Changing Lara – a guest post by Anna Jacobs
She’s continually writing and often travelling, so we are delighted that reader-favourite Anna Jacobs has found time to write for the A&B blog. Changing Lara (currently a Book of the Month with £2 off) is officially released in paperback today and before too long fans will also be able to get hold of Change of Season as well as Christmas in Peppercorn Street. Happy reading!
Some story ideas resonate so well that they stay with you. In 2011 I had a novel published called Moving On. It’s about a woman who lets her family trample all over her and finally finds the courage and/or desperation to stand up for herself and leave her husband and grown-up children to make a new life for herself.
That’s usually called a ‘coming of age’ plot, by the way. It can happen to both men and women from their 50s onwards. (Not necessarily leaving a marriage, heaven forbid, but definitely changing direction in life.)
I had such positive feedback from readers who were happy to see an older heroine, among other things. Older readers are often ignored in modern novels. I have an 80+ heroine as one of the three central female characters in Peppercorn Street and have had a lot of reader emails about how wonderful it was to see an older woman portrayed as a go-getter and not a burden.
Coincidentally, just before I sat down to write this, I received an email from a 99 year old man who’d enjoyed one of my books and was about to take his only slightly younger girlfriend for an overseas holiday.
Feedback like this made me want to write some more coming of age stories. Indeed, I was 50 myself before I had my first novel accepted for publication. I know how it feels.
I have three such stories planned, set in the same leisure village as in Moving On. I know what such places are like because we live in one when we’re in England. You can get great mini-communities there—which is another theme I enjoy writing about, people helping one another and forming non-family relationships that can be as close as family.
So, Lara emerged from my imagination, about to retire early from a powerful work commitment. She really needs to find her softer side. And as there can be no story without a problem, I found her a big one, the solving of which will change her for the better.
I also found her a good neighbour, who happens to be an attractive older guy. Being happily married myself (57 years) I do like to create happy marriages/relationships for my characters. I even pair off the minor characters as well, if they need someone. I don’t like to leave them lonely. My readers seem to enjoy that.
I’m not going to tell you any more. You’ll have to read Changing Lara, the first in the Penny Lake series, to find out about Lara. I hope you’ll all enjoy her story.
P.S. I’m now writing Finding Cassie about another older woman who has a life-changing experience.