Rochelle Alers | Nostalgia: Small Towns and Mature Characters
March 28, 2012
There's the expression that there's nothing new under the sun, and I'm beginning
to believe it wholeheartedly when I see the revival of Broadway shows and
remakes of classic movies or television shows -- most with not much success. I
can recall the remake of popular TV shows: Starksy and Hutch, The Mod Squad,
Miami Vice, The A Team, Fame, and some of my favorite movies from back in
the day: Disturbia, Swept Away, The Italian Job, The Jackal, and
The Taking of Pelham 123, and I have to admit I much prefer the
originals. Even with A-list actors and rave reviews I still find myself
comparing the old with the new and preferring the former to the latter.
I'm beginning to believe most of the creative juices have gone the way of the
dinosaurs with the proliferation of reality T.V. When did delving into the
private lives of housewives, rap and rock stars, teen mothers, substance
addicted celebrities, and out of control brides-to-be become entertainment?
This is not to say some of the episodes aren't funny, but a steady diet of
people acting out sends a negative message to our youth that this type of
behavior is acceptable because these people not only become media magnets but
also quite wealthy.
I don't begrudge anyone earning a legal wage, but the flipside is our society is
impacted by the fallout of bad behavior. Reality television is geared to a
younger demographic and because they are impressionable they view it as the norm
rather than the exception.
Over the years, there has been little or no emotional growth of The Desperate
Housewives, while there is a dearth of serious, intelligent drama like
The Good Wife or Person of Interest. I'm keeping my fingers
crossed for Shonda Rhimes' Scandal.
I'm constantly asking myself if I'm alone hoping, wishing and praying for
serious drama with mature adult characters. But, then when I speak to other
writers and/or readers they echo my sentiments. Is this why readers are drawn
to Debbie Macomber's books? Her appeal isn't just to the graying population of
readers, but also those from twenty-five to eighty-five. I cheered when I read
that one of her heroines was going to her 50th high school reunion.
Some may say the character is too old, yet I question is she too old to fall in
love, or too old to earn a degree? Heck no!
Ms. Macomber writes absorbing stories -- heartwarming books about home, family
and enduring friendships. Her characters are ordinary people who live in small
towns with everyday problems ranging from divorce to widowhood, infidelity,
unemployment, foreclosure and infertility. Whether they are seventy or twenty,
the reader becomes involved with the ups and downs affecting their lives, while
cheering for each to find their happily ever after. With more than one hundred
million books in print, topping bestseller lists simultaneously, and readers
waiting in bookstores for clerks to open cartons of books so they can purchase
their copies on laydown day, Ms. Macomber must be doing something right.
Instead of Debbie's Pacific Northwest, the Cavanaugh Island series is set in the
Carolina Lowcountry with characters who may not physically resemble Ms.
Macomber's but share similar experiences. You may ask "Why set novels in a
small town?" The answer is easy: The people who live there are like my extended
family. Even though I may not remember everyone's name, I do recognize their
faces. And it is the recognition that gives the reader a feeling of
familiarity, while looking forward to revisiting them again and again.
Come on down to Cavanaugh Island, put your feet up with a tall glass of sweet
tea and meet the quirky folks of this Lowcountry island that remind you why you
turned off the flatscreen with hundreds of channels to open a book.
39 comments posted.
Re: Rochelle Alers | Nostalgia: Small Towns and Mature Characters
I agree about the television shows...they need to come up with something new!
(Susan Ashcraft 3:09am March 28, 2012)
i rarely watch t.v. any more. i do watch 1 or 2 shows, dancing with the stars and then i watch reruns of Reba or the Nanny but not any of the new things on t.v. because they (IMO) are all trash. there are very few programs geared towards anyone that has a brain and a sense of taste/decorum. my family feels the same way. we usually end up renting or watching old movies that are entertaining, or sports.
(Tammy Ramey 4:55am March 28, 2012)
I believe that is why Downton
Abbey (PBS) did so well. It was
phenomenal getting caught up in
the acting; watching them grow
"over the years." Infact, I'm
hoping for a season 3. Current tv
is also the reason that great
books like yours and Ms Macombers
will always be around. We need
(M Bell 7:29am March 28, 2012)
I love your new book's setting. Can't wait to read it.
