The Decades of Our Lives… by Nancy Brophy

I’ve lived my life in units of time. Childhood I remember as idyllic because my parents shielded me from reality and in truth I was oblivious. Even when we learned to huddle under our wooden desks in case of an atomic attack and my parents installed a bomb shelter ten feet from our back yard jungle gym, it never occurred to me that anything bad could happen.

The sixties were my awakening. While world events such as the Summer of Love passed by a small, isolated town in North Texas, I eventually broke out of the cocoon and went to college to join the protests. I look back on that time and know that people who are currently my age must have thought America and the proverbial hand basket were making their final descent into hell. There are many days I feel that way now. And while this is another period of change, it is nothing like the 1960s.

I spent my twenties trying to figure out who I was. What did I really believe? I tried to separate conventional wisdom from my upbringing to discover what made me tick. From Texas I moved to Indiana and back to Texas, married and divorced. Careers were discarded like wardrobe changes on a fat day. Happiness eluded me.

With the advent of my thirties, my life improved, but I still didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up. I dated, tried more job opportunities. I left Texas for Denver for a closer view of the mountains, but less money. My happiness increased as my confidence grew.

The forties were my decade. I shined. I went back to school and settled into a career. My current husband appeared as part of the move-to-Oregon package. Like the old joke goes – after the first dog left home, I built a stronger fence and put out better food. Two decades later than most, I found out who I was and sculptured my life to look somewhat like what I had envisioned.

Most of my fellow romance authors have lived through similar stages. They’ve married and divorced. Some have remarried. They’ve changed careers, gone back to school, had kids and lived one day at a time. But I think they write romance because somewhere along the line, they found a joy that they could communicate which had gotten them through the bad times.

Someone asked me why I wrote commercial fiction rather than literary fiction. My answer was simple. I live literary fiction. Like you – I need to escape into a good book. Give me a pretty man, a strong woman and an uphill climb with hot sex and I’m prepared to stay up all night to get to a happy ending. How about you? Why do you read/write/escape?


Posted on June 17, 2013, in General and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I became a romance fan in middle school when I realized these were the only books where the woman lived and got to experience sexual satisfaction.

    That still feels really radical.


  2. Haven’t found my decade yet. Is that a good thing? 🙂 Great post, Nancy!


  3. I went back to school in my forties and got both a bachelors degree and a masters, but I think my fifties will be my decade. I’ve published my first book (2nd in September), have decided to quite teaching full-time, and most importantly, stopped doing all the things I felt obligated to do, but didn’t really want to do at all.

    As selfish as it sounds, this decade is for me. My kids are grown, hubby’s had his career for 33 years and is transitioning into another, and I get to do what I want now. I’m excited!


  4. Yes to my forties. I first tried writing fiction just before I turned forty. Decided to quit teaching and write. My forties were dedicated to learning. I needed change and that’s how I found it. I discovered I did have stories in me that needed to be written. It’s just taken far longer than I ever imagined. But I am a writer and I write. I can’t not write. Love the HEA and intend to explore it until I can’t use a computer anymore.



  5. The forties were my decade as well! I like writing the uphill climb because that climb is what links it, even if tenuous, with reality and makes me (and I hope the reader) believe I could be climbing that hill with confidence and hope too. I write the happy ending because I still honestly believe that love does conquer all, that the bad guys get their comeuppance, and that Karma will rule.

    If I didn’t believe in happy endings in the real world, there would be far too many days I would not bother to get up in the morning. I read books that have happy endings because it makes me smile and it often takes my mind away from the daily grind. There is also some bit of satisfaction in taking the uphill climb with the protagonist, and perhaps learning something about perseverance or steadfastness in the process, and rooting for him/her to succeed (which is the same as rooting for me to succeed). But, most of all reading a book with a happy ending reminds me that it is likely this writer (and those who read this writer) must believe as I do–that somehow the world will be all right in the end, and that taking the path of light and love is the way to happiness.


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