Gifts of Creativity from Late-Blooming Writers

Gifts of Creativity from Late-Blooming Writers

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.

Historical Heavyweights

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.

Others in this category who might surprise you include Harriet Beecher Stowe, George Elliot, Anthony Trollope, Raymond Chandler, and Henry Miller (whom I’ll cover in in future posts).

Contemporary Favorites

Contemporary late-blooming authors you might recognize include Lee Child, Claire Cook, P.D. JamesJanet Evanovich, and Sue Monk Kidd.

A few of my current favorites—C.J. Sansom, Elisabeth Storrs, and Lindsay Edmunds.

Gifts of Creativity from Literary Late Bloomers by Debra Eve | LaterBloomer.com

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.

Gifts of Creativity from Literary Late Bloomers by Debra Eve | LaterBloomer.comLindsay 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.

Cyber Friends

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):

Gifts of Creativity from Literary Late Bloomers by Debra Eve | LaterBloomer.comJulie 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)

Gifts of Creativity from Literary Late Bloomers by Debra Eve | LaterBloomer.comKathy 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.

Her second Concordia mystery, Unseemly Pursuits, was just released. (Website | Amazon Author Page)

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)

Gifts of Creativity from Literary Late Bloomers by Debra Eve | LaterBloomer.comPatricia 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. (WebsiteAmazon 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!

38 Responses

  1. Rayven T. Hill
    | Reply

    Inspiring article. I’ll be 60 next month and just published my first two books this summer. There’s hope for me yet.

    • @DebraEve
      |

      More than hope Rayven. A fantastic and creative second act! Love your bio — putting your writing career aside for half a century to make a living. I total relate and so do many late bloomers. But hey, “late” is relative and we’re here now!

  2. Kassandra Lamb
    | Reply

    Wow! I am so honored to be among such esteemed company. Great article, Debra!

    • @DebraEve
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      It’s my honor, Kassandra! You’ve had such an amazing career as a psychotherapist and I love how you use your background in your writing.

  3. K.B. Owen
    | Reply

    A fab post, Debra! Thanks so much for including your cyber-acquaintances in this post on late-blooming writers. Very inspiring!

    • @DebraEve
      |

      Where would we be without our friends, Kathy? We had such a fabulous and talented WANA group!

  4. Lynn Kelley
    | Reply

    Pretty awesome and inspiring!

    • @DebraEve
      |

      Thanks, Lynn. It’s never, never too late. And I do plan Part II — I haven’t forgotten your fabulous kids’ books.

  5. Marcia Richards
    | Reply

    What a great list of authors and their books, Debra. And the free literary books…oh, what you’re doing to my kindle! It weighs a ton from the hundreds of books in my TBR list. Plus I have a TBR pile of print books, too. It doesn’t matter though. There is no such thing as too many books and I’ll eventually read them all!

    • @DebraEve
      |

      So true, Marcia! I’ve got about 700 print books on the shelf and over 300 on Kindle! I really enjoy your blog and look forward to including you in the sequel to this list.

  6. Rhonda Hopkins
    | Reply

    Thanks for including me among all these wonderful authors! There are many books and authors on this list that I love. The rest have been added to my TBR list. I can’t wait to get to them!

    • @DebraEve
      |

      You’re welcome, Rhonda. And congratulations on your success!

  7. Florence Fois
    | Reply

    Debra, whenever I need a reminder about age not being a barrier but more of an inspiration, I come here and you encourage me. I might be older than 42 when my first is published and feared I would be the oldest person alive to finally get between the boards … yet I no longer worry that I will never get there 🙂

    And it also pleases me that I know so many of the new contemporary writers you mention … most noteworthy … KB Owen, Lindsay and Anne … thanks 🙂

    • @DebraEve
      |

      Thanks, Florence. And remember that 42 is an average, Florence. As I like to put it, we’re on the right side of the average’s long tail!

  8. Michael Parker
    | Reply

    I just about enter that league. I had my first novel published in 1980. I was 38 at the time; thought I’d made it big time. Next novel in 1984, different publisher. Then an enormous gap until 2007 when I had my third novel published. I was 66. I now have eight titles in print, all traditionally published with a London publisher, and my ninth is due out next year. I can’t say I’m in the same league as those writers mentioned in the article, but it’s nice to see those hardback book spines of mine lined up proudly on my bookshelf.

