This week my guest is Patricia Driscoll, author of Shedding Light on Murder.
I’m a debut author. My first novel, “Shedding Light on Murder,” will be released by Five Star /Gale in January 2012. But, I’m no debutante. In fact, I’ve reached a certain age, no specifics of course, where I think I might be best described as a late bloomer.
I started writing after my retirement as a probation officer. When I retired, I looked forward to re-kindling my passion for painting and drawing. Instead, I wrote “Shedding Light on Murder,” a mystery set in Cape Cod.
P.D. James published her first novel, “Cover Her face” at age forty-two, Henry Miller, “Tropic of Cancer” at forty-four and Ian Fleming, “Casino Royale,” at forty-five. Impressive? Yes, of course. But, to me they’re youngsters. Let’s take a look at some of my favorite authors, who are what I consider to be late bloomers. Their stories are truly inspirational.
I read the novel, “Stones From Ibarra,” for the first time, some thirty years ago. I don’t remember how I stumbled upon this wonderful book, but I do remember my delight when I learned more about the author, Harriet Doerr. She graduated from Stanford University at age sixty-seven, and went on to win a Stegner Fellowship. “Stones From Ibarra” went on to win the National Book award. She was seventy-four when it was published. She went on to write another novel and a short story collection.
I do remember when I first heard of Frank McCourt. I read an excerpt from “Angela’s Ashes” in The New Yorker Magazine. I have to say, I was blown away by his incredible story and the manner in which he told it. I couldn’t wait to get the book and it became one of my favorites. McCourt was born in Brooklyn, but spent his formative years in Ireland. He returned to the U.S. at age nineteen, pursued an education and taught in New York schools for many years. He published “Angela’s Ashes,” his first novel, in 1966 when he was sixty-six years old. He won the National Book Critics Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Autobiography among other notable awards.
English writer Mary Wesley published three children’s novels, two when she was fifty-seven and one when she was seventy-one. Her first adult novel, “Jumping The Queue,” was published in 1983, also at the age of seventy-one. She went on to write nine more novels, including “The Camomile Lawn,” which became a successful British television series. Wesley was known for her freethinking, progressive heroines, who used profanity and led sexually liberated lives. She was appointed a Commander of the British Empire. A quote attributed to her is, “Sixty should be the time to start something new, not put your feet up.”
After leaving a career as an oil company executive, Raymond Chandler decided to write fiction. His first novel, “The Big Sleep,” which introduced detective Phillip Marlowe, was published when he was fifty-one. Between 1939 and 1959, he wrote seven novels. He also wrote screenplays for The Blue Dahlia and Double Indemnity among others. In 1958 he was elected president of Mystery Writers of America.
So, late bloomers, take heart, get going and write that novel you’ve been tossing around in your head for years.
And, if you are a late bloomer, please feel free to add a comment and tell us your story.
“Shedding Light on Murder,” will be released on January 18, 2012. To learn more about the author and her novel, please visit her website at www.patriciadriscoll.com.