Saturday, May 16, 2009

Wild-Card Weekend - Older Heroines

Today, Fiona Harper talks about the joys of writing and reading about women who might have the odd grey hair and worry about their spreading backside, but still have the verve to go after their dreams and find happiness.

Most little girls love to pretend to be the princesses from their favourite fairy tales (see evidence to the left!) and I suppose this spills over into our reading and viewing habits when we are older – we like to read books or watch films with good-looking heroes and heroines. We can live vicariously through them and, as we identify with them, we get a taste of what it is like to be rich or stunningly beautiful or just plain fabulous!

But, in a world where youth and beauty are worshipped by the media and women will go to extraordinary lengths to keep looking like teenagers, I have to say that I love reading stories with heroines who aren't 22 with a figure like a supermodel. It’s nice to read about women who aren’t way out of my league but, maybe, are a lot like me. There’s something very identifiable about a real woman who is worried about finding grey hairs or fretting about her body parts heading steadily southwards. I worry about these things too (sometimes).

And if women like us can find love and happiness in the books we read, it gives us a sense of hope too – that life isn’t only for the young and fabulous and we don’t have to give up and resign ourselves to our rocking chairs just yet!

People often think of Harlequin/Mills & Boon heroines as always being young and gorgeous, which isn’t accurate. I’ve read books with main female characters with a wide variety of ages, from teens to forties. Personally, I’ve tended to write heroines who range from mid-twenties to mid-thirties. However, I turned forty last year and when I got the opportunity to write a heroine the same age as me, I jumped at the chance.

In my head, I don’t feel much different to how I did when I was in my twenties – although I hope I’ve matured a little since then! I liked the idea of having a forty-year old heroine who was still very much young at heart (maybe too young at heart sometimes…). Enter, Grace from Blind-Date Baby, whose mission in life is to grow old disgracefully. However, her plans are thrown into a turmoil when she meets sexy, suave and very grown-up novelist Noah Frost.

It was such good fun writing Grace. She was a little bit naughty, a little bit sassy, but I hope she proved that forty-somethings can feel just as deeply and fall in love just as hard as their twenty-something counterparts. And, if you want to find out a little bit more about what it feels like to be a forty-year old single mum who’s not sure whether keep behaving like a teenager or finally come of age, then come and read Grace’s very own blog all this month.

Fiona's next release is Blind-Date Baby, part 2 in the trilogy from Harlequin Romance

From first date to wedding date!
Meet three very different women from around the world and follow their stories as they find friendship, love and their happily-ever-afters with a little help from the world of online dating!

Watch the stories unfold @ !
Buy it here in the US, here in the UK and here in Aus/NZ


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  2. Fiona, you bad woman, see now you've really tempted me to write a 40-something heroine and I don't think that's allowed in Modern Heat! Bummer. May have to content myself with reading your new book, which sounds fabulous.

    PS: Is that you as the sugar plum fairy? How ridiculously cute!

  3. Guilty as charged, M'Lud. That is indeed me in the fairy costume!

  4. Fiona! I love, love, love older heroines. I swear by them. I think there are millions of ladies looking for someone they can actually relate to in books.
    Good for you for writing a 40 something lady. Those of us over the hump - well over the hump in my case! ;-) - know that inside we'll always feel 25. But we've got the best of both worlds, we've survived our mistakes and we're ready for that next adventure.
    Looking forward to this book.

  5. I like older heroines too! I wish more authors would write books like these...