The main characters in my novels are sometimes older than one might expect.
To be sure, there could always be a twenty-, thirty-, or forty-year-old man and woman at or near the center of the story. These youngish characters are useful for a story’s action scenes. Also, many readers are these ages, and might like reading about contemporaries. Thus Greg Dalhart in THE DALHART PURSUIT is about forty and the story’s heroine, Jill Brennan, is in her late thirties.
However, I usually include main characters who have enjoyed many more years. These older characters typically are active, appealing, and able. Jacob Leach in FLAT LIGHT, for example, remains profoundly lethal in his seventies.
Readers might even expect a character like Leach if they had an experience I once had.
As a much younger man, I went through what purported to be elite military training. Some of the training was hardly elite, but there was one class I found truly impressive. We students were gathered into a gym. In walked two instructors. One was in his mid-sixties; the other was in his mid-seventies.
Each of the men had the erect, muscular build of an Olympic athlete and appeared to be in perfect physical condition. Only their lined faces and gray hair made them look different from, say, a Greg Dalhart.
They explained their purpose more or less this way: “We’re here for two reasons. First, we’ll tell you how to stay physically fit for the rest of your lives. Next, we’ll cover how to kill people with your bare hands.”
Any misconceptions I had about senior citizens soon vanished.
Of course, those misconceptions might have vanished anyway. Regular exercise, medical advances, improved diet, and healthier outlooks have long been taking effect. More and more Americans have been staying much younger for much longer. You might know many such persons.
Once I had been including more mature characters for a while, I realized book clubs occasionally might benefit from my doing so. Book club members might be of different generations. In that case, a novel with characters of different generations might work especially well. Each book club member could hope to read about a contemporary.
Of course, I would like Jacob Leach a lot even if I were only twenty-two years old again.