Hey there. TB here to share some thoughts about my latest cowrite with Miranda MacLeod.
How did Paranormal Women’s Fiction come into being?
13 (love the number) wonderful female authors carved out a spot for this niche genre because they wanted a home for stories for 40+ heroines who kick ass. They didn’t come up with the idea of having older women characters, but they wanted to make it easier for readers to find them.
Why tell stories about older characters?
Aside from the simple fact that women 40+ exist, they’re also fabulous! They have experience. They’ve learned what matters and what doesn’t (or they will during the story), and more importantly, they’ve stopped giving a crap about societal expectations.
Also, they have real-life issues they’re dealing with, such as divorce, becoming a widow, menopause, health, and their kids flying the coop. Getting older is part of life. Miranda and I are one year from reaching the half-century mark.
Every day, there’s a reminder that things are different. Now, when I drop something on the floor, I prepare for bending over. If I fall, I no longer bounce. Sleeping through the night is a challenge. Having to wee more is a new fact of life.
The importance of friendship
The older I get, the more I realize how important female friendships are. When life throws you a curveball, most of us reach out to our friends to chat, drown our sorrows with wine, and laugh away the pain. At least that’s what I do. When my life is falling apart, I reach out to my closest friends to help me through it.
This became vital a couple of years ago.
I’m going to share my story and why I sought out stories about 40+ women.
My life imploded—big time
Not too long ago, my fourteen-year relationship crashed and burned. Fourteen years is a long time. Long enough that when it started, same-sex marriage protections weren’t universal, (this would come into play later).
In my early 30s, I quit a steady job in Boston to move to London after my partner’s company offered her a life-changing promotion. I’m glad I had the opportunity, and it was because of this move that I gave indie publishing a go, but it meant starting from scratch at an age when other people were racing up the career ladder.
Right when my writing career was starting to take off, her company moved us to Dublin. This time, the visa they arranged for me meant I couldn’t work. For 18 long months, a lifetime for an indie author, I was prohibited from publishing anything new. I wrote every day, but I couldn’t earn a penny from it.
If you’re keeping score, I quit one job to move to London for my partner to advance her career. Then, I put my writing career on hold for 18 months once more for my partner’s job.
As Americans living in the UK and Ireland, taxes were difficult. For simplicity’s sake, all our retirement savings went into my partner’s account with the expectation it was “our” money. We were a unit. Or so I thought, until our relationship imploded.
Now in my mid-40s, I have to rebuild everything again. At the time it happened, we were transitioning to living in the US again. I had to find a place to live, start paying out of pocket for health insurance since I was no longer on her employer’s plan. Since the majority of our retirement money had gone into her accounts all those years, my own accounts were dangerously low. If you ask my ex, she’ll tell you she was the one who worked for all that money, so it’s all hers. Since we didn’t legally marry, I have no claim to it.
In the blink of an eye, every aspect of my life changed.
Luckily, I’m not a quitter. Oh, I didn’t fight for the relationship because we were both miserable at the end. I fought to find myself again. To focus on my writing. On my friendships. Building I Heart SapphFic. And to do the things that make me happy. Sometimes, when a relationship is flailing, it’s too easy to forget you deserve happiness as you bend over backwards to make the other person happy just to keep from rocking the boat.
Looking for stories I could relate to
I started reading Paranormal Women’s Fiction because I could relate to the characters. They were older and going through shit. So was I. They were kick ass, and I wanted to be like them. It’s extremely powerful to see yourself in stories.
No, I didn’t turn into a witch on my 45th birthday or develop psychic abilities, but I didn’t have to. In these books, the paranormal part is often used to give the main character a gift so amazing, even they can’t deny they’re special. But it doesn’t take magic in real life to reach that realization.
We’re all special in our own ways. We all have more power in us than we know. And once we get out of our own way, there’s no stopping us.
This is why I dedicate so much time to building I Heart SapphFic, so that others like me can find themselves in stories. And, since I’m a sapphic fiction author, I wanted to add my own contribution to the genre that got me through some tough times. That’s why when Miranda asked if I wanted to write Midlife is the Cat’s Meow with her, I jumped at the chance.
But slowly, because I’m not in my twenties anymore.