Book Review: Later Bloomers by Debra Eve

A few months back I read, On Writing, by Stephen King, and he made a point that writers must be readers. A book I just finished recommended, Tales From