I am delighted to welcome Beverley Harvey to my blog. Her debut novel, ‘Seeking Eden’ was published last month by Urbane Publications. Beverley has written a guest post which I hope you all enjoy.
Are older women having a moment?
By Beverley Harvey, author of Seeking Eden, Urbane Publications, from July 2017
When I first wrote Seeking Eden in 2015 I contacted a well-known and hard-hitting female editor regarding a critique. I badly needed a professional and external view as spending the best part of a year making stuff up and creating imaginary friends (otherwise known as creating plots and characters) can be an insular business and over time, one stops seeing the wood for the trees.
It was a sobering experience – and a body blow to my ego. One of the reasons my partial manuscript was deemed unviable was the age group of my main characters; a collection of forty and fifty somethings who converge on the brink of their respective midlife crises, in Home Counties suburbia.
Briefly I considered making my cast younger, but after seeking the opinion of friends and family, the general consensus (especially among my forty and fifty something friends) was that they loved Seeking Eden because of the age group of the characters, not in spite of it.
So I pressed on, looking for a publisher and to my joy found Urbane Publications which specialises in breaking new authors and exploring new genres; its founder had no such reservations and was supportive of the depth and realism of my characters and their plotlines.
And no wonder. According to *ONS figures from 2015, there are around 4.6 million women in the UK, aged between 45 and 55. That’s a lot of ladies!
Baby boomers and those bubbling just beneath that age group tend to be voracious readers, hailing from a pre-social media era – in short, we like technology but we love books. So it stands to reason that we want relatable heroes and heroines, doing stuff we do ourselves – which is much the same things as people do in their twenties and thirties; fall in love, fall out of love, have children, make and lose friends, change jobs and so on. Our hair may turn grey but our lifestyles do not.
For authors, the lives of older people are a rich seam to mine. Seeking Eden tackles a range of dilemmas: whether to have children in middle age, empty nest syndrome, infidelity and materialism.
If we step sideways for a moment into telly land, British networks have already made the leap that older women are hot, hot, hot. Who can resist Gillian Anderson as Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson in The Fall, Sarah Lancashire as Catherine Cawood in the gritty and compelling Happy Valley, or gun-toting beat-pounding duo Scott and Bailey?
My money is on Kay Mellor’s forthcoming TV drama, Girlfriends, becoming the hottest must- see since Broadchurch. Airing later this year, the series stars Phyllis Logan, Miranda Richardson and Zoe Wanamaker; all women of a certain age and British acting royalty.
More of it I say. High octane drama, whether in literature or on screen is for everyone – and not just for people under forty.
About Beverley Harvey
Beverley Harvey is a former PR professional, and is now a freelance writer and author who lives and works in Kent with her partner Mark and their naughty terrier, Brodie. More at : www.beverleyharvey.co.uk
‘Seeking Eden’ is available to buy from:-
Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/seeking-eden/
Website – http://www.beverleyharvey.co.uk
Twitter – @BevHarvey_