Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Extraordinary Women and The Men They Love


Congratulations to "LS" the winner of Rita's giveaway.  Thank you to all who participated!

            I recently saw a call from a publisher for New Adult books. New Adult being described as college age to mid-twenties. A brilliant move I thought, as it will scoop up the previous YA readers who have aged.
            But, what about those of us who are not New Adults? We’re aging also. Is there going to be a Not So New Adult category soon?  I feel like the only way an over 40 reader will connect with a story about a college freshmen is if they have one of their own.
            Don’t misunderstand, I am all for YA or New Adult books and anything that will keep our young people reading.  And truth be told I have been known to read some YA. But, I prefer to read about extraordinary women and the men they love. For me that means women with a high level of experience and competency. A gal, no matter how smart and competent, in her early twenties doesn’t always fill the bill for me.
            Consider these reader statistics given recently by Charles Osgood on CBS Sunday Morning.  He reported the average age of readers is 44. The majority of book buyers are over 50 and 58% percent of those buyers are women. The vast majority of what those women buy is romance. Alrighty then.
            So, who are these 58% of the over 50 majority?  Take a look around.  I did. I didn’t get names and address but I did find articles about women over 50. Fortune Magazine listed the 50 most powerful women in business. Not surprising all but 7 are over 50.  http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/most-powerful-women/2012/snapshots/1.html  
            I read about Carmen Dell’Odrefice, an 81, yes 81, year old model who took to the catwalk twice at the New York Fashion week last month.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2201264/Worlds-oldest-supermodel-Carmen-dell-Orefice-81-takes-catwalk-twice-day-New-York-Fashion-Week.html.
            I found scores of notables over 45. None were considered old. Do any of you consider the three Jennifers, Lopez, Aniston, and Garner, old because they are over 40?  I’m wondering why   aren’t the heroines in our books aging also.
            I believe we are on the cusp of a change in what is considered old. One of the main reasons for the change is, the media is aging. Diane Sawyer is 66. Katie Couric is in her 50s. The media controls what we see. How can they call our notables and celebrities old when they are the same age? 
            I write books about competent heroines. They are strong, opinionated, stubborn, and can handle themselves. They know what they want and go after it. Not Alpha women, extraordinary women who suffer from flaws, misguided beliefs, and fears like the rest of us. They work hard to hide and overcome weakness, grow, change, and love.
            In my first book, Under Fire, the heroine is 36, a Coast Guard Helicopter pilot who takes on the man who killed her brother.
            My new book, Under Fire: TheAdmiral, starts with a plane crash in Ecuador and ends in Paris. The heroine is over 45.  She is a competent, kick ass, Coast Guard admiral, totally in control of everything except her emotions when it comes to a younger man.
            My heroines don’t look for trouble, but if it comes knocking they stand their ground. They don’t need to be rescued by the hero. More often as not, they rescue the hero. My heroes are alpha males. Strong men who are comfortable with who the heroine is and what she does. A man who has her back, stands shoulder to shoulder with her and knows how she wants to be loved.
            Can you see your life ending because you’ve reached a certain age? Do you think you will slip into a kind of narcolepsy of life when you reach a certain age?
            Bottom line. Authors age. Readers age. Characters in series age.
            Tell me the books you like that have older heroes and heroines. And please, can anyone come up with a better word than older?

Rita will be giving away a digital copy of UNDER FIRE: THE ADMIRAL to one lucky commenter.

Author’s BIO
Rita grew up on Florida’s east coast. She married a Marine and feels fortunate to have lived many places and traveled to the states and countries she didn’t live. She writes about extraordinary women and the men they love weaving her experiences into contemporary women’s fiction and suspense thrillers. 
            Visit her at her web home http://ritahenuber.com
            Get to know her on facebook and twitter @ritahenuber

            Where to find Rita’s books.   


Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Oct. 16th. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email maureen@justromanticsuspense.com with a subject title of JRS GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.

51 comments:

  1. I agree, Rita! I loved Under Fire. I think some characters need to be a certain age to bring experience with them. I am 36 and enjoy reading books with people my age or older in them. Adrienne Giordano and Misty Evans has characters in their 30s. Kaylea Cross did a fabulous job with characters in their 50s in her book Absolution. Thanks for the awesome post. I look forward to you next Under Fire book in The Admiral. Thanks! Oh and I prefer "experienced" to the term "older." :-)

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    1. Thank you Amy. I'm making a list of books and 'better' words.

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  2. You are so right Rita. Women today don't just "get old", we "age like a fine wine". We don't have hot flashes, we have power surges. LOL. I'm 59 years old and have been reading romance since my teen years. Life is such an adventure. Congrats on your new book and thanks for spending time with your readers.
    grandmabkr at yahoo dot com

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    1. Brenda you are so right about life being an adventure. Those adventures can continue as long as we want. Thanks for commenting.

