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Copyright 2005
Joan Medlicott

Joan Medlicott's photo
by Chris Clevenger
Courtesy of the Times News, Hendersonville, NC

Excerpted from
Christian Science Monitor, February 1, 2005,
by Marilyn Garner.

IN THIS NEW GENRE, NO HEROINE CAN BE YOUNGER THAN 48

Joan Medlicott never expected to find herself in the forefront of a new literary genre. But six years ago, as she relaxed in the bath one evening, three characters suddenly appeared in her imagination. All were widows of a certain age.

Over the next few days, as a plot began to develop, Medlicott sat at her computer, recording essential details of her story. Although this was her first foray into fiction, "my fingers just flew over the keys," Medlicott says.

The result was "The Ladies of Covington Send Their Love," the first in what would become a popular series of novels about women in their 60s who begin new lives together at a North Carolina farmhouse.

Since then, other novelists have also realized the fictional potential of this age group. They are creating a growing cast of midlife and older characters who serve as counterpoints to the hip young singles romping through popular novels.

Move over, chick lit. Make room on bookshelves for "matron lit," the latest literary category to catch publishers' - and readers' - interest. As baby boomer women reach their 50s and approach their 60s, many are eager to read about women like themselves, Medlicott says.

"Women need to connect," says Medlicott. And in Matron Lit, those connections revolve around "women who find themselves, who build new lives, who accept the possibilites that life offers and are willing to take risks.

Still no one really loves the term matron lit. "There dopesn't seem to be a perfect word that describes this demographic," says Micki Nuding, a senior editor at Pocket Books, which in March will publish Medlicott's next novel, "The Three Mrs. Parkers."


Joan Medlicott
P.O. Box 355
Barnardsville, NC 28709

jmedlicott@mindspring.com

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