I have to apologise to Zoe Foster. You see, up until a couple of months ago, I didn’t even know she wrote fiction!
Zoe’s newest novel is called The Younger Man and it’s out in bookshops and available online TODAY.
It’s a story about a divine younger man and the (slightly older) woman who falls for him.
I read it over the weekend and it’s a winner and you need to read it to. And tell your friends about it.
I fired some questions at Zoe about The Younger Man, dating younger men and writing, and here’s what she had to say.
1. Where did the idea for this book come from? Is it based on personal experience? Or friends’ experiences?
It’s more my personal experience of friends’ experiences… I can think of at least four girlfriends who are with men 8-12 years younger than them. Some of these women are walking on sunshine, visibly radiant with the flush of energetic sex and having a young chap around who adores them, some are treating it as a Regular Relationship, some of them are strenuously overthinking it, consumed with keeping things Short Term lest someone fall in love, and some of them are living together and having babies and are happier than the mayor of happy town on the happiest day of the year.
2. Dating younger men. Is it a good idea?
Certainly! Young men today can be tremendously chivalrous, romantic and emotionally articulate, and make a wonderful partner for a woman of any age. It makes sense that a dame would choose be with a man who is adoring, self-possessed and not at all threatened by an independent woman. Especially if said dame has just waded through a shitty breakup and needs a healthy ego boost, or been with a man who was uncomfortable or unsupportive of her success, both of which understandably can act as initial reasons for the attraction.
Also, and when you think about it as much as I have, which, admittedly, might be too much, it makes sense. For while the idea of women dating up in age and status (‘hypergamy’) works well in theory (and in practice, as many women have demonstrated) it is also flawed because in each age pool – say, women in their twenties and men in their thirties as an example – there is a lack of the opposite sex, because they’ve all leaped into a younger/older age pool. So all the men in their twenties got no women, and all the women in their thirties got no men… UH OH. Looks like they might have to get together! (Excellent.)
Of course, there is the potential (as A. Kutcher kindly illustrated) that a few years in your younger man might realize he needs to go Be A Young Man, and do all that that entails. But! He also may not, and in fact be the perfect partner after all. (Cue one H. Jackman.) Obviously young women are just as capable of having these needs and feelings, (and do!), but the point I guess is that human nature is to be wary, even suspicious, of anyone who bucks the ‘usual’ way of doing things. This was what fascinated me about the younger man thing, and well, kind of why I wrote the book.
3. What about dating older men?
Equally delightful! And as with younger men, there are pluses and minuses. On one hand you could get someone who is worldly, experienced, inspiring, self-assured and a lot more… calm than his 22-year old comrades, but on the other hand, he might have already done a lot of things (including marriage and kids, yes, but also things like eating snails or playing Uno for the first time), and not be as… enthusiastic as he might have been in his earlier days. In that sense, there can sometimes be less of a “team” feeling, a feeling I recommend very passionately for a quality relationship.
4. What do you think of the term ‘cougar?’
I think it’s incredibly unsavoury.
5. I developed a bit of a crush on the lead character, Marcus. He’s gorgeous, funny, successful, stylish… Please tell me men like him exist in real life.
YES. You bet your bocconcini they do. And today more than ever, thanks to the glorious new breed of boys who’ve come through in the last decade or two. They’ve grown up with working (sometimes single) mothers, empowered sisters, powerful female icons in the media, they understand there’s no need to be intimidated by a woman because of her strengths, but rather, encourage and support her. They’re not too blokey and not too metro. They’re juuuuuust right.
6. Let’s talk about writing. What kind of discipline does it take to write two books in the space of a year and write for Cosmo and Mamamia and tweet and Tumble…?
It takes discipline, BUT! I am enormously lucky in that I don’t have to work full time in an office and crank out my writing on the weekends. (I did that for years, though, and am appalled to admit I may have been more productive back then.) I lead a very indulgent working life: wherever my laptop is, I can work. This also means there is never an excuse not to work, but I’m never looking for one, because I zealously love what I do.
7. Do you ever get writer’s block?
Mercifully, no. It’s more a case of writer’s diarrhea.
8. Is it more difficult to write fiction than it is to write beauty? Or vice versa?
Neither is more difficult per se, but fiction can feel more enjoyable, because you begin to lose yourself in your characters and the narrative, so it feels a bit like escapism.
9. Your beauty writing is very quirky and fun – do you find you have to change your style when you’re writing fiction?
Thank you! And no, not really. I just harness the (largely ridiculous) tone in my non-fiction and channel it through my characters mouths and brains. Some might call that “lazy” or “self-indulgent”, but they would be absolutely correct.
10. And finally, why should people should stop what they’re doing immediately and run down to the shops and pick up a copy?
Because reading books is terrific fun. Because we all know someone who is dating a younger man. Because even if we don’t (despite me just saying we all do), this is a lovely piece of effervescent, modern fiction. Because it’s fun to watch love unfold between a witty young hunk and a sassy woman. Because the chapters are short and you will tear through it in no time. Because the book features a sexy Italian “spanner in the works” who drives a ludicrous sports car and has admirable bed linen. Because the cover is delicious. Because you’ve just read all The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo books and you don’t know what to read next.
And look… A video! Zoe Foster claims her new novel The Younger Man “isn’t” about fiancé Hamish Blake. This is hilarious.
FYI – This isn’t Zoe’s first book, oh no no no. She’s also written Textbook Romance , which she co-wrote with Hamish Blake, Air Kisses and Playing The Field, all of which are available on Booktopia here….