(Susie Kerner 8:22am March 28, 2012)
Yes the TV shows now are all the same...we need something new
(Bonnie Capuano 8:57am March 28, 2012)
Okay, I'd like to meet the folks at Lowcountry Island. I don't much watch TV, I have more important things to do..like READ my books. LOL. I bought a 56" TV just in case but my son says it's an awfully bi empty picture frame. Maybe I should look around for something to put in it.^^ Thanks
(Margie Gagarin 9:23am March 28, 2012)
This sounds like a perfect summer beach read. (And I'm headed to the Myrtle Beach in May) Sure hope I get to take this book with me!!
(Stephanie Strausberger 9:37am March 28, 2012)
sounds interesting - hope I win!
(Pamela Faye Howell 9:44am March 28, 2012)
I think this would be a great book to read at the pool this summer. Sounds like my kind of book.
(Audrey Skinner 10:38am March 28, 2012)
This sounds like a great place to begin a hopefully the beginning of a new
start in love.
Thankyou for a chance to win :-)
(Sheila Eyre 1:27pm March 28, 2012)
This sounds like the kind of book I read would love to win
(Lilian Gamble 1:43pm March 28, 2012)
WHAT CAN I SAY? THIS BOOKS SOUNDS LIKE A GOOD READ, ONE TO LOSE YOURSELF IN.
(Marlene Rosenberg 2:10pm March 28, 2012)
I also came from a small home town. Life was certainly more simple and people were appreciated. Big city life has it's advantages, but I love going home. I look forward to reading your new book. It's time for new authors with old
(Rosemary Simm 2:45pm March 28, 2012)
sounds like a book I would LOVE to read
(Shelly Itkin 2:48pm March 28, 2012)
I totally agree with you on the subject of re-makes of older classic films. The originals are almost ALWAYS better than the copies. And the re-make of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"? Um, hello? It's only been out a year or so, and already Hollywood jumped on the band wagon? Give me a flippin' break!!
I also totally agree with you about Debbie McComber's books. Throw Sheryl Woods' books in that category too, along with Dorothea Benton Frank's. Add into that mix your books, and we should all be happy campers!!
I visited the Low Country as a child and pre-teen on a couple of family vacations, taking the long route to my grandparents in Gulfport, MS, from here in Madison, WI, and I yearn to go back there again, physically, both for the scenery and the seafood. I do have to admit that the seafood has probably got the stronger pull, but the scenery is beautiful, and I'll love to be out in it taking tons of pictures.
Visiting friends in the are ranks pretty high on the wish list, too.
(Lynn Rettig 3:23pm March 28, 2012)
I am so anxious to read one of your books-they sound like they would be so enjoyable.
(Alyce Poalillo 3:32pm March 28, 2012)
I agree with you about tv. I hardley ever even tun it on these days.
I hope I win this.
(Heather Poindexter 3:41pm March 28, 2012)
At 83, I am a great fan of Debbie Macomber, and I look forward to becoming a fan of yours as well.
(Marjorie Carmony 4:36pm March 28, 2012)
I look forward to reading your book. I like reading about real people in real towns. Not hollywood and not vampire's, yuk.
(Kathleen Bianchi 5:00pm March 28, 2012)
Your Cavanaugh Island series sounds delightful. I lived in Myrtle Beach for several years and fell in love with South Carolina.
(Robin McKay 5:15pm March 28, 2012)
I do agree that there is not a whole lot of good television with uplifting themes.
(Maureen Emmons 5:20pm March 28, 2012)
I absolutely agree with you about television shows today. There are far too many gruesome crime shows and reality shows (unacceptable viewing for young audiences). For example, the Kardashians...is it any wonder why young girls believe they are super role models and want what they have and how they look and act? Kim could never survive in a small town setting or begin to know what she's really missing and has probably never had the time to pick up a book! I'm from a small town and loved growing up in one, where it was safe to ride my bike anywhere I wanted to go.
Readers enjoy the quaint, serene, neighborly small town-life to read about and that's why Debbie Macomber's books are a hit with all ages, and something pleasant to read. Thank you for the chance to win your book which I know I'd enjoy and fall in love reading something delightful!
(Linda Luinstra 6:08pm March 28, 2012)
I love small towns and stories about them. Your book sounds great and I hope I am the lucky one to win it! Yes, they do need some new shows but I agree the Good Wife, NCIS, Person of Interest etc are all good shows. I also think Undercover Boss is a good show and more companies should do something along the same idea to REALLY see and understand what some employee actually are putting up with on a daily basis.
Although I just "found" you as an author, I am excited that I did and I am looking forward to reading some of your books. I do read some of the authors you and others have mentioned and think they are great. If your work is like theirs, I already Know that you are great too. :)
GOOD LUCK to all (but I do hope that I win...sorry to be so selfish). Have a great evening!
