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Thursday Thought Provoker–A Question of Age

Thursday, May 31, 2012

ROMANCE READERS: Do you have a preference for how old you prefer the main characters to be in a romance novel? Does it make a difference if it’s contemporary vs. historical?

ROMANCE WRITERS: Do you have an age range into which your characters normally fall?

  1. Thursday, May 31, 2012 12:11 am

    In what I read, I’m not particularly picky though I don’t generally search for ‘older’* hero/ines.

    As for what I write… most of my h/h are mid-late 20s or 30ish, though I have one WIP with an 18-19yo heroine and 21yo hero. And another is book 1 in a series with the h/h in their mid-30s [and book 2 will be too, not sure about 3 yet].

    I think younger heroines [especially but heroes too] are more acceptable in historicals. My 18yo is book 3 in a series where she’s been in the other two books so hopefully people care about her already without the age thing being an issue. Personally, I’m glad to see more with h/h finding true love for the first time in their 30s/40s, but I’d also like to see more young couples. While, yes, most Americans are waiting later and later and mid-20s is ‘average’ these days, there’s still plenty of couples who marry in their late teens/very early 20s.

    My .02 :). If it’s worth that much :D.

    *Older = anyone more than 10-15 years older than me 😉


  2. Thursday, May 31, 2012 1:28 am

    I read a book in which the heroine was in her 40’s. While it was a refreshing change from the 20-somethings usually seen, the author loaded her with so much mid-life drama that I didn’t find it a happy escape. Felt like she *really* needed the hero’s rescue.
    It might not have been so bad had the cover reflected the slightly older character instead of a perky co-ed. Then I would have felt better prepared for the story.

    I generally don’t care about the age of the characters unless it’s a Regency/Victorian as circumstances there often depend on the age of the heroine.

    As far as writing, I’ve noticed that my characters usually age not too far behind me (as least so far). It’s just easier. That puts them anywhere from mid 20’s to 30’s.


  3. Thursday, May 31, 2012 2:44 am

    I’m not sure I had ever read a story where the heroine was older (30’s) until I read your Art of Romance. I liked the more mature characters. That’s really what hooked me. Personally, I don’t enjoy the drama depicted of the younger generation in contemporary novels so I stay away from them, if possible.

    I read a lot of Amish fiction so the age spans vary, depending on the author, and I don’t mind.

    In most historicals I expect the heroine to be younger, but I like my heroes to be older. I’m thinking Mr Knightley or Mr Thornton here 😉

    Has anyone read any historicals where the heroine is in her 30’s or 40’s, and the hero is in his 40’s or 50’s? Are there even any like that?


  4. Thursday, May 31, 2012 4:30 am

    I love seeing an older heroine, (Love your ones cos they were older) I have read a few more chick lits where the heroine is hitting the 30ish age and having a real crisis and desperate to be married which really bug me. I did go through a bit of a crisis then but it was more to do with being excluded alot because I was single.
    I know in Historical books people married younger but there were reasons some didn’t and l like the older heroine where its explained why they are still single.
    J.M. I agree with how some older heroines are given such drama. Alot also take the route where they are single due to marriage break up or widow hood.

    There are lots of us singles out there who are over 40 and never really had a boyfriend and its not cos there is anything wrong with us! I did go to a couple of singles camps which were good as they were for Christian singles over 23 I was about about 25 at the time and it was frustrating that so many singles there wanted to be part of a couple and were having counseling for being single. The more contented singles were actually the older ones they were happy in there own skin. I found it interesting as I wasn’t looking for someone but more to be with other singles and not being left out of things which happens when all your friends marry.


  5. Thursday, May 31, 2012 9:10 am

    i prefer older heroes with younger heroines. think venetia and jasper in heyer’s ‘venetia’, as one example.

    older, world-weary guys who have edge and cutting humour beguiled by a younger heroine who makes them believe in light and innocence; but also has a spark.

    alternatively ( and sometimes hand in hand ) i love unrequited love stories—well, SEEMINGLY unrequited love stories, where the guy or girl pines for the other even though it takes years, other relationships and misunderstandings for them to be together.thus, they subsequently age over this time. my favourite romance heroes are the angsty, misunderstood types with hearts of gold who, though possessing a brash exterior, would die for the heroine: i like colonel brandon a lot for this —- i love neil macneill in ”christy’ and paul emmanuel in charlotte bronte’s ‘villette’ and james mcgrath in lynn austin’s ‘fire by night’ and ian justus is frantz’s ‘frontiersman’s daughter’, to name a few. in each case, these guys are older than the heroine. sometimes by as much as a decade or so.

    because of this — ages can range quite a lot —but with that reference point in mind, i think older romances (meaning romances outside of the traditional 20s and 30s stuff we see in the films ) are sometimes the most winning. the perfect reference point here is ‘miss pettigrew lives for a day’ — i didn’t care a hang about the ‘younger’ romance; rather i loved joe and guinevere and how their love developed in an intelligent and thoughtful manner over time.

    i like intelligent romance. i don’t believe in love at first sight so the best romances CONVINCE me that the characters have actually fallen in love with each other and a gradual romance is the best.


  6. Thursday, May 31, 2012 11:47 am

    I like all ages, but I really enjoy older heroines. I guess as I age, women in their 20s don’t have the same appeal. But I just finished a YA that includes a teen romance that I absolutely loved, so much that I snapped up the sequel in the Kindle store. It’s really all about the writing.


  7. Thursday, May 31, 2012 1:26 pm

    I’m really not that picky with what I read. And for what I write, it’s whatever age works for the story. In the historical WIP right now the hero is about my age and the heroine is 10 years younger.

    In the sci-fi romance they’re both about my age, and she’s an archeologist with a Ph.D. Naturally she needed to be no younger than 30 to have the experience I want her to have. He’s a year older, with way more life experience and has already lost two loves and a child.


  8. chrissiedesign permalink
    Thursday, May 31, 2012 9:53 pm

    I do like the more mature age range, late 20s and beyond. There’s enough baggage being brought into the relationship to help connect you with the character, and they’re mature enough to not make you want to pinch their heads off.

    My characters range around my age (around 26ish). I think this is more of a crutch than anything, as it’s a knowledgeable comfort zone for me.


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