My critique partner and writer friend, M.L. Rigdon/Julia Donner, has mentioned a few times now that she’d like to find books with older heroines. She was ready to read a romance that featured someone who wasn’t in her twenties or thirties, and to that end, she decided to write about an older heroine herself. She’s working on a Regency with a duchess who lost her husband to the French guillotine and fled to England to raise her son. In an earlier book, that son is grown and married. In the current book, the duchess prefers to stay in the country but comes to London as a favor to a friend, and–since it’s a romance–is pursued by a widower who finds her maturity refreshing. Maturity can be refreshing, darn it.
In POSED IN DEATH, the thriller I wrote, my protagonist, Laurel, is fifty-seven, and her romantic interest, Nick, is fifty-four. Laurel’s husband died of a heart attack, and Nick’s wife was killed in a random shooting. They’re both empty-nesters. Their children have grown and have lives of their own, and their kids want them to be happy. When Nick and Laurel team up to find how the Midlife Murderer chooses his victims and why, they encourage them to date again, to try new things. They’ve each had successes and failures. Laurel is way past menopause. She has to hit the gym to keep in shape. So does Nick. They know what they want…or don’t want. It was interesting to write their journey.
I’ve just started reading a new mystery, CRIME AND PUNCTUATION, by Kaitlyn Dunnett, and her main character is even older. Mikki Lincoln’s a retired widower who taught language arts and now makes extra money editing for writers. She’s over sixty-five and has to wear eye glasses and hearing aids. Her friends have health and eye problems, too, but they’re active and sharp witted. It lends a different flavor to the mystery to have a character who’s lived long enough to have an attitude and whose friend has to use a wheelchair on “bad” days and a scooter on worse ones. .
Good writing means creating interesting characters, and anyone of any age can qualify. But it’s nice to find some variety, to read about some older protagonists. I’m enjoying it.. Do you have any favorite heroes or heroines who are past their prime?