How and why I got started on writing my debut novel. An easy read, romance between two baby boomers.

In the early years of my second marriage, I started writing poetry and short stories for my step-children. Then some 4 years ago, my then 14-year-old-grandaughter had 2 novellas published and I was inspired to try writing a novel myself.

I wanted to write something that would show Baby Boomers and the like are capable of friendships, relationships, and even love. So, despite having never read a single romance book the idea of “Not Too Old for Love” was born. And my quest to become an author of Romance or RomCom novels had begun.

Other than a vague idea I had no real idea for the plot, and no concept of planning or outlining the novel.  It seems that broadly speaking novelists fall into two separate camps, they are either outliners or pantsers.  I’m sure that ‘outliners’ needs no explaining, and pantsers are people who write by the seat of the pants (similar to the way in which World War One pilots were said to fly by the seat of their pants).  Although I didn’t realise it at the time it seems I am by nature a pantser and I happily started off with no idea where I was going or how I would get there.

In fact, at first, the book was little more than a series of conversations between residents of a retirement village in England.  This resulted in a heavy bias towards dialogue and much rewriting and the scrapping of a considerable amount of work.  Next time I intend to at least have the basic outline before I start writing and then see how it develops.

It was a surprise to me how the story just seemed to come together, and a shock when sometimes it almost seemed to have a mind of its own.  On a number of occasions, a chapter would end up quite different to what I had intended.  Sometimes it seemed that a character simply said or did what they wanted to, almost as if they were real.

For a variety of reasons this easy reader,sweet romance, took considerably longer than I had expected but was eventually completed and is with a publisher to be considered for publication.

Two sequels are planned and an outline for the first of these already exists in my head. The main characters for this exist in “Not Too Old for Love” Volume 1, and a possible relationship has already been hinted at.

The characters for Volume 3 will also be taken from the initial book,  and their possible relationship will probably be hinted at in Volume 2.

I am sure that those of you who read this novel will be amused and intrigued by how the residents of The Grange retirement village develop their friendships, relationships, and romances.  Hopefully, in future, you will see people of this generation in a different light.  And I hope you enjoy the following snippet from Chapter One.

Not Too Old for Love

By Peter Perrin

Chapter 1

Grace jabbed at the volume button on the remote control, turning up the sound on the television. She was trying to drown out the chatter which filled the palatial residents’ lounge. It had been like this for days and she’d grown tired of it. Who would have thought the imminent arrival of one man could affect mature ladies like this?

One of the things which had appealed to her when she moved to The Grange retirement village was the lack of men. Yet now a man who aroused feelings in her she didn’t want was going to add to their number.

Grace had caught a glimpse of him across The Lounge a few months ago, taking the standard tour of The Grange. He’d towered over the young woman he’d been with and she’d guessed he was at least six-foot-five. Built like a tank, with a mass of wavy white hair and a snow-white beard, he’d reminded her of a polar bear. His presence had been overpowering and almost menacing. An image of him defending this 17th Century mansion in days gone by had jumped into her mind.

Just looking at him had sent a spontaneous burst of attraction rippling through her. It had caught her by surprise. Becoming attracted to anybody was the last thing she’d needed right then. Her divorce had been too recent and too painful. All she wanted was to focus on her painting to block out the pain. Although she hadn’t come here to look for a man there was no denying how she’d reacted to the sight of him. She wondered how she would cope when they met. And she couldn’t help feeling he was going to have quite an impact on her life. Whether it would be a good impact or not, was the six-million-dollar question. He might be the greatest thing since sliced bread! Or he could turn out to be a snake in the grass like her ex-husband.

So there you have an insight into how I started writing. How did you start?

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