But apparently I couldn't be in a novel. What utter tosh. Isn't it? Or is it?
Publisher and writer (and woman of a somewhat similar age), Lynn Michell, drew my attention to this the other day, because she blogged about it here. Do go over and read what she says.
Lynn quoted a "well respected" literary agent as having said:
‘I can’t sell a novel these days about a middle-aged heroine. No publisher would touch it. Give up. Youth is exciting. Old age is interesting. Middle-aged men are either powerful and sexy or going through a crisis or thrilling baddies. But forget all about women aged between 40 and 65. No-one wants to read about them in novels.’
I really hope he is talking tripe. Not just because it's obvious (though not the point) that in real life middle-aged women are no more or less capable of being all the things needed in stories - they are vulnerable / feisty, strong / weak, tragic / domineering, lucky / unlucky, sexy / shy, betrayed / murdered / attacked / hated / loved, criminal / dramatic / damaged / heroic. But because lots of modern novels do feature women of a certain age. Surely. Don't they?
Lots? Er, like, give an example. Erm... Here's where I run away because I am (honestly) frantically busy - for which there's a very good reason which I will tell you quite soon. So, it's over to you, my fabulous, well-read blog-readers, to come up with novels written in the last few (say sixish) years, featuring a heroine aged 45 - 60. Catherine, Sally, Emma, Daniel, Jo(s), Jane, David, Cat, all of you... come on, please.
And if he was, I'm doomed, and so are some of you. Not interesting enough, eh? Would he like me to prove to him that I am perfectly capable of providing the murder and intrigue which he so doubts?
I really want him not to be right. Would it not be absurd if he were right? Fundamentally weird? After all, are we not the main reading demographic. So, if he's right, is it our fault?
PS I should add that I am a huge Fay Weldon and Bernice Rubens fan and they certainly had middle-aged heroines - however, BR hasn't written anything in the last few years, being dead, and I haven't read any FW in very recent years. To be fair to the agent, FW is well enough established to sell anything. So, who has taken on FW's mantle?