I have just posted the following comment on the Henderson Files blog:
For years, I said, “If only I had the time, I’d write a novel.” When I finally had the time, I was in my 50s and found myself unemployed and too experienced (and “old”) to find another position easily. I had the time. I wrote the novel.
CHANUKAH GUILT was published when I was 58. My protagonist, Rabbi Aviva Cohen, is described as a 50-something. In the second novel, UNLEAVENED DEAD (still being written), she is 55. I intend to have her age in each book.
Two points from the paragraph above:
1. Yes, she is an aging baby boomer, with all the regrets and longings of the 60s that many of us have. She also faces, either personally or through her cohorts, the problems of aging and health issues (for them as well as their parents), planning for retirement (who can afford it?), loneliness. I’m tired of reading books with young, fit, carefree protagonists. Books featuring “older” characters fill a definite niche for “older” readers.
2. Why the 2nd book is not finished: life interferes. I’m one of the growing number of “mature” adults with young kids. They still take a lot of my time. I also did finally find a job, and, even though it is part-time, it is emotionally draining (I’m a hospice chaplain) and I often find I am just not in the mood to write at the end of the day (or the beginning, when I’d rather get an extra hour or so of sleep). And whether I’m in the mood or not, there’s still a teenager at home who needs to be chauffeured around and nagged to do his homework and clean his room and stop playing video games.
On the positive side, I find that once I do begin to write, I can lose myself in Aviva’s world and block out everything else. On the negative, I find that once I get going the plot begins to deprive me of my sleep as I try to figure out how to write myself out of a corner.
Moral: If you want to write, do it. Age is irrelevant. (Now I just need to follow my own advice.)