At 77, Alice McCracken can add a few more boxes to her bucket list.
When she started writing a few years ago, McCracken said she set the goal to write four books by 80. In August she hit her goal with the release of “The Little Red Barn: An Olympic Romance.”
“The response has been great,” she said.
Under her pen name Dorothy Rice Bennett, McCracken’s latest book continues under the lesbian romance genre connecting a lost heiress with a mother of two in the Sequim area.
McCracken brings Kate, a globetrotting heiress into the John Wayne Marina to connect with an old friend. At The Little Red Barn coffee shop she meets Angie, a divorcee with two children.
“Kate meets a barista and is surprised, ‘Who would be exciting in a place like this?’” McCracken said.
The pair is drawn together and connect in scenic places that McCracken loves too, such as the Dungeness Railroad Bridge, Johnson Creek and more.
“It’s exciting for me setting it in Sequim because I can use all the locations I love,” she said.
McCracken said she explores Angie’s responsibilities to her children while Kate doesn’t know the concept growing up entitled.
“She never had to be accountable in her life, but now she’s with someone who needs her to be committed in ways she’s never even thought about,” she said.
Adding children to the equation McCracken finds isn’t in many romance novels she reads.
“How do you court a woman with two children? It’s not easy in anyone’s world,” she said.
McCracken said adding them as a dynamic was fun to work with, too.
Up and writing
Prior to “The Little Red Barn,” McCracken said her first three books came out fairly quickly.
However, she faced some health issues with her digestive track.
“I had to accept the fact that when you’re in your 70s some things aren’t as easy than when you were 50,” she said. “So it slowed me down.”
But she finished “The Little Red Barn” in May and worked with local author Ronni Sanlo to get the book published through Amazon, where she’s seeing good results and a possible profit after expenses soon.
Compared to her previous books, McCracken said she’s seen an uptick in digital sales and that she receives more money from digital than physical sales.
She’s also found more online social groups to reach potential readers.
“Things I tried were just slapped me down, but I finally got some doors open,” McCracken said.
When writing romance, McCracken said she focuses more on mature romance rather than simply the physicality of it.
“I come from a school where you have a setting where you have characters around the main characters. You have nature, friends, neighbors — all kinds of things in it that flesh out the story,” she said.
Her book has sensual situations, she said, but it’s not the basis of the book.
“There are two women who meet and fall in love, but they are people and they have baggage and issues but they have to resolve it,” she said.
As 80 approaches, McCracken said she’s written an outline for her fifth book, again set in Sequim. It tentatively focuses on five lesbians renting a house together. Her goal is to release it in 2020.
Previously, McCracken said it’s been a dream of hers to publish a book of her own and that being an author has helped her “really be me.”
“I’m not going to stop until I can’t do it any longer,” she said.
Reach Matthew Nash at email@example.com.