5Q :: Older-than-average passion chronicled in ‘Sometimes’Tired of reading about 20-somethings falling in and out of love? Former Minnesota author Pat Brown has the book for you.
While films like “Something’s Gotta Give” and “It’s Complicated” have explored the sex lives of older adults, not much has been written about the subject of late. Enter “Sometimes,” a new novel from former Minnesota author Pat Brown.
The Budgeteer caught up with the Texas-raised scribe to see where she got the idea for the book:
Budgeteer: What can you tell us about your new book, “Sometimes,” as far as its plot goes?
Brown: Don and Sarah meet and fall passionately in love when they are 60 years old. To their surprise, they experience the same insecurities and even more intense joy and sexual passion than when they were young. Both love the outdoor life in Austin, Texas, where they live, and in Aspen, Colo., where Don owns a second home.
Unfortunately, Don is bound by a 40-year marriage and a lifetime image of being the “boy scout.” Now, just when he thinks he “has it made,” he finds himself wanting a different life. But can he make this drastic change? The primary tension comes from Don’s conflict between, on one side, his intense desire for a life with Sarah, a desire partially fuelled by the reawakening of sexual passion and, on the other, his sense of duty to his wife, 90-year-old father, children and grandchildren. Sarah’s conflict stems from her longing for a life with Don, her guilt about being involved with a married man and the pain of seeing him continue to live a life that, as she sees it, does not include her.
Before she meets him, she lives a life she loves, but, once she knows the joy of sharing with a man to whom she is so matched, she no longer is content to live alone.
The narrative includes e-mail messages, comments on news of the day, quotes from popular songs and descriptions of hikes and ski runs, all of which place the story definitely in a time and place (between 2002 and 2007 in Austin and Aspen).
Did something in particular inspire its unorthodox love story — perhaps a news story?
Actually, it was a combination of factors.
A news story did have something to do with it. I read somewhere that people over 50 make up the fastest-growing segment of online dating. And, as if to prove this true, a friend left her job teaching photography in the architecture department at Texas A&M, married a man she met online and opened an art gallery in Johnson City, a small central Texas town — thus proving that it never is too late to follow our dreams.
Also, a friend in my book club, a woman nearing 70, said she is tired of reading novels in which the central character is 35 years old. So I decided to write a story in which the central characters are older.
You’ve worn a number of different hats throughout the years — TV news director, Realtor, etc. — have you been able to write during each stage of your life, or have you had to go on hiatus from time to time?
For too long a time, I let my writing be a “dream deferred.” As a young mother (and school teacher) I typed away at a historical novel, writing on a manual typewriter that had no period. That manuscript still is stored in an old attaché case. I am thinking of resurrecting it since I still like the story.
However, today I am more interested in contemporary history and in the central drama of human life. I think no story moves us more than a love story, something we all get to experience.
What did you do when you lived in Minnesota? What qualities of our great state do you miss now that you’re away?
I was a real estate agent in Minnesota, too, opening my own office in the IDS Center. But, while I officed and lived in downtown Minneapolis, I did most of my transactions in Elk River — would you believe it?
I miss long summer days when people bloomed like flowers, lying on the grass at Loring Park, riding my bicycle at Lake Calhoun.
I miss autumn color, trees ablaze along the Mississippi. I miss Huckleberry Falls and Minnehaha Falls and all your wonderful lakes.
I miss all the theaters. We could see a different play every week. Never have I seen so much corporate support for the arts.
I miss your wonderful music. I went to a concert featuring Yo-Yo Ma on cello, Pinchas Zukerman on violin, Neville Mariner conducting. Magic. It made me understand the Pied Piper legend.
Most of all, I miss the friendly people. That is almost a cliché, but it is true. Downtown was a neighborhood — so much fun!
Finally, what’s next for you? Another novel?
Definitely another novel. And I will continue my “day job” in real estate.
NEWS TO USE
Read the first chapter of Pat Brown’s “Sometimes” for free at www.sometimesthenovel.com.