(Cheri Minott 6:13pm March 28, 2012)
I love reading about small towns and your descriptions are incredible
(Karen Kane 6:45pm March 28, 2012)
This books sound great. Love the small town atmostphere. Love it when I find a new author.
(Kiki Winn 6:52pm March 28, 2012)
I am here at Cavanaugh Island, the TV's off, my feet are up, my tea is ready, but
where's my book?
(Suzanne Gonneville 7:05pm March 28, 2012)
The small town atmosphere is less hectic and much more peaceful, along with beautiful surroundings to enjoy. Reading is relaxing and so is living in a small town, which makes for a good descriptive story that's uplifting. TV doesn't have enough of that to appreciate and the Undercover Boss show is one that does just that.
(Rich Cook 7:26pm March 28, 2012)
I have to add a great big AMEN! to your blog!! I have to admit to being hooked on a number of the reality shows (which I swore I would never watch) but miss the shows of substance - and love reading about more mature characters in books, who have a history -
(Felicia Ciaudelli 7:49pm March 28, 2012)
After reading your posting, I felt as if you read my mind, and typed it out!! Although I don't get as much exposure to what's on tv since I only get Canadian channels (thank Goodness), I've seen enough on the internet to make my head spin like the exorcist!! Call me old-fashioned, but there's no need for all the excessive behavior, and each person has to top the next one with their excessiveness. I have yet to want to see a remade movie. It's a waste of my time and money. Hollywood is desperate because they forgot how to "think." They can't come up with anything new, so they're going into the vault to redo the old, or make movies from comic books. Your book is something I'd love to sit down with on my deck with an iced tea or my coke and really savor it. You're a woman after my own heart!!
(Peggy Roberson 8:06pm March 28, 2012)
I do watch reality tv because it is often something we do together as a family. Honestly, I love Hell On Wheels but it's not appropriate for my 10 year old. One of my favorite shows is Spongebob because it is so creative and the whole family can watch it! I read when I want something new and creative.
(Jennifer Beyer 8:28pm March 28, 2012)
I agree and rarely watch tv. I'm always looking for something
new to read and only rarely disappointed. Thanks for the
(Mary Hay 8:50pm March 28, 2012)
I don't watch much TV besides music and game shows.
(Wilma Frana 9:13pm March 28, 2012)
I would like to thank everyone who posted. There is another writer I talk to who also complains about television programming. Her expression is "these people are too stupid to live." My comeback is "I can't believe they are being paid to act like clowns."
It's the same with books. Whenever I find the time to read I want to be entertained and educated. I find both whenever I read books set in small towns with characters I'd want to meet and/or have live close to me.
(Rochelle Alers 9:25pm March 28, 2012)
This sounds like a great read! Books/reading are my favorite
pasttime...Thanks for the great giveaway.
(Leanna Morris 10:39pm March 28, 2012)
Do not watch much tv but enjoy Mad Man and the
Walking Dead. Both are well written and entertaining.
Hey, I was hooked on sweet tea when we traveled to
the beautiful down south. Even liked the grits, yummy.
thanks for the great giveaway, too, sounds like the
books that I would love to read. WTG on your writing skills.
(Dayle Butler 10:56pm March 28, 2012)
I enjoy reading mature story lines but I also read
all "ages." I've been reading for some seventy years
(began at 5) and would love to read about someone
going to their 50th HS reunion. I chaired the com-
ittee which put on our 50th reunion & will be going
to our 58th in a few weeks. Life goes on and we are
still in the midst of it! BTW, great giveaway and
would love to read your book!
(Patricia Cochran 11:23pm March 28, 2012)
Like you, Rochelle, I find there is a real dearth of TV shows and most movies. I used to be a real movie buff while I lived in Europe: I'd watch classics or intelligent movies from many countries. Now I find the movies, and TV shows, divided between totally inane comedies and street-cleaning by guns, bombs, or other means of destruction. The number of movies I've seen in the last five years can be counted on one hand: two in theatres and maybe 3 on TV. I've been fleeing to reading more and more. (see also today's other blog entry by DiAnn Mills. I'm also near bottom on that.)
(Sigrun Schulz 1:13am March 29, 2012)
I like small town settings where the people know each other inside and out. Looks like a good read.
(Alyson Widen 6:21pm March 29, 2012)
Books are much more interesting that the plots shown on T.V. and even at the movies. Small towns especially present the residents in events that are heartwarming and believable.
(Gladys Paradowski 8:21pm March 29, 2012)
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