Author Betsy Talbot
Today I welcome a guest post from romance author Betsy Talbot, author of the new Late Bloomers series. Welcome, Betsy!
I became a romance writer in Morocco at the age of 43.
Before you start imagining vibrant images of this exotic country, the echo of the call to prayer sounding throughout the streets five times a day, or a profound experience with a Berber family in the desert, let me tell you first how I ended up there.
Back in 2010, my husband and I left the US to travel the world. In the two years prior to leaving, we sold everything, including our house and car, and quit our good jobs. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? It didn’t feel that way at the time, reeling from the very close health crises in two people we loved…both of them in their mid-30s.
This kind of close call will cause a reasonable woman to reflect on her past choices, and it will prompt a less reasonable woman like me to take charge of her future. Warren and I decided in 2008 that we would travel the world for one year, which is how we ended up on a plane to South America with no earthly possessions but our backpacks in 2010.
Over the following years, we traveled through South America, North America, Antarctica, Europe, and Asia. All the while, we grew a large readership at our website, Married with Luggage. Readers often asked if we’d share our tips on saving money, getting rid of our belongings, having the nerve to follow our dreams, and traveling together. This was the start of our nonfiction business, which published four books on those subjects.
Our lifestyle was romantic – traveling and working together around the world – but the subjects of our books were not. Finance. Decluttering. Logistics. These unsexy topics led to a very sexy life, but it was hard to stay motivated to write about subjects we had long since mastered. I wanted a new challenge.
We wrote a book called Married with Luggage: What We Learned About Love by Traveling the World. This was part travelogue, part memoir, and it spurred in me the desire to talk more about love and relationships and what can happen after 40. I’ve learned a lot through our lifestyle and through the interesting and exotic people we meet, and I had to find a way to share it. I just didn’t know how.
We arrived in Spain in December 2013. In a tiny whitewashed village in the south, we fell in love with the blue skies, friendly people, and red wine. Was it time to stop traveling, to put down roots? We knew we still had much of the world to see, but having a home base was appealing. The little white house on a winding street in the pueblo was our new oasis, a place to rest between travels and write more books.
But what kind of books would we write?
As our 100-year-old house was being renovated, we took a month-long trip to Morocco with some friends. As magical as it sounds, it was a working vacation since all four of us make our living with writing or online work. Every evening, we gathered in the common area of our rental house and cooked food, mixed drinks, listened to music, and talked about everything under the sun.
One night, the talk turned to writing and which genres were most popular. Romance came up, and we all wondered if we could do it. The four of us are what you would call slightly quirky, and our ideas matched our personalities. Before the night was over, we challenged each other to write and publish a romance novel by year’s end.
I missed the deadline to publish, but I did finish the book by the end of the year. And what I found as I went was that romance was the genre that fit my creative need. I could write about love, travel, friendship, and following your dreams. The crazy stories I’ve lived or learned could be adapted to become romance novels.
Most of all, I could show that being a woman over 40 was not a death sentence in terms of romance, adventure, and accomplishment.
That night in Morocco, sipping gin and tonics and dining on a fragrant and savory lamb tagine, I became a romance author. I began writing the very next day, mapping out the five-book series titled The Late Bloomers. The first book is Wild Rose, and I’m so proud of her story.
I haven’t left my nonfiction publishing roots behind. I’m still very deadline driven and business focused, knowing in advance the plot, publish date, and cover of each book in the series.
The five women of The Late Bloomers are as vibrant to me as the blue sky of Morocco, their voices as clear as the call to prayer, and their stories just as enthralling as any exotic encounter I’ve had.
Truth be told, I hated being in Morocco. But I love what it gave me.
Get your copy of Wild Rose, the first book in The Late Bloomers Series, by clicking here. To get a FREE Late Bloomers short story, sign up for Betsy’s newsletter, a twice-monthly email filled with exotic tales and unconventional ideas about life and love.
Betsy Talbot is a 40-something traveler and author. When she’s not traveling or penning books about love, adventure, and self-discovery, she is hiking, learning flamenco dancing, and drinking wine in a tiny whitewashed village in Spain. Her latest project is The Late Bloomers Series, a 5-book romance series about women in their 40s. Because women with experience make the best characters…in life and on the page. Get a new Late Bloomers short story for free at BetsyTalbot.com.
About Wild Rose:
Successful landscape designer and single mother Rose Quinn races to Italy to save her 19-year-old daughter Rachel from making a huge mistake with an older man – the same mistake Rose did at the age of 20. When secrets are revealed on the shores of Lake Como, Rose faces her own lifelong misconceptions about love and the illusion of control with handsome Mateo, relying on her lifelong best friends the LateBloomers to see her through this transformation.
About The Late Bloomers Series:
After a lifetime of friendship bordering on sisterhood, five 40-something women from Arizona each embark on their own adventures in love, travel, and discovery around the globe. Knowing themselves far better than they did in their 20s and 30s, these seasoned women are ready to take on the world. If 40 is the new 20, these women are just getting started.