A few years ago, when I was trying to sell my novel Confessions of the World’s Oldest Shotgun Bride to a publisher, I had the honor of working with a knowledgable industry professional. Recognizing that she knew a lot more than I did about the publishing biz, I parked my ego at the door and accepted her advice without a fight.
Except when it came to one issue — the heroine’s age.
Confessions is an older woman/younger man story. I originally wrote the heroine, Kathryn, as 41 and the hero as 29. My advisor, however, said a romance heroine in her forties wouldn’t sell. That didn’t feel right to me, since I’m older than that, and I know a lot of women my age — late Baby Boom to early Gen X range — who read romance. Surely it wasn’t too late for people like us to find love? But I wanted to sell the book. So I changed the heroine to 39, which I described as “just the right side of 40.” Still not good enough, I was told. So I reluctantly settled for “in her mid-thirties” — which I thought of as 38, but figured other people could think of as 33.
Eventually I got an offer from a small press, but chose instead to go the indie publishing route. I don’t bother changing the heroine’s age back, though, and I smiled when one reviewer said she wasn’t sure how old Kathryn was supposed to be. My fudging hadn’t gone unnoticed.
Then about a year ago I discovered the Facebook group Seasoned Romance (https://www.facebook.com/groups/958318970951705/), “a place for place for readers and writers of love stories with heroes and heroines in their 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond.” And I smiled again. I had found my tribe — people who appreciated cougars and silver foxes. People who know it’s never too late to fall in love.
Today is the last day of the Seasoned Romances 99 cents sale (http://seasonedromances.com), featuring books by 24 authors from the Seasoned Romance group. Drop by if you enjoy a bargain and understand that love knows no age.
About the Author
Before becoming a writer, Gail Hart spent a few years as an Air Force JAG, then settled in as a lawyer and manager for the U.S. government. Despite what opposing counsel sometimes said about her briefs, she didn’t write any fiction until later in her career. She must have been destined to be a romance writer, though, because even the law review article she wrote had “sex” in the title. She spent most of her life on the east coast but now lives in San Antonio, where she doesn’t miss the cold.