The older woman in fiction

men and women dancing

My new book, The Usual Story (Ginninderra Press) is due for release mid 2018. Like The Crystal Ballroom, The Usual Story is set in the dance world and will add to a small pool of literature that addresses the issue of the older woman in fiction.

‘In this unusual book Libby Sommer puts women’s psyches under the microscope – their hopes and dreams, fears and foibles – yet always with a deft touch and a sympathetic ear.‘ –  The Crystal Ballroom review, Women’s Ink! magazine , November 2017

two tango dancers in red black and white

The Usual Story touches on the stages of a woman’s life:  childhood, adolescence, marriage, motherhood and grand-motherhood. It’s created from asides, snapshots, glimpses, encounters and memories. The numbered sections provide a container for the chaos as we meet this woman in mid-life change. How will she come to terms with the truth of her aging in a culture that has very little use for anything that is not young?

Set partly in a seaside suburb of Sydney the story is played out against a response to nature, using the poetry of the Australian seascape to celebrate the beauty of this country. The presence of the sea throughout suggests the enigma at the heart of all life processes, the fact that certain things can’t be captured in words, can only be hinted and gestured at.

Together with many other developed countries, Australia’s population is ageing. Over the course of the 20th century, the proportion of people aged 65 and over has tripled. The baby boomer generation form a prominent part of Australia’s population, and as most fiction readers are women over forty the book will reach a group of people who are increasing in number but who are often ignored in literature. Most novels, if they have a heroine at all, depict her as young and beautiful, whereas middle-aged women, the majority of the readership, have no role models.

Although publication of The Usual Story is still more than six months away, we are looking at ideas for the cover. It will probably have a similar look to The Crystal Ballroom, perhaps in red, black and white with a dance theme. The publisher will make the final decision.

So then comes reviews for the back cover. Any suggestions for reviewers?

Header image Pinterest:  Beryl Cook – Dancing the Black Bottom



10 thoughts on “The older woman in fiction

    1. Thanks for your response Anika. Yes, there are magazines who review my books once they are published, but I need to incorporate reviews on the back cover before publication. What about you and your new book? What will be on the back cover?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I did consider asking bloggers for early reviews but decided against that for this anthology and will feature the blurb. I will see what I do for the main novel…


  1. yes, Annika, i didn’t mean bloggers for reviews, rather well known writers or other people with literary credibility. i did get some excellent blurbs for the back cover for the last two books, but i need to find new people to approach this time. back cover blurb. i think your latest post is on this topic. will read it soon. only just arrived in France yesterday after 24 hours in the air from Australia, so a bit brain dead just now. thanks for staying in touch. Libby x


  2. Hello Libby, Do you have a FB page? I have put a link to this post on my FB page Women Over 50. I hope that’s all right. Please have a look if you are interested to make sure you’re happy with it. Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

    1. great idea Joanna. my fb page is @LibbySommerAuthor . i’ve liked your page and also the fashion photographer’s. looking good 🙂 also, my book The Crystal Ballroom, published by Ginninderra Press in 2017 is very much about the older woman in fiction. ‘Libby Sommer lays bare the foibles of human nature in her finely observed stories of love and loss in the singles dance scene. Brilliantly drawn with wit, compassion and poignancy, the characters you meet in The Crystal Ballroom are sure to remind you of someone – maybe even yourself.’ – Jan Cornall, Writer’s Journey

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s