    • @DebraEve
      |

      I love this story, Michael. It shows that the path to your dreams is more of a spiral than a straight line. And you’re in good company. Among others, Kenneth Grahame started in his 30s, had a hiatus, then published Wind in the Willows in this late 40s. I may be in touch for an interview 🙂

  9. Patricia Sands
    | Reply

    Debra, you are an inspiration and a woman for all ages. You embody the philosophy so many of us follow ~ getting older simply offers us more opportunities to pursue dreams. I’m honoured to be part of this post. Many thanks!

    • @DebraEve
      |

      My pleasure, Patricia. I love what you’re doing!

  10. Anne R. Allen
    | Reply

    Thanks for telling us about all these late bloomers. Very inspiring. Your author group sounds fantastic. Are you planning to publish together? I have a great guest post on my blog this week about author collectives. It’s a way to “indie” publish and still have a “team” as well as pool resources and talents.

    • @DebraEve
      |

      Hi Anne! Those eight women are all WANAs, so you’re an honorary member :). And I didn’t forget about you. I’m hoping to feature you in the New Year after I redesign the blog. 🙂

  11. Elisabeth Storrs
    | Reply

    Thanks so much for mentioning me, Debra. Quite an honour! It wasn’t until I was ‘a woman of a certain age’ that my first book was published and now my entire life has changed. Reading about so many other ‘later bloomers’ makes me feel as though I haven’t started out of the blocks too late 🙂

    • @DebraEve
      |

      Of course not, Elisabeth! And you’ve done so much in your life. I find there’s a real joy is turning to creative endeavors after a corporate career.

  12. Terry Ryan
    | Reply

    Love this site. Great topic.

    • @DebraEve
      |

      Thanks, Terry. Sorry I missed you earlier!

  13. Sheila Seabrook
    | Reply

    Creativity is one of those gifts that I’ve always cherished. Thanks for the mention, Debra. I wish you and your family a warm and safe holiday season. 🙂

    • @DebraEve
      |

      Thanks, Sheila! Sorry I missed you on the first go around. WordPress has such a wacky way of presenting comments on the backend. And thanks for being such an inspiration.

  14. Patricia
    | Reply

    So, there’s hope for me yet? In March I’ll hit the big 5-0 so it is definitely my time. Hopefully next year will be THE year for my writing career to soar.

    Thanks for keeping the hope alive. It looks like I’ll be in GREAT company!

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    • @DebraEve
      |

      Actually, Patricia, sometimes I wonder if what I’m doing is silly, because it looks to me that the majority of start or reach their stride in their 50s. I forget that not everyone is researching it all the time. So yes, big buckets of hope :). Thanks for stopping by!

  15. Claire
    | Reply

    I guess today’s a rather bookish day – I’ve just shared a Shelfie 🙂
    Thanks for this great round-up, Debra!
    I’m ever hopeful my upcoming 50s will be THE time I finally bloom into a writer…

    • @DebraEve
      |

      It’s the magic decade I think. And you’re already blooming, Claire 🙂

  16. Croila
    | Reply

    Gosh what a fascinating article, thank you Debra! Loads of very interesting information in here 😀

    • @DebraEve
      |

      Thanks, Donna!

  17. Karen McFarland
    | Reply

    This was such an inspiring post Debra! Did you notice that Porter Anderson reads your posts? I thought that was fabulous. Truly, it is amazing how many creative people are late starters. Just look at that list you put together. Amazing!You continue to give me hope my dear friend! 🙂

    • @DebraEve
      |

      Thanks, Karen! I met Porter at Writer’s Digest Conference West (highly recommended if you can get up to the LA area) — he’s truly a gentleman and a scholar 🙂

  18. Tammie
    | Reply

    I love reading fantasy and horror books.

    • @DebraEve
      |

      Hi Tammie, not so many fantasy and horror books this time around, but I promise to include them in a future roundup!

  19. Sandra Pawula
    | Reply

    How encouraging it is to know that the average age for authors first published in book form is 42! Thanks you for this treasure-trove of interesting reads. It’s a keeper!

    • @DebraEve
      |

      Sandra, so sorry I missed you earlier! Thanks for stopping by. I personally think that “42” figure is a bit low. 🙂

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