According to a 2010 survey conducted by the Humber School for Writers, the average age for authors first published in book form is 42.
According to Douglas Adams, the answer to the ultimate question of Life, The Universe, and Everything is also 42. Coincidence?
Probably not. Experience magnifies imagination. Creativity never gets old.
No wonder three of our most popular genres—fantasy, horror, and science fiction—owe their inception to late bloomers.
In this season of giving, I’d like to celebrate gifts of imagination and creativity from authors who started writing in their fifth decade and beyond.
I consider Miguel de Cervantes, Daniel Defoe, Bram Stoker, and Joseph Conrad, among others, “historical heavyweights.” And all had intriguing lives and multiple careers before penning their classics.
Their gifts are in the public domain, making them truly price-less. Here’s a list of 14 Free Books By Literary Late Bloomers.
A few of my current favorites—C.J. Sansom, Elisabeth Storrs, and Lindsay Edmunds.
C.J. Sansom and Elisabeth Storrs, both former attorneys, write enthralling historical fiction.
Sansom’s mysteries take place during Henry VIII’s reign and feature hunchback lawyer Matthew Shardlake. They’re labyrinths that drip with the menace only unhinged King Henry, even when off screen, can provide. Start with Dissolution.
Elisabeth Storrs writes about a beautiful lost people, the Etruscans, who lived just twelve miles from Rome in the 5th century B.C. It’s a culture clash only one group will survive. Elisabeth’s heroine Caecilia poignantly bears witness to it in The Wedding Shroud and The Golden Dice.
Lindsay Edmunds’ Cel & Anna holds a special place in my reading life, because it brought me back to science fiction. In a nutshell, “A guy and a computer both fall in love with a girl. Interesting times ensue.”
It’s reminiscent of Douglas Adams, yet completely original. I just bought the sequel, Warning: Something Else Is Happening, which came out last week.
I’m privileged to belong to a vibrant indie author community—real people, working their dream and supporting each other. Here are just eight (who average age 52, by the way):
Julie Foster Hedlund writes children’s picture books. She actually published her first, A Troop Is A Group Of Monkeys, at the mystical age of 42. This adorable tome teaches children (and adults) animal-gathering names. Don’t be late for that parliament of owls or pandemonium of parrots. (Website | Amazon Author Page)
Rhonda Hopkins writes horror and romantic suspense. She published her first fiction when she was 49. Her romantic suspense series, Courting Justice, will be released soon. To receive her gothic short story “The Consuming,” sign up on her Website. (Amazon Author Page)
Kassandra Lamb is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer who published her first book at age 59. Her Kate Huntington series features a trauma therapist married to a private investigator. Kassandra’s celebrating Kate’s sixth outing, Zero Hero, with some great giveaways on her Website. (Amazon Author Page)
Kathy Owen is a former professor of 19th c. literature who published her first book at age 50. She writes cozy historical mysteries starring the spirited and brilliant Concordia Wells, a teacher at a 1890s women’s college in Hartford, Connecticut.
Coleen Patrick published her first young adult novel at age 43. Her newest release is The Art of Chasing Normal, where teenage Grace learns that being herself is the only real normal. (Website | Amazon Author Page)
Patricia Sands writes stories that celebrate the rewarding friendships of women. She published her first book, The Bridge Club, at age 65. Her second book, The Promise of Provence, has blossomed into an enviable sideline—next summer she’ll lead two women’s tours based on the book to the south of France. (Website | Amazon Author Page)
Sheila Seabrook writes contemporary romance featuring smart, sassy heroines, hot heroes who make them laugh, and a wild assortment of family members guaranteed to try to steal the show. She published her first book at age 55. The story nearest and dearest to her heart is titled Always Remember. (Website | Amazon Author Page)
Monica Stoner writes about “people finding love in spite of themselves” under the pen name Mona Karel. She published her first book, the paranormal romance My Killer My Love, at age 60, and her second a year later. (Website | Amazon Author Page)
Douglas Adams observed, “I seldom end up where I wanted to go, but almost always end up where I need to be.” The Later Bloomer journey, abridged. Our lives and bookshelves are so much richer for it.
Hope you end up where you need to be this holiday season, warm and with a good book, surrounded by gifts of the heart, the only ones that matter. See you in the New Year!