Please welcome Nancy Lennea to talk about that age old question – does an age difference in romance really matter?
I want to thank Marc for having me today ‘from across the pond’. I am writing to you from the hot and muggy southeastern United States. I am thrilled to tell everyone around the world about my debut novel, SECRET LOVE MATCH. When Marc asked me to write an article pertaining to my book, age and romance instantly came to mind. I am a mature married woman, but that is not why I want to share my thoughts.
Let me tell you about what happened the first time I pitched my manuscript to an agent. My local chapter of Romance Writers of America regularly invites agents and editors to talk with us and this agent (who shall remain unnamed) gave me ten minutes to tell me about ‘The Hook, The Cook, and The Book’. I had not gotten two minutes into my talk when she said the age difference between my hero and heroine (and I quote) ‘was creepy”.
Again, I am a mature woman married 30+ years while she was 29 at the time. This New York agent did not feel my story line was realistic. She wondered how could readers expect anything romantic or a happily ever after ending between a 21-year-old tennis ace bent on a berth on the U.S. Olympic team and a 40-year-old former TV star?
I went home very discouraged and actually considered rewriting my story. Would it still work if I made Rebecca Delacourt older and Taylor Adams younger? Nope, doing so would change all the dynamics. The conflict would disappear and I saw no obstacles that would hinder them from forming a loving relationship except their careers. I LOVE obstacles!
Luckily for me, I had sent the manuscript into Red Rose Publishing the month before. I started and finished my next manuscript before Red Rose came calling. Seems they have a section of their mainstream romance catalog called Autumn Rose: this is where at least one of the characters MUST be over 40!
If anyone reads regency historical romances set in merry old London (I do!) the heroine is usually between the ages of 17 and 22 and the hero usually isn’t younger than 34. No one feels that is strange, so why did this particular agent burst my bubble? TV and movies show older men all the time and I hate to admit this, but 40 is NOT OLD! I make Becka and Taylor react to each other with volcanic heat while each knows they should not get together.
Life, irksome relatives, a kidnapping, a furious father, and the demands of both their dream occupations work against them until love wins. What do you, out there, think of all this? Does age matter in the real world? Does it matter to you?
Secret Love Match Blurb
Rebecca Delacourt has played and taught tennis for the last three years. At twenty-one, she knows what she wants. Without help from her wealthy parents, she buys a condo in Glen Cove, NY and plans to be on the Olympic Tennis team. She has no time for men, marriage, or children. Her mother gave up her acting career when she became pregnant with older sister, Laney, whose illegitimate son is mute due to recent emotional trauma. Rebecca still manages to squeak out some time for her charity work for breast cancer research in Baltimore every year.
Taylor, a former TV actor, notices Becka. She knows him—she’s dreamed of his TV persona for years. They meet at her parent’s country club. He thinks he’s found gold in the athletic blonde. After beating him at tennis, he meets her parents. Too bad he knows them—a former co-star, and the man helping get him auditions.
Her sister moves in—thwarting any privacy. She’s hiding out and is attacked. Taylor finds himself falling for Becka. Will he change his arrogant ways, save her nephew from kidnappers, and realize she’s the one? Becka wonders if dreams can still be reached with someone beside her. Will they reach their dreams together?
Nancy lives the dream. After growing up in Huntington, New York, and raising two handsome sons in New Hampshire, Nancy and her husband moved to North Carolina. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, Celtic Heart Romance Writers, Fantasy-Futuristic & Paranormal Romance Writers, and Sisters in Crime. She also writes paranormal romance such as DRAGON’S CURSE from Whispers Publishing as Nancy Lee Badger: www.nancyleebadger.com