Monday, June 18, 2012

Reunions by Jannine Gallant

I couldn’t settle on one of our topics for this post. Usually I’m inspired, but this month, not so much. So, I’m going to stray a little. June is about graduations – which brings to mind reunions. It’s been a while since I posted about my Class of ’85 books. This series, published by The Wild Rose Press, wrapped up early this spring. My last book for the series came out a year ago. I’ve read every one of these books, over twenty of them. They are great stories about people revisiting their past and learning something about life and love in the process. The common link in the series is that either the hero or heroine (or both) was a member of the Summerville High class of ’85. He or she receives an invitation to a 25th high school reunion in Summerville on the shore of beautiful Lake Ontario. These books have gotten terrific reviews. But, frankly, sales stink!

So, I’ll ask the million dollar question – why? Maybe I’m wrong, but I’d have to say a large portion of the women who read romances fall into the over forty category. (I know I do!) The characters in this series have a lot more in common with our readers than they do with a twenty-something hottie. So, why do books about older heroes and heroines not attract the attention I feel they deserve? Are crow’s feet a little too close to home for comfort? Would you, as a reader, rather escape into a world full of shape shifters, cowboys, or a setting from days gone by than read about a woman who has grown children and is on husband number 2? In the contest between escapism and reality, I have a sneaking suspicion reality comes out the loser. I’d love to know why you chose one sub-genre of romance over another to read. Please share your thoughts.

I’ll leave you with a really fun excerpt from Maybe This Time, my third and final book in the Class of ’85 series. This is the scene that inspired me to write the book. I hope you enjoy it!

Chloe Lane stood on the set of the hit reality dating show, Get Lei’d, with five other women, wondering if she’d completely lost her mind. All the other contestants were beautiful and young, painfully young. Sweat beaded her brow despite the tropical breeze blowing through the open cabana. Nerves shredded her stomach lining. She was forty-three years old and the mother of a teenage daughter for God’s sake. She had no business being on stage with the twenty-something girls still in contention.
Why had she let Sarah talk her into this madness? Why hadn’t Rafe sent her home weeks ago? Sure they’d had fun on the extravagant dates arranged by the show, but a long term relationship between the two of them didn’t seem likely.
Lamont stopped in front of her, opened his makeup case with a flick of his manicured nails, and clicked his tongue. Chloe gritted her teeth and concentrated on not kicking the annoying little man. If he made one more comment about her crow’s feet she’d scream.
His black brows lowered, and he wielded the touch up brush with more force than finesse. “Please, no close-ups on this one. I’m good, but I’m not a miracle worker.”
Bruce Kildare, the director, paused in his endless pacing; his voice boomed across the set. “We want her to look her age. That’s why the viewers love her. Cougars are all the rage.”

Blurbs and buy links for all my Class of ’85 books are on my website. Thanks for visiting!


Rachel Brimble said...

Yep, as a fellow Class of '85 author, I couldn't agree more - what is going on with the sales of this fabulous series?!

I LOVED writing my offering (Transatlantic Loving) to the series and really want to write something else involving an older heroine but wonder if it will be a waste of time if no one is inclined to read it.

I think it must be that stories with mature heroines are not promoted as they should be - just because women are older, we can still be funny, sexy, savvy and up to finding out something new.

Come on, ladies - give our older girls a try!

R x

Liz Flaherty said...

Liked the excerpt, and I like older heroines, too. (And heroes.) I've pretty much given up reading straight romance--as opposed to women's fiction--because there's too often nothing there to identify with.

Kat Henry Doran Author said...

Frankly, I'm with Jannine and Rachel. I'd much rather watch or read a story about 'older' H&H as I relate so much faster to them. So much faster.
Who knows why sales were not what we hoped? I loved each and every one of these stories. Loved them. Adored them.
Great post, J

Jannine Gallant said...

Right on, ladies! So, now to get the word out! Thanks for visiting and commenting.

Debra St. John said...

Super post...I loved the excerpt. I've read several of the stories from this series, but I see I'm going to have to read more! You've definitely wheted my appetite.

As to what sells and what doesn't...who ever knows?! It's one of the most frustrating part of being a writer.


Sandra Dailey said...

I don't have an answer to your question. I'm not familiar with this line. To be honest, looking at the cover, I wouldn't have known it was a reunion story about older H&H. I would have assumed it was set in the year 1985. Why are the cover models so young? Sorry, but that's what I see. I'm just being honest here. I hope I haven't offended anyone, especially you Jennine.

Margo Hoornstra said...

Okay Ladies,

Though I'd be the first to admit the sales of these books (I contributed three) are not spectacular. Look what we gained from writing them. Friendships that will never go away and a number of well written, well edited books to be proud of. Our day will come.

I, for one, had an absolute ball at the reunion.

Alison Henderson said...

I think you may have hit on something, Jannine, with your fantasy vs. reality thought. The oldest heroine I've written has been in her thirties (the same age as me-in my own mind. Ha!)

Jannine Gallant said...

Debra, Glad the excerpt entertained!

Sandra, I thought the same thing about the youth of the cover models. My take - they decided to go with how they would have looked in high school. LOL The backdrop - Emerald Bay in Lake Tahoe - that was my idea since part of the story takes place there. I'm definitely not offended!

Margo, I agree that the greatest part of writing for this series (besides the awesome books!) is the friendships I made with the other authors. For those of you who haven't written for a series, collaborating with other authors and borrowing some of the their characters is extremely rewarding. If you have the opportunity, give it a try.

Jannine Gallant said...

LOL, Alison, you're right. We don't want to acknowledge that everything isn't as firm as it used to be.

Lynne Marshall said...

Hi Jannine, you know how I feel about over forty heroines. I love them, and love to write them. As you also know, I read and thoroughly enjoyed your Class of 85 book - The Lonely Road to You.

I have been banging my head against the wall trying to get One for the Road Discovered. Like you, have gotten solid reviews and even finaled in a couple of national readers contest through RWA. Sales - stinky.

Big baby boomer blogs reviewed the book with no real boost to sales.

Smart Bitches, Trashy Books had a blog thread about older women in books, and I popped in over there. That made a boost to sales, but I'm talking a dozen or more. LOL.

I'm not sure how to find the readers, Jannine, but if you figure it out, will you please let me know?

Jannine Gallant said...

Thanks for visiting, Lynne. I'll be sure to share if I figure out the secret!