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  3. I am over 60 and still love to read romance. I,too,am actually glad when both the heroine and hero both are "experienced". We all want romance in our lives and reading about someone who has some age and experience on them makes it much more believable to me. Love your books as well as many of the authors on this page.

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    1. Thanks. I'm with you on the romance thing. I think long term readers of romance have a more exciting life. :-)

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  4. I started reading romance in middle school-- chiefly historicals with heroines younger than 18, as is/was the norm. Being in my teens myself, I could relate... and anyone over 25 was really OLD! Now in my late twenties myself, my heroes-and-heroines-I-can-relate-to-and-enjoy age range has crept up & broadened... anyone under 20 is a baby, and 25-late 30s is my sweet spot. Considering I'm a postgraduate student and have yet to enter the "real world", I'm definitely the intended audience for the 'New Adult' market :-). But it's definitely not the case that I don't enjoy books with older protagonists--it's very true that, for example, a woman in her early 30's isn't going to have the experience to be an effective (or credible) FBI Special Agent in Charge. Considering the amount of romantic suspense I consume, excluding more "experienced" (sounds better than "older") heroes/heroines would severely limit my reading! In fact, some of my favourite RS books-- Allison Brennan's entire backlist (excepting the Lucy Kincaid series, since Lucy is about my age), Debra Webb's 'Faces of Evil' series, etc.-- feature more mature heroines, who deserve their HEA just as much as those twentysomethings :)

    stalkers00(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Thank you for sharing Chris. Some publishing editors believe younger (your age) romance readers will not read about the more experienced heroine. I think like you do. Of course readers will have that preferred age. It won’t stop them from reading about the more experienced H&Hs. Postgraduate student? Good for you.

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  5. I don't think age or aging has anything to do with it. No matter the age we can all be young at heart and feel sexy...I feel sexier at 56 than I did at 36. My husband said he thinks "older" women, or mature women are sexier than the young ones...lsscarchuk@att.net. Have not read Rita but would love to...

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    1. Ahhh! LS your hubby sounds like a keeper.
      My feeling is couples are intensely into raising and providing for a family in their 30s and 40s. When the kiddos leave it’s their time again. Time to enjoy all their work and…each other.

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  6. thanks for a great post and congrats on the new release! What a great topic. Since I'm in my early 30's it does get a bit tiresome reading about perky, pretty, prefect 20 somethings. But I love reading romances where the main couple are older and more experienced and can get away from the silliness of "young love". Makes me more invested and interested in seeing them get together since they have "real" issues and problems to solve. The last book/novella I read that starred a woman with experience and in her 40's was Natural Evil by Thea Harrison. She was competent, confident and I loved her!

    efender1*at*gmail*dot*com

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    1. Thank you Erin. I appreciate your words. Getting away from that young love silliness presents new problems for an author. What is the romance story conflict? The H&H are both comfortable financially and emotionally where they are. With the experienced H&H we have a new set of rules and I’m lovin it.

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  7. I love your strong 'older' heroines. I think it starts to get insulting to us 'older' readers to only have stories and HEA about young women. Great post.

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  8. Hi, Rita.

    What a great post. I'd enjoy reading more books with women in their mid 30s and up! I've noticed that sometimes the hero is older, but the woman is still younger in so many romances.

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    1. I know! What’s up with that? But as I said in the post I think we are on the edge of a change. Some commenters have already mentioned books with the older H&H and what about JD Robb’s Eve and Roake? Happily there is plenty of room for all.

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  9. Great post! I'd love to know what percentage of "older" women read YA and New Adult. I suspect it's rather high. I do think the average age of a heroine has probably increased over the past 15 or 20 years...they just haven't gotten as old as the rest of us!

    Congrats on the release!

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    1. I don’t know JB. I’ve heard women say they read a book their teen granddaughter is reading and they discuss it. They also buy the books for them. I recently saw stats that YA book sales have already increased 40% over last year. Wonder if we can get the Not So New Adult category to move that direction?

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  10. I have read a couple of the YA books. And they were good. But as I have "matured" I want to read about heroines and heros that have lived just a little and dont walk around with starry eyes. All the *innocent* stuff kinda makes me roll my eyes a little. Even us *seasoned* ladies want a HEA. I have not read your book but would love to win a copy. Thanks for the giveaway. trishleroy49 at gmail dot com

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    1. Trish, I think you nailed it. Angst over what shoes to wear or if the cute guy at the end of the bar is looking at you or your BFF doesn’t get it for me. These stories are great for their target audience but us seasoned ladies what more.

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  11. Great post, Rita. I love older heroines who know who they are and what they want. Your story has that heroine. Great book with very emotional scenes that I will never, ever forget.

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    1. Zowie. Thank you Autumn for the wonderful compliment.

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  12. Great blog! I do not understand the fixation with YA especially those of us who are way past that age. I am so tired about reading about 20 and thirty somethings. It is almost as though the rest of us have been written off as not possibly attractive enough or interesting enough to be the protagonist in a book, let alone one a man might find appealing!

    Debra Webb's series Faces of Evil Jess Harris is over 40 and I love that because she is real. She is competent,etc. but has all the insecurities about wrinkles and the like that any woman of that age has.

    I have not read any of your books but may do so based on this blog.

    Is Under Fire part of a series?

    Thanks,
    Marijane
    mjdiodati@yahoo.com

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    1. Under Fire and Under Fire: The Admiral are the first two books. I'm working on the third and a novella now. All my heroines are very kick ass take no prisoners types. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It's nice to know I'm not the only one out there.

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  13. I have read a lot of books with "mature" characters. I like to read books with older characters. At my age, I don't always relate to an 18 year old. I think this is a great trend.

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    1. And of course, I forgot my email (I am old)

      yenastone at aol dot com

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    2. Thanks Tammy. Like I said I don't want the YA books to go away but we all get older. I'm hoping our favorite authors are taking this path.

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  14. You tell 'em, Rita! I agree completely: hurray for the great selection for YA and New Adult, but give me a heroine who's over 40, knows what she wants and isn't afraid to go after it.

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  15. Thank you Marcelle. I'm seeing the trend in all genres and it makes me happy.

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  16. Love the idea of a helicopter pilot heroine... what a very interesting storyline.
    I am all for "older" heroines! Thanks for sharing!

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  17. I'm glad to see an author writing about women over 40, I'm certainly past that age...but I can't think of a single word that would flatter instead of insult us. Aged? like fine wine? Seasoned? not so much. Mature? I hope it didn't take me that long.

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  18. It is exciting that the heroines aren't in their early twenties! I just (omg, can't believe I'm saying this) turned 40. My mom is 65. We have very similar tastes when it comes to reading genres. She however, always complains when the leading women are young, successful and perfect. It drives her crazy. She has been searching for novels with heroines that are a bit older. We have actually had this discussion recently. I will be sure to pass along the titles so she can read them too. I'm looking forward to reading these as life brings so much experience that can't be absorbed or even appreciated in your 20's (no matter how much I thought I knew it all!).

    Heather E
    hregtvedt@aol.com

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    1. Heather this is exactly what I’m talking about. There isn’t a thing wrong with a young heroine. But there are a whole boat load of people out there who, like your mom, are being forgotten about. They don’t have white hair, crochet, have to take a nap every day and put their teeth in a glass at night. They still party, travel and… OMG have sex.

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  19. Hi Rita!

    You asked if I can see my life ending because I reached a certain age. The answer is no. I lived one dream by becoming a police officer. After I retired I'm living another dream as a published author. I AM a woman of a certain age, but I believe I have plenty of adventures left in me - at least I hope so!

    Your book sounds fantastic and your blog is making me think how quickly my heroine will age in the series.

    Thanks!

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    1. Kathy after meeting you in California this summer I can see you going forever- like the energizer bunny.
      I was nervous about this blog but the comments have been so great. I know I will keep writing about more experienced H&H.

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  20. My life after 40 has had better adventures than anything I could have imagined in my 20s. I zip-lined for the first time at the age of 46. Learned how to snow ski at 42. Next year, at 49 , I'm trying sail-boarding.

    I like my heroines to reflect the attitude of someone older so I can more fully relate to them. I look forward to meeting your characters and thank you for giving us the opportunity to know more about you.

    jo1963jo at gmail dot com

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    1. p.s... It was my 67 year old (at the time) who talked me into learning to ski with her. She happened to meet a 69 year old man learning to snowboard. Romance can be any age and anywhere.

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    2. Oh! Jo you brought tears to my eyes. You are an inspiration and a reader I write for. Thank you for sharing about your adventures.

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  21. Hi Rita,
    No, I don't think that age matters as an excuse to stop living.
    Life is different at every age.
    Jan

    janet_kerr(at)msn.com

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  22. There are older heroes and heroines in paranormals. How about experienced instead of older?

    bn100candg(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. I think experienced is coming out a winner.

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  23. I think Under Fire was the first book I read in this genre where I like the heroine as much or even more than the hero (although, Rico was uber sizzling). She was smart, sassy and avoided the TSTL moments...maybe because she was more mature and experienced. Nonetheless, it was one of the best reads of the year. Where are we going after Under Fire: The Admiral?

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    1. You are a doll! Thank you. Next is Under Fire: The Marine. And a novella about Hunter. The Marine is more kick ass than Olivia.

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    2. You know I will be waiting for the release date with bated breath...will you tweet?

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  24. You are wonderful. Characters who don't fit the 30's for the average audience. You have characters who are older and mature and experienced for audience like me who are over 40's and up. I don't need to wish to be in my 20's or 30's but look toward doing normals things instead of the resting homes' kind of things.

    kmccandle(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. No rest homes for us! I'm with you I like where I am now. No going back.

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  25. I'm calling it a night ladies. Thank you all for the comments

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  26. Thank you Rita...can't wait to read it

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