Researching Retirement: Starting a New Series

By Sparkle Abbey  

Spring is here! Trees are blooming, tornadoes are popping up throughout the country, and we’re knee-deep in the first book of our new series. Last month we shared our adventures in researching retirement communities and how we landed on our own fictional 55+ community, Shade Palms. This month we wanted to talk about retirement challenges both fictional and in real life.

You’d think with one of us recently retired, we wouldn’t need to research retirement life. But we didn’t want to rely on just our experiences. We want to write authentic, multifaceted characters that our readers can relate to. While chatting with other retirees and hanging out in Facebook Groups, we quickly realized our real-life retirement challenges were mirroring our fictional characters.

We don’t know about you, but in our thirties and forties, talk about retirement life was typically filled with thoughts of long lunches with friends, bucket-list vacations, and taking up all those hobbies we never had time for. Turns out, it’s not always that simple. Don’t misunderstand us. We are having those long lunches, (Well, one of us is. The other one is still working toward retirement.) and we are taking those vacations (Look out Scotland, here we come!), but somehow all that time we thought would magically appear…well, it just isn’t there.

Establishing a new routine has been tough. Committing to regular exercise, spending more time with family and friends, writing, road trips, home projects, decluttering, and fitting in a new business venture hasn’t been as easy as it seemed. More to come next month about our newest business and how it fits perfectly with our new series!

Anyway, we’ve decided the secret to a successful retirement transition is to create a routine, remember what’s important, and adjust everything! It sounds so simple, but in practice, it’s been a learning experience. Sometimes frustrating, mostly fun, but always a work in progress.

At this point, we have characters at Shady Palms who are recently retired and are struggling to switch off the work mode. We have others who are struggling to find a purpose and are looking for ways to re-invent their life. And of course, our characters want meaningful activity to fill their time. And tracking down killers is certainly one way to fill up their day!

Because what’s life without a little adventure!

If you’d like to keep in touch with us and get updates about the new series, please sign up for our newsletter here:

sparkle and abbey

Sparkle Abbey is actually two people: Mary Lee Ashford and Anita Carter, who write the national best-selling Pampered Pets cozy mysteries series. They are friends as well as neighbors, so they often get together and plot ways to commit murder. (But don’t tell the other neighbors.)
They love to hear from readers and can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, their favorite social media sites. You can also follow them on BookBub to be notified when there are special offers.

7 replies
  1. Donnell Ann Bell
    Donnell Ann Bell says:

    I love the idea of finding purpose solving murders. Of course, with my mother in a retirement home, I probably shouldn’t 🙂 Hope you’re loving plotting and writing your new series!

  2. Debra
    Debra says:

    love your new concept. Also found when I retired to become a full-time author — all those free hours went out the window. There were a few months of long lunches and then that settled down to normal longish lunches…..but I found myself busier than when I worked (mainly because I was less structured). Good-luck with the new endeavor.

  3. Saralyn
    Saralyn says:

    I’m so glad you’ve taken on this topic. Older people really don’t consider themselves as old, and there’s plenty of room for adventure and mystery and fun.

  4. Kathryn Lane
    Kathryn Lane says:

    I can relate to how quickly our time fills up when we retire, except that fortunately for those of us who write, we are not really retired. Your new topic should be of great interest to a lot of readers! I love the topic you’ve chosen~!!

  5. נערות ליווי
    נערות ליווי says:

    I was very pleased to uncover this great site. I need to to thank you for ones time for this fantastic read!! I definitely appreciated every bit of it and I have you bookmarked to look at new information on your blog.

Comments are closed.