The Write Stuff: Ageism vs. Romance with Glorie Townson


Do you remember that time in your youth when the sight of old people hugging, holding hands, and God forbid kissing, was simply disgusting? I’ll bet you can even think back and remember how around that same time, you thought thirty years old was ancient. But, we all know that as we, ourselves, age and mature our ideas of “old” change and so does our perception of affection.

For someone venturing into a new and exciting genre such as romance, I’ve been debating about whether I’ve written a story that will even appeal to the masses. It seems as though the literary world has been taken over by all thing Young and New Adult. While I’m not hating on those who write YA and NA, I’m constantly asking myself, What possessed me to write a story about a thirty year old woman surrounded by family drama that includes the love lives of elderly friends and family?

Don’t let me paint you a misleading picture. There are young characters in my story and the love lives of the elderly are only one of many subplots, but I’m seriously concerned that my story may go unappreciated because my heroine isn’t discovering love for the first time, trying to balance relationship drama and a full study load, or isn’t exploring new erotic pathways to gratification. I just don’t know if people want to read what I’m writing, but luckily that’s not why I wrote it.

Even before I delved into the world of romance and created the persona of Glorie Townson, Toi Thomas had a soft spot for writing about the delicacies of aging. In my admittedly limited experience with romance as a genre, I find that often the best love stories are those of young and adventurous love, as though once a character reaches a certain age, there simply isn’t any romance left. It’s an embedded sense of ageism that tells us romance is only for the young.

Granted, I’m not attempting to shock and wow audiences with erotic geriatric love scenes, but I do hope to dispel, over time, the notion that love stories are only for the young. I find that many times when a romance is written from a more mature, or advanced age of thirty or more, the tales seem to be a bit more bitter or harsh. It’s as if the possibility of discovering love for the first time at that age is impossible or that any romance that occurs will lack adventure unless it happens to be in the bedroom. Growing older isn’t glamorous and in some cases it isn’t very fun, but that isn’t to say that an incredibly passionate and sincere romance can’t occur between characters in there fifties and sixties, and should be highly probable with characters in the thirties and forties.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that most romances are geared toward a younger audience or have young characters in them because that’s what sells, along with sex. The world’s ideas of beauty, and specifically the U.S.’s perceptions, has taught people expect a certain standard when it comes to romance, whether it’s realistic and relevant or not. We are taught that young people fall madly in love and have passionate affairs while older couples argue over bills and wondering eyes. While there is some truth to this, it’s not the whole story. Whether widely acceptable or not, I’m glad I’m writing the kind of stories that are relevant to me and many more like me.

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The Write Stuff: Glorie TownsonAbout the Author

A self-proclaimed techie and foodie, Toi Thomas was born in Texas, but considers Virginia to be home. Growing up in Dallas, Toi had a strong interest in reading fiction and loved to watch movies. Even today, many of Toi’s friends come to her for the answers to movie trivia. Working with computers and cooking lavish meals have become reoccurring pastimes for the Virginia Beach teacher’s assistant, but now Toi wants to entertain the world, taking a journey to discover the secrets of the Eternal Curse.

Sponsored by, Toi was named one of their, 2013, 50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading. Fall of 2014 saw the release of Of Past and Present, an anthology of short stories, including one from Toi Thomas. 2015 has seen the release of book 2 in the Eternal Curse Series and the adoption of pen name Glorie Townson for Toi’s none speculative works.

WebsiteGoodreads | @toithomas

Interested in sharing The Write Stuff with me and Girl with Book Lungs blog readers? (I hope you are!) Send me an email at jenna [dot] czaplewski [at] gmail [dot] com today

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