Okay, I have to admit, this topic leaves me wondering what to write. I just don't get, how in this day and age, such a trivial thing as age differences between our heroes and heroines matters one tiny bit. I just don't. It ranks right up there with my confusion about race distinctions in a romance. We write books about aliens or vampires or ghosts who might be hundreds or even thousands of years old. Does age difference matter then? Is a handful of years one way or the other really a bigger issue than having a hero who can turn into a wolf or a bear? What if you have two heroes, or two heroes and a heroine? Is age really the biggest issue in that kind of relationship? I'm sorry folks, but on this one my stance is firmly BFD--big freaking deal.
We all know the history, and a good bit of the biology involved. Yes, women are genetically programmed to look for a protector. When you're younger, I suppose that would be an older man. Say someone in his late teens, early twenties, when we first reach reproductive age. Then as WE age, the ideal age of a mate doesn't, at least not as rapidly. After all a 25 year old is likely to be a better physical protector than a 45 year old, right? Come on folks, we should be past this crap, just as we're past the idea of 17 year old heroines.
Truth is, love comes in unlikely packages, and those match-ups are part of what make romance fiction an industry. We want to see the alpha heroes, but we also want to see the alpha female choose her ideal mate. Sometimes he's older, sometimes she's older, sometimes, they're even the same age. If we wrote all of our stories the same, we'd lose our audience pretty quickly. To keep things interesting, we've got to mix things up, and age is simply one variable we can play with.
So have I written an older heroine with a younger male? Well I have an 800 year old djinni and a 30-something computer programmer in Djinni and the Geek. I'm pretty sure Twyla the pixie is older than Bram the half-dragon in Between a Rock and a Hard-On. What, that isn't what you meant? With regard to strictly human characters? I don't know...I'd honestly have to go back and check in a lot of the books. And oh yeah, in real life, I married a younger man. By three whole weeks. 22 days a year I hear about it, for the last 23 years. Sigh. Honestly, people. Find something bigger to worry about. Age is just an arbitrary number.