I am a reader of Historical Fiction. I cannot get enough of the stuff. I love to read the personal details about all the Kings and Queens and second sons and illegitimate daughters of Kings and other famous people of those times. I like how an author weaves the fiction in with fact and makes it all seem like it really could have happened like they described.
The thing about Kings and Queens and second sons, however, is that marriage, at least first marriages, were totally political. Countries were bound together in peace when two children of the reigning royal families were betrothed at a very young age. It stopped a lot of wars and death. These marriages were arranged before the kids really knew what was going on, but they accepted their roles in life and made the best of things. The best any of them could hope for was their betrothed grew up to be reasonably kind and would be a good caretaker. Looks had almost nothing to do with it. In fact, I believe it was the younger sister of King Henry VIII who was married off to the King of France - she was something like 15 and he was 'ancient' and 'near death'. And she had no choice!
But that was then and this is now. Have you read any love story novels lately? I'd bet at least 100%, or maybe even more, are based on the local, amazingly-still-single hunk who meets a traveling reporter, who just happens to be 20-something, slender, perfect skin, flowing hair, and a good kisser; they fall madly in love, fall out of love, have conflict, almost get killed, meet the parents, fall back in love, have wild sex, solve the mystery, save the town, and live happily ever after.
Sometimes the stories come in threes, like Nora Roberts' trilogies. I love them, but I am getting sick of them. I am no longer 20-something, or even 30-something. Heck, I am not even 40-something. Do you realize that the bulk of the Baby Boomer generation is in their 50's and 60's now? Most of us have been married, some have been divorced, some have kids, some are grandparents already. I guess what I am trying to say is: I will never be able to see myself in any of these books. They are a nice diversion, but seriously folks, WHAT ABOUT ME?
I was thinking about this on the way home this evening. Is there any hope that someone such as myself will ever find love again? (ETA: Not that I am actually looking or anything - it's a hypothetical question.) I have grown kids. I am divorced. I live alone and I have for over 15 years. I LIKE living by myself! I like making my own schedule and eating only if I want to. I like to craft 10 hours a day if I feel like it. So what are the chances I'll ever meet someone who I like to be around? Who makes me feel good. Who makes me laugh. With whom I can have an intelligent conversation on a myriad of subjects. Who has some common interests, but is different enough to make things interesting. Or who can go out with his friends and I'd stay home and that is okay?
So, my challenge to all writers is this: Write a love story about someone like ME. You know, independent, cranky, selfish,
Oh, now maybe I'll need to figure out what to do if someone actually does write that book. I'll tell you right now: I'd buy it!
* painting byTracy Helgeson from http://worksbytracy.blogspot.com/2009_01_01_archive.html.