Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Power of Gray

There is power in gray. I’m not speaking about Fifty Shades of Grey, but the power of older people. I have written a mystery series that is affectionately labeled, Geezer-lit Mysteries. With Oak Tree Press I have something different coming out this month, a paranormal PI mystery. 

This last week I attended the World Affairs Conference at the University of Colorado in Boulder. This is an annual event (65th one) with speakers on an eclectic range of subjects. Some of the sessions I attended included: Growing Old: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly; Who Stole the American Dream? with Hedrick Smith; Inside Iran; Homeless, Jobless: the Walking Nightmare; the Power of Social Enterprise; What the Frack! (fracking); the Evolution and Devolution of TV; Investing in a Sustainable Future; Truth Decay: Hoaxes and Conspiracies; My Life as a Spy, My Betrayal by the White House with Valerie Plame Wilson; Cartooning with Jim Borman, cartoonists of the Zits series in newspapers; Confessions of a Bibliophile; and the Molly Ivins Freedom Fightin’ Memorial Plenary with David Corn. 

In addition to my mind bursting with ideas after these programs (in the first session I came up with the plot for a new story), I noticed one very interesting thing in the auditoriums: the number of gray heads. There is an immense power in this country—older people. They are engaged, interested in key issues in our society and can make a difference. So instead of writing off Granny, realize she is part of a voting block and source of wisdom that can be applied to many problems in our country. And that’s also why I enjoy writing about older characters in many of my mystery novels.

Mike Befeler  


Billie Johnson said...

Mike, I am delighted to see this topic come up. I believe many OTP books should be attractive to mature readers, but I also believe that we have not refined and sharpened our outreach to these readers...despite many efforts in that area. Seems to me we need an overhaul in approach and I hope you will share your expertise in this area!

Billie Johnson
Publisher, Oak Tree Press

Kit Sloane said...

What an amazing list of speakers! I would have loved to hear each one of those you noted.
As for older readers, well, once a reader, always a reader. I don't particularly note older characters in books but also wonder how one can write a realistic story without including them. Now I suppose there's a special category of "geezer lit" because of the plethora of aging boomers and PR people must have jumped on those statistics. Is this really necessary? Probably not. Just another label for PR to use.

(I did note at my husband's 50th Naval Academy reunion the amazing number of gray-haired MEN, since no women were included in their class!)


William Doonan said...

Great post! I'm a big fan of Mike Befeler. 'Senior Moments are Murder' was a great book, so I'm looking forward to his next project.

As I also write a mystery series about a senior citizen, octogenarian detective Henry Grave, I couldn't agree more with the sentiment that this is a largely untapped landscape in the genre. Ever since Jessica Fletcher left Cabot Cove, our detectives are getting younger and younger, and it has to stop!

Mike said...

I had the honor of being on a panel with William Doonan. Older characters are fun to write.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Being an older reader--and writer, though I'm not gray thanks to hair dye, I agree with Kit, older people are all around, we should appear in books at least as minor characters.

Beryl Reichenberg said...

Being part of the "Granny" set, I am delighted to read your post. Our culture is all too often focused on youth. Beryl

Cora said...

For added support and promotion opportunities for author work that highlights the 50+ age group, sign up on with the Boomer lit. group. They are a great bunch.

Jackie Taylor Zortman said...

HEven though, for whatever reason, my hair has not yet turned gray, I am an older writer/reader. I do think that we should appear somewhere in books, sometimes as main characters and other times as the parent or grandparent of one of the charaters. Very interesting post.124

Jackie Taylor Zortman said...

I had to repost to point out that my post was certainly not a good example of a writer's abilities. Evidently, things were added as I struggled with the "prove you are not a robot" segment of this. It was clean when I previewed it and I apologize for looking like I cannot write. Is there a delete button on blogs? Obviously, I am a new blogger with little experience yet.