally, I feel qualified to write characters of any age because I've experienced love, lust, passion, loss, pain, laughter, and everything in between during my 51 years. I hope to share those feelings with you through my words now and in the future, regardless of my age. I also hope to never judge a writer on how old or young they may be.

How do you as a reader, or writer, feel about a writer's age?

Brenda Hyde has been a freelance writer of home and garden articles for over 20 years, and now she's also writing paranormal romance through short stories and novellas. You can find her at the Wayfaring Writer blog here: http://moonsanity.blogspot.com/.


Tina Donahue said...

Great subject, Brenda - I had no idea anyone was even discussing the topic. I don't care how old an author is, what s/he looks like, whether they're married/divorced/single, etc. etc.

All I care about is the story they write. Period.

Anonymous said...

Age doesn't matter. I think people assume that young women and men don't have enough life experience to pen a story that has a lot of deeper dynamics in it. Maybe they do maybe they don't themselves but have seen it through friends or family members. Age is def a number.I write all ages :) I loved writing my midlife second chance meeting! Great post

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Great topic, Brenda.
I can't imagine anyone making a more biased and unfounded judgement on such a rediculous premise for writing as the age of a romance writer. I suppose we must notify those ancient romance relics, Nora Roberts, Linda Lael Miller and Debbie MaComber to step aside because they are no longer qualified to write romance because their shelf life is up. I don't think I've heard a more absurd assumption.
All the best to you, Brenda.

Brenda Hyde said...

I know! This was over a year ago, and I was mad I stopped following the blog- it was a review blog, so these were mostly readers commenting and as I mentioned the people who felt that way were 20 or so-- I remember someone asking. I think it's kind of the "OMG, my parents or grandparents couldn't be doing THAT?". I was really stunned that anyone would care about the ago of the author, young or old. I certainly don't consider that before I read a book.

Adele Dubois said...

Brenda--Welcome! Interesting post.

I just returned from the RWA National Conference in NY, attended by 2,000+ romance writers. If readers assume romance authors are young, they will be sorely disappointed over and over again. Very few are under age 40 and many are in their 50's and 60's. The reason? It takes years to write novels, more years to become published and many more to develop a following. I can think of only a handful of authors who made it in publishing in their 20's. Thirties is more common, and forty more likely.


Pommawolf Emeraldwolfeyes said...

Thank you Ladies!

I turned 51 this last December, and I love my age with the exception that everyone else has an issue with it. I get it mostly when I'm with one or both of my 2 children. They either don't believe their ages or mine.
I have never thought about the age of the authors, but just enjoy the stories.
I wonder if most don't know that many of the authors that they do read are old enough to be their parents?
Probably not, but age shouldn't matter. I just love the stories...*S*


Brenda Hyde said...

Darcy--- Now that I think about it-- the one gal said something about if she didn't know it's was okay, but she didn't want to see a picture of an older author- I should have kept a copy of the comments but I was so horrified I didn't think of it.

Adele--I'll always remember the first time I saw pics of authors from RWA and I was so excited because I could picture myself being there one day. They didn't all look like sophisticated New Yorkers:) Some were older and short like me. LOL

Fiona McGier said...

That's part of the reason that I don't want my picture on any of my books. I don't want anyone to think that I am the heroine, when it's only a figment of my imagination that is the heroine. And I don't want anyone being "squigged-out" because I'm too old to be writing about sex. But then, who really is too old? Is 50 or 60 too old? How about 70 or 80? My personal belief is that if you use it you won't lose it...so if you can keep having sex until the day you die at 99, in bed with your man, from a massive multiple orgasm, then more power to you! And please leave a written explanation as to how you were able to do that! ;-D

And let's not even go into the old double-standard thing, where men are okay to marry old and even father kids in their 80s (yes, Tony Randall, I mean you!...Hef too.) But women, once they are unable to have kids, are suddenly too old? Sheesh! That's when sex really gets fun, when you never have to worry about getting pregnant anymore! Methinks those 20-somethings are none too comfortable with their own sexuality yet, to be so judgmental.

Great blog post! Thanks for sharing.

Brenda Hyde said...

Go Fiona! I couldn't have said it better myself. I remember when I turned 40 and after that started reading up on menopause. I was so upset because so much of what I read made it seem like I'd lose interest in sex. Imagine my surprise when it didn't happen and things are even better than before. Of course, I also discovered the romance genre in my 40's and got a lot of "tips". LOL