A new book by a local author focuses on the perspectives of middle-aged and elderly women

Leslie Leyland Fields reads an essay from her new book at the Kodiak Public Library. (Photo by Mitch Borden/KMXT)

Mitch Borden/KMXT

Kodiak author Leslie Leyland Fields just released an anthology of essays focusing on the lives of women over 40. KMXT sat down with Leyland Fields and discuss what went into curating and editing this book and has this report.


Leslie Leyland Fields remembers how it felt when she first reached middle age.

“When I turned 40, I remember this clearly. That was 20 years ago, okay. When I turned 40 I remember thinking ‘Okay, I am not young anymore, I am starting middle age.’ But, I started thinking about what kind of old woman I wanted to be.”

Even though growing older happens to everyone, Leyland Fields says she couldn’t find many resources to help her with the mounting questions she had as an aging woman.

“What does it mean to be middle-aged and older? And what, you know, what happens and how can we be just be productive and fruitful and how can we make these years of wonder and beauty, rather than years of being old.”

The void of information on the subject of women aging is what inspired Leyland Fields to publish her new anthology, The Wonder Years: 40 Women Over 40 on Aging, Faith, Beauty, and Strength.

Women from all sorts of walks of life authored the essays that make up the book, which Leyland Fields assembled and edited. She says her book isn’t meant to answer questions, but instead expand and inspire women to view aging differently.

“I’m sending my book out into the world to say ‘no, you are only just starting.’ Now all that experience and wisdom that you gained in working and in raising your children, now use that. Use that for something more. You’ve got so much more to offer, now get out there and offer it.”

Leyland Fields has lived in Kodiak for about 40 years. She says it’s a great place to be a writer because of all of the rainy days.

“If it were sunny all the time I’d be out there having fun. You, know I’d be out hiking and doing all these other things. But, the weather really helps me settle down and just pull out 25 books and do the research and write.”

Aging can be scary, but Leyland Fields wants her readers to take away that there’s a lot they can accomplish, no matter how old they’re.

“There is still so much beauty and grace to be found in, in even what’s left.”

It took around five years for Leyland Fields to finish her book and she’s proud that it’s finally out in the world. The Wonder Years: 40 Women Over 40 on Aging, Faith, Beauty, and Strength can be found on Amazon.

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