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Love and Age Difference

February 17, 2012

In about three weeks, I turn thirty-two. My husband just turned thirty-four. There’s not much of an age difference between us, though I do like that he’s just a bit older than I am. What I find interesting is that no one thinks anything of the age difference now, but when we got married, I was seventeen and he was nineteen, and many people couldn’t understand our relationship.

Within my fiction, most of my characters share this small age gap. Two to four years in age difference is common, unless one character is a vampire. Then, age difference doesn’t really play a part in my mind. Nikola, from Rachmaninoff, was almost five hundred years old, and Aric was nineteen. If I really thought about it, that would be squicky, but because the age difference is shone through a paranormal light, it doesn’t seem so bad.

My largest age difference not set in a paranormal setting is Cade and North from my upcoming western, Lessons In Cowboy. Cade is forty-two, has three grown kids, and his ranch. North is twenty-four, successful in country music, but is still just starting out in life. When they meet, it’s a real clash of reality. Cade has lived and settled his life. He even has two grandkids. It’s something that North loves about Cade, as Cade adds a stability to his own life North has never had. But, when I first imagined them, I got some serious negative feedback over the fact that there was an eighteen-year age difference.

Which I find amusing. These same people read and writing paranormal fiction where there can be hundreds of years in age difference, but this contemporary simply squicked them. Well, some people find love with those significantly older or younger than themselves, and I just don’t see a reason they shouldn’t be represented in fiction. Why must it be two forty-year-olds who fall in love instead of a forty-year-old and a twenty-two-year-old? What is lost or made less in their relationship because of age? If two people are in love, then two people are in love, and I’m not going to remove that from my fiction because some people get their panties in a bunch.

Ultimately, love is love. Age is just a number. Cade and North will get their happily ever after, and their age plays only a small part in their relationship as a whole. They are not the last of the large age difference love interests K. Piet and I plan to write, but they were a lovely start!

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