With: Kate J. Squires
When I first discovered Wattpad, the world’s number one free reading and writing app, there was an interesting trend – when it came to romance, all of the heroines were young. Like, super-young. Much of the popular romance on the site was written as fan-fiction, and as you’d imagine, the target audience was youthful, and so were the authors. Leading ladies of sixteen and seventeen were common, with the occasionally college girl character sitting at a daring nineteen or twenty-two – at the absolute most.
Even in mainstream published romance, young heroines are the norm. Bella Swan – seventeen. Anastasia Steele – twenty-one. And not just modern fiction; Pride and Prejudice, which is listed as GoodReads’ number one romance of all time, tells the tale of Elizabeth Bennett. In her day at twenty years old, she was considered positively ancient to be still single.
It makes sense that YA readers like to read about young heroines. After all – we all like stories we can relate to on our own level. Similarly, New Adult readers don’t mind a slightly younger MC, and apparently older romance readers, we’ll read regardless of how far away our teen years are behind us.
When I started writing 30 Lays in 30 Days, my heroine, Cat, was almost thirty – gasp! Would the younger readers still be interested? Anyone thirty and up gladly embraced the story – and thankfully, there has been a run of good romance novels recently starring non-debutantes. Kristen Ashley in particular is leading the charge with mature couples in contemporary romance, and for all the readers like me who definitely aren’t sixteen anymore, there’s some reassurance in knowing that love can still be fresh and exciting, whatever your age.
What surprised me the most about the popularity of 30 Lays was the enthusiasm from younger readers. Rather than be turned off by Cat’s age, youthful readers loved the idea of a nearly thirty year old woman who wasn’t a virgin by any stretch of the imagination, and who was still discovering herself.
Why is this? I think part of it stems from the pressure of being a young adult. Everywhere in fiction, we’re constantly bombarded with the concept that if you haven’t locked down the right guy by the time you leave college, you’re doing something wrong. Reading about someone ten or twenty years your senior who’s still searching for love – and maybe finds it – gives permission for young readers to relax. I’m not a weirdo because I’m seventeen and still single!
So, rejoice in older heroines, whether you’re nineteen, twenty-nine like Cat, or maybe even a smooch more mature than that.
About the Author:
Kate J. Squires is a self-proclaimed word-smith. Currently, she lives and works on the Gold Coast as a full-time script and content writer, who also travels around Australia working with professional speakers.
Her past job history has included working for Disney, fire dancing, and teaching finance skills - which was hilarious as she was flat broke at the time. Her life achievements include meeting Hugh Jackman backstage in NYC after 'The Boy From Oz,' marrying a dolphin trainer, and producing two extraordinary little boys.
Kate is also a fully qualified Hot Yoga teacher who always wears odd socks. It drives the perfectionists in her life mad, but honestly, she doesn't want to look back at the end of her days and say, “Hmm… I wish I’d spent more time matching hosiery…” Life is too short to sort socks, people.
Surrounded by gorgeous boys, Kate's life is filled with love and laughter - two qualities she endeavours to instil into all her books. As an old lady, Kate plans to buy a second-hand bookshop and serve tea to every customer, while regaling them with her tall tales. There will also be a cat somewhere among the shelves…
Kate adores hearing from her readers - either through Wattpad or Facebook. Drop by and say hi!
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