Monday, February 6, 2012

The Older Heroine

As I write this I’m watching the half time show at the Super Bowl. It’s hard to be reminded of older heroines watching Madonna, but it is the reason I’m writing about the subject, because Madonna is 53 years old. She’s in amazingly good shape and looks better than ever and easily keeps up with the younger dancers. Of course, she has a special chef. She admits she doesn’t cook. She has dance coaches and trainers, and all the paraphernalia that goes with her fame and wealth.
As an average baby boomer, I struggle with diet, weight, menopause and the energy and willingness to exercise. Madonna might be like the rest of us, but we’ll never see that side of her. I just can’t image her lying in bed early in the morning when the night before she promised herself she’d get up and run 3 miles. Nope, just can’t see it. She’d get up and run 6 miles, lift weights and dance.
So why can’t we have older, sexy heroines in our books? My upcoming release, She Cried Wolf, features Irene Carlotti. Although, I don’t mention her age, it’s easy to know she’s 50yrs old and in pretty good shape. She ice skates daily at the artificial rink in Golden Gate Park. It’s not even great exercise, it frees her tortured spirit. When attacked by a stalker, she takes him on with firing pan. But like most of this age, she also struggles with enthusiasm towards trying to stay in shape, eat right and has a lifetime of demons and baggage. Sound familiar?   
Irene isn’t sexy, isn’t beautiful, but there is something about her that attracts contractor Rio DeJesus. He likes her. It’s plain and simple, he likes her. He appreciates her qualities, something that is often missed in standard romances. Right out of the gate we’re bombarded with physical attraction as the biggest deal. With an older hero and heroine we have dig deeper to make them more realistic. As an author I gave them something more, the realization they aren’t as young as they’d like to be.
My hero Rio DeJesus jokes about how he might be able save Irene if he was Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible, but now he has a bad back and knees, which might slow him down, but won’t stop him from being there for Irene, but he does remind us and her he’s not as young as he use to be. Still, Irene likes him and finds his Mexican features endearing, and his ability to laugh at himself one of his best qualities.
I had fun with these two characters. The best thing about writing them, was the fact they were older. I could relate to their quirks, their tastes, as they deal with a world that is speeding forward faster than they can keep up. After Rio's teenage daughters had to teach him how to text.  


  1. Your characters sound great and I agree 100% that we need more sexy over 50-heroines. How can people think Madonna looks like a geezerette? But in fiction, somehow heroines have to be in their 30s. I have a sexy 60 year old in my WIP, but I don't know how it will be received. Ruth Harris and I are talking about taking out an ad in AARP. Great post!

  2. Thanks. That sounds fun..AARP that's not a bad idea. We need more older heroines.