Romance Writing: Older vs Younger

by Joan Deneve

I’m a true romantic at heart. Maybe it’s because I’m also a high school teacher where romance, not academics, permeates the halls and classrooms. I’m also a writer, and I get great pleasure as a casual observer of human nature to see young people in the first throes of romance. Throe, by the way, is defined by Mr. Webster as a hard or painful struggle (think labor and childbirth). I think it’s the perfect word because, believe me, the struggle is real.

Don’t get me wrong. Young love is a beautiful thing, and there’s nothing quite like it, is there? I’m serious. It’s beautiful and sweet, full of wonder, excitement, and passion. And I confess, I am often a silent cheerleader hoping most of the fledgling couples at our school will make it. Sadly, few do, and at those times, I’m quick to offer my shoulder to the young ladies and a sympathetic ear to the young men, if they want to talk. Most do because, like I said, the struggle is real, and break-ups mean broken hearts.

There is no shortage of romance stories and books aimed at Generation X, Millennials, and even Generation Z, the ones that span from young adult to the thirty-something crowd. Unfortunately, not many books are written with Baby Boomers (like me) in mind.

I get it. As a child, I viewed the relationship between my grandfather and grandmother as mutually supportive, steady, and definitely platonic. Anything else would’ve been just gross! (Actually, I had no idea what platonic meant when I was a child, but you get the idea).

I will turn sixty-five this year, the same age my grandparents would have been when I visited their house in my formative years. Now, my mirror tells me I’m old. I see wrinkles and the gray roots that signal yet another visit to the salon. But in my soul, I still feel like a teenager, and thoughts of love, romance, and passion are not gross at all. In fact…

Well, I digress! I’m here to give you five reasons why writing romance for older couples is a good idea and then offer some practical tips to help you get started.


  1. There is a shortage of books geared specifically for older couples. Yes, there are good ones out there (thank you, Nicholas Sparks) but, in my opinion, not nearly enough.
  2. There is a huge market. Older women like to read, and many of them finally have the time to do it.
  3. Sixty is the new forty. A natural by-product of society’s emphasis on health, fitness, and appearance is that men and women live longer and have more energetic lifestyles.
  4. People are lonely. More single “seniors” are re-entering the world of romance, thanks to dating websites designed for older couples.
  5. Love is ageless!

Convinced? If so, read on for some things to consider if you want to write a romance geared for an older audience.


  1. People get lonely and want someone with whom they can talk, share the events of the day, go to a movie or out to a restaurant.
  2. Often, older people have baggage from prior relationships. People are looking for someone they can trust, and since there’s no big hurry, they often take a long time getting to know a potential mate.
  3. A great advantage to getting older is the ability to laugh at oneself and take things in stride. Shared jokes could be about something as simple as figuring out how to use a new cell phone or remembering where they left their glasses. Laughter lowers blood pressure and alleviates stress. A good laugh releases endorphins in much the same way as a good work-out but is much more fun and requires no self-discipline. 😉
  4. People who have lived long enough to know who they are and what they want enjoy being with other people whom they can relax around and not have to impress. Life is too short for drama and manipulation, and older adults know that.
  5. Yes, physical attractiveness is a plus, but true beauty is something that glows from the inside. People are drawn to beautiful souls.

Writing a romance for an older couple can be challenging but very rewarding. The goal is the same as with any romance: Make the characters believable, relatable, and likable. Create an intriguing plot and incorporate engaging dialogue, peppered with doses of humor. Provide some kind of obstacle the relationship has to overcome and tie it all together with a satisfying ending.

Interested? Try it for yourself. Write a short story about a widowed woman and a man who has never been married. (Think Matthew Cuthbert from Anne of Green Gables). They are both in their mid-sixties and live across the road from each other out in the country. A feral dog shows up that both the man and woman try to tame.

Click to tweet: Writing a romance for an older couple can be challenging but very rewarding. @joandeneve #InspiredPrompt #romance #writing

Joan Deneve

Joan Deneve teaches English in a Christian school and has a passion to help young people fall in love with Christ and equip them to become all God wants them to be. Joan shares her life with Rene’, her husband of forty-four years. Together they reside in Prattville, Alabama, a quaint city with southern charm and hospitality. Joan loves to laugh and spend quality time with family and friends.

Joan’s latest novel, Loving Brock, will be available in April from Write Integrity Press.

Loving Brock

For almost thirty years, Brock Whitfield served God with joy and contentment at the mission hospital he founded in Angola. When Joy Stockman joined their team as a surgical assistant, he found a woman whose zeal for God and heart for people equaled and in many ways surpassed his own. Before he knew it, his admiration and respect for her blossomed into love. After years of serving alone, Brock began to hope that God was giving him another chance to love and be loved in return.

19 thoughts on “Romance Writing: Older vs Younger

  1. I *love* this! You have a great point. As one who has crossed over the “60 line” myself, I think I may be more comfortable writing to an older crowd. Definitely something worth thinking about.

    Nicholas Sparks is my favorite romance writer, though it’s been argued–and he says himself–he doesn’t write romance. Another who targets an older audience is Normandie Fischer. I love her works too. Now I’m off to discover Joan Deneve. This should be fun!

    Thanks Joan and Betty. You’ve given me plenty to think about!

  2. Great article! I’m so glad I read this. My current WIP features non-millennial main characters and a bit of romance (she’s fifty and he’s closer to sixty). I wasn’t trying to be unique, but this is a sequel and it’s just where the story happened to go. Thanks for the valuable insight.

  3. Joanie, I really enjoyed reading your perspective on “mature” romance. 🙂 I enjoy reading romance, and I catch a Hallmark movie every now and then, but after 32 years of marriage, I agree there may be the need for a different kind of romance. Thanks for sharing this.

    • Thank you so much, Karen! I agree! I’ve been married forty-four years! No matter how long, I don’t think it would ever be enough! I’m so glad you liked the article! God bless!

  4. From Fay Lamb: Great insight, Joannie. I love this article. I haven’t written about an older couple, but I have a few older couples in my stories that definitely show love. There’s nothing more wonderful than seeing an older couple still holding hands, still enjoying things together. My model for this is a dear couple at my church. John and Margaret Collier have a love story for the ages set in the backdrop of WW II and the loss of Margaret’s husband who was John’s best friend. John was 90 when he passed. I still have the pleasure of sitting beside Ms. Margaret in church, where we leave an empty chair between us in memory of her beloved John. Your article made me want to share that incredible love story that still endures.

  5. This wonderful post has given me real food for thought; thank you!
    I’m approaching 50, and also feel about 18 (just a lot wiser) so I can easily imagine that internally those feelings won’t change 👌🏼🥂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s