By Nike Chillemi
At one time, the thought of a senior citizen widower and a senior widow falling in love was taboo and scandalous. Seniors who had lost a spouse through death or divorce were supposed to visit their children, babysit their grandchildren, perhaps get a pet and be content with that.
Well today's 80 is the new 70 and 60, the new 50. Today's seniors are often active members of senior citizen centers where they socialize and participate in a wide variety of activities. They take classes such as CPR, knitting, sketching and drawing, and cake decorating. They participate in activities such as ping-pong, yoga, swimming, and movie night. They take trips in a group to the local library, museum, and theatre.
Seniors travel within the United States and around the globe with others of their age through Elder Hostel. There are a host of opportunities to become attracted to a member of the opposite sex, fall in love, and get married in their golden years. If they can't find someone at their senior center or in their senior travel group, then there are senior dating groups and services springing up online to assist in that.
I've always wanted to see more senior love stories in fiction, specifically, in Christian fiction. I'm an advocate of fiction that reflects life. When I look around in today's world, I see vital, active seniors going out and enjoying life. So, in fiction, I want to see seniors getting out of ye olde wicker rocking chair and dancing the light fantastic. Perhaps that's why I wrote a senior love story into my detective novel, HARMFUL INTENT.
My senior characters Hoot Dagney and Bertha, are secondary characters and one of the main comic interests in what has been termed a zany, seat-of-the-pants detective story. Bertha is a widow and though Hoot's backstory is not delved into, at the opening of the story he is a bachelor. I strove to write two characters who would tickle the readers' funny bones and warm their heart's, while they have the utmost respect for the two characters' strong Christian beliefs. I can't tell you the number of readers who have said they were charmed and delighted by Bertha and Hoot's love story.
That said, I encourage writer's to create interesting and vital senior characters, who live full lives, and that would include romance in their lives. That could be married romance, but would certainly not exclude two single seniors falling head-over-heels in love, as Bertha and Hoot did in HARMFUL INTENT.
Like so many writers, Nike Chillemi started writing at a very young age. She still has the Crayola, fully illustrated book she penned (colored might be more accurate) as a little girl about her then off-the-chart love of horses. Today, you might call her a crime fictionista. Her passion is crime fiction. She likes her bad guys really bad and her good guys smarter and better.
Nike is the founding board member of the Grace Awards and is its Chairman, a reader's choice awards for excellence in Christian fiction. She writes book reviews for The Christian Pulse online magazine. She was an Inspy Awards 2010 judge in the Suspense/Thriller/Mystery category and a judge in the 2011, 2012, and 2013 Carol Awards in the suspense, mystery, and romantic suspense categories.
Her four novel Sanctuary Point series, set in the mid-1940s has won awards and garnered critical acclaim. Her new contemporary whodunit, HARMFUL INTENT released under the auspices of her own publishing company, Crime Fictionista Press finaled in the Grace Awards 2014.
She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), Christian Indie Novelists (CHIN) and the Edgy Christian Fiction Lovers.
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