This past Tuesday, I was interviewed on 612 ABC Brisbane Evenings with Rebecca Levingston (You can listen to the conversation here). I was thrilled by this, kids, because it’s not often that I get to combine the things I love to talk about– reading and writing romance novels, my romance novels, and my PhD on mature romance heroines– in one place. It’s not often I have a forum (other than here) to go public with my scholarly exploration of romance fiction. So when the opportunity to talk fell into my lap on Monday, I was all Oh, YEAH, MAMA! The cool thing is, what caught Rebecca’s eye was the title of my PhD: Cougars, Grannies, Evil Stepmothers, and Menopausal Hot Flashers: Roles, Representations of Age, and the Non-traditional Romance Heroine. It fit so well with her usual Theme of “Taboo Tuesday.”
If you’ve read the Oldbitey entries before you know I prattle on about my novels and my PhD. You’d be aware that I (as the other me, Oldbitey) have been making posts that discuss taboos about age and the romance heroine in posts like The Bite Lecture Series on Romance Fiction: Romance Heroines: Are Not Sissies Part I and The Bite Lecture Series on Romance Fiction: Romance Heroines Are Not Sissies, So Man Up Part II . I’ve been going on about older heroine in romance fiction for a number of years, as in since my Masters Degree.
Shortly after I completed the MA , I presented at the inaugural International Association for the Study of Popular Romance. The presentation, based on my MA research, was titled A First Kiss is Still A First Kiss: Ageism, Romance Heroines and the Mid-Life Romance Reader, and it highlighted the gap that exists between what the romance industry is providing and readers who want to see romance stories featuring older couples at the leads. What I did not discuss at the IASPR conference was A Basic Renovation, the romance novel I had written for my Masters. ABR has mature aged romantic leads. I’m all about love at any age.
My upcoming release, For Your Eyes Only drops in four days. It also has mature-aged romantic leads. For Your Eyes Only was written as part of my PhD. Why is this important to mention? If you’ve forgotten the title of my PhD it’s Cougars, Grannies, Evil Stepmothers, and Menopausal Hot Flashers: Roles, Representations of Age, and the Non-traditional Romance Heroine. In a nutshell, my research examines the roles and representations of women over forty in romance fiction; the typical ways women are portrayed as stereotypes of age. FYEO contravenes the age norms of the female romance protagonist. Willa, the heroine, is not a stereotype of an older woman. Stereotypes played a part in the radio discourse on taboo. In our conversation, Rebecca and I discussed things like wobbly and saggy bits, hair in weird places, Susan Sontag, A Basic Renovation and For Your Eyes Only, the awesomeness that is Dame Helen Mirren, social and cultural norms of age and beauty, grandparents having sex. In our conversation about taboo, nothing was taboo.
Rather than an academic, I’m a romance author and a romance scholar. Thanks for letting me be a scholar and an author, and for letting shamelessly pimp my books Rebecca. You rock so hard!