‘The average woman will live 30 years after menopause. You can have lots of fun in that time. This is our third act, the time that many women learn to ROAR! I’m now marinating in all the things I love most and writing about them.’After retiring from a distinguished career in education and health, Jay Courtney found life rather beige. ‘I realised that I didn’t know how to do this part of my life’ she says. ‘There was no route map to follow, only a looming ‘Exit’ sign, so I went on a quest to find a colour that suited me.’ Courtney’s metier transpired to blend travel and inspirational writing, combined with a talent for finding others whose experiences resonate. In Juicy Crones she fetes the lives of women embracing their ‘third act’ with gusto. Written by a Telegraph travel-writing competition winner and former Women’s Hour guest, Juicy Crones is a joyous celebration of post-menopausal women life travellers. ‘Crones were revered as wise women, warriors, speakers of uncomfortable truths, carrying with them the wisdom of life’ says Courtney. ‘As for the ‘juicy’ part, this is me thumbing my nose at language often used of older women as ‘dried-up’, wrinkled, barren. Many older women I have met have been the very opposite: beautiful, vibrant, outrageously funny, full of self-knowledge, free-spirited. There is no better group to be part of. What we lack in collagen we make up for in wisdom!’Courtney’s debut is a unique title with an infectious enthusiasm for living life to the full, that blends adventure with feminism, women’s health with well-being, and autobiography with self-help. This is a book for the UK’s 12 million ‘crones’ and anyone who shares their life, for women adventurers and for fans of Raynor Winn’s The Salt Path, Caitlin Moran’s More than a Woman and Helen Lewis’ Difficult Women.
And the first subtitle? ‘Free for the Strangest Adventure’ is a quotation from Virginia Woolf in To the Lighthouse. ‘For me it represents the state of mind that enables a Crone to be juicy!’ says Courtney. ‘This is when the magic happens.’