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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Agent Kristin on Lady/Hen Lit

We've been so blessed in having so many wonderful agents answer our questions in Dorothy's TWLAuthorTalks group. Agent Kristin is no exception. In fact, I received an interesting response from her about the state of lady/hen lit. She said that while editors say they want stories about women over 40, when you give it to them, they seem to suggest that it would work better if the protagonist was 30 rather than 47. Hmmm ... I can believe that.

Still, she thinks there really is a market out there for the over 40 crowd but it has to be something different than what she's seeing. It can't be the stereotypical husband leaves wife for younger woman. It needs to focus on what real women in their 40s and up are going through.

That sounds like just what I've been saying in my complaints about the lady/hen lit I've been seeing on the bookshelves. Still, my manuscripts must not be hitting the right mark either. Others must not see the story I think I'm telling. And that gives me something to think about, to figure out where my books are falling short. Perhaps it sounds too much like "chick lit" - meaning the characters sound too young. So they think they're seeing the same old thing and miss the deeper story underneath the surface. Or it could just be they haven't found the right home yet. Who knows? Still, something to consider.

In my latest manuscript, the focus really isn't on age. There's a vague allusion that they're in their late 30s but nothing much more is said about it. And in the wip I just started, it's not even an issue at all - I have no idea how old this protagonist is yet. But it seems to be turning into a thriller. So it could be the perfect venue to introduce the age thing. Because age seems to be the scariest thing of all. :)

- Kathy

posted by Kathy Holmes @ Wednesday, June 14, 2006

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