Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Jessica Norrie’s Literary Column – Can your protagonist be too old to be interesting?

Here’s my fourth Smorgasbord column – the Ten Ages of Humans as shown by fictional main characters.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Never browse Facebook, unless you’re proof against remarks that cause fits of anger.

Here’s one from an author last week:

“There’s been some chatter on other boards about seasoned romances—stories that feature heroes and heroines that are older; late 30s, 40s, even 50s+.

It was that “even 50s+” that got me, aged 59. And one response:

“I wouldn’t just read a book with an older hero or heroine, I wrote one… The hero in my first book is 38 years old, almost 39!” Well, jeez, that must make your readers sweat.

Reading on, I found many others thought 40+ was “old” for a main character, especially if she(!) was romantically intended. Some claimed most main characters in “contemporary fiction” were 20-30; there’d be no interest in anyone older. (I don’t know if they meant only in romantic fiction.) To feel the hurt I experienced, replace “...older; late…

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6 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Jessica Norrie’s Literary Column – Can your protagonist be too old to be interesting?

  1. I wonder if the issue you highlight, that in particular of romantic characters mostly being the age of our kids, is simply down to somewhat outmoded societal views about when people should form relationships. Mid 20s good. Mid 30s too late. And older ? Don’t make me laugh. Of course that’s rubbish. But not many publishers would risk a romance of older people it seems. All wrong. I couldn’t find a book on my shelves involving romance between people obviously over 30!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Deborah Moggach has written a few but been accused of racism rather than ageism! I’d try one if I could think of some characters. I have a great picture now in my mind of you looking through the romances on your shelves…


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