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Guest blogger: Caroline James

14 March 2021

Writing romance to show that life can be wonderful as you age

I like to include older protagonists in my writing, which is why some of my novels feature middle-aged and more mature characters. When researching for my new novel, Boomerville at Ballymegille, I was dismayed to discover that many people at this time of life are susceptible to feeling low, especially individuals who feel they are no longer attractive, nor have the confidence of their youth. Western culture suggests that we become invisible to the younger generation as we get older and none of this represents the picture that many expected to paint in their middle years and beyond.

The more mature are often known as baby boomers; these are people born during the post WWII baby boom. I’m a baby boomer and putting the current pandemic to one side, we are supposed to be the wealthiest, most active and physically fit generation in history, all currently reaping the benefits of a good lifestyle that peak levels of income bring. Baby boomers are said to have benefitted from free education, a buoyant job market and inherited property windfalls amongst other advantages, but often this simply isn’t true and not all are so lucky.

Many baby boomers fear for their future and find themselves working way beyond their estimated pension age. Studies suggest that they grew up with liberal attitudes to alcohol and are jeopardising their health, and with the current pandemic, financial uncertainties and pension crisis, the problems escalate. This is why I write heartening stories where middle-agers overcome adversity and have a bit of fun.

Middle age doesn’t have to be about struggling or settling for what you have and my novels show that being middle-aged and beyond can be the best part of your life. For those single boomers, romance can blossom. It did for me!

Growing older is something to celebrate and this is the reason that I like to write about older people enjoying themselves. I believe that we can be the best that we can at every stage of our life. Ageing means being comfortable in your own skin. Let’s face it, silver is so fashionable that young celebrities like Lady Gaga or Kylie Jenner are actually dying their hair grey. Coming out of your comfort zone is daunting and doing it at this time of life is doubly hard but the trend can be bucked and being vintage and eccentric are great phrases for being who you are. I have found that stepping out of your day-to-day life and testing new waters generates the energy to recharge your batteries because, as surveys show, people who are less happy may not survive to old age.

There is a market for literature for more mature readers, and with this in mind I wanted to write feel-good, romantic, page-turning novels that are uplifting for older and younger readers alike, and to show that life can be wonderful as you age. Fictionally, if my characters can dodge the conmen, the daunting media hype and face the ageing process with enthusiasm, they can embrace it. My new novel, Boomerville at Ballymegille is set in Southern Ireland and there are lots of shenanigans and plenty of Irish craic for the guests who stay at Boomerville. It is the follow-up to The Best Boomerville Hotel, which reviewers kindly suggest is Britain’s answer to the Marigold Hotel. I hope that the fun and often whacky experiences that I put my characters through will encourage readers to embrace their own life, at whatever age.

Happy reading everyone xx

Best-selling author of women’s fiction, Caroline James has owned and run businesses encompassing all aspects of the hospitality industry, a subject that often features in her novels. She is based in the UK but has a great fondness for travel and escapes whenever she can. A public speaker, which includes talks and lectures on cruise ships world-wide, Caroline is also a consultant and food writer. She is a member of the Romantic Novelist’s Association, ARRA, the Society of Women’s Writer’s and Journalists and the Society of Authors and writes articles and short stories, contributing to many publications. Caroline also runs writing workshops. In her spare time Caroline can be found walking up a mountain with Fred her Westie, or sipping raspberry gin with her head in a book and hand in a box of chocolates.

Find Caroline here: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Boomerville at Ballymegille

Join Hattie and Jo as they head to Southern Ireland to open Boomerville Manor, a holiday retreat for guests of ‘a certain age’. There’s Irish craic and shenanigans aplenty for the colourful cast of characters as everyone gathers for the grand opening.

Meet Melissa, an ex-cabaret singer running from her abusive husband, and Bill, a bachelor bullied from beyond the grave by the ghostly voice of his mother. Along with local bobby Harry the Helmet, ageing aquatic team the Boomerville Babes, eccentric artist Lucinda Gray, and heartthrob Finbar Murphy, they gather in Ireland and the fun begins. But murder is in the air and there’s mischief afoot. Will the residents get more than they bargained for at Boomerville? Set in the beautiful Irish countryside, ‘Boomerville at Ballymegille’ is a heart-warming story of friendship, fears and new beginnings.

Find Boomerville at Ballymegille here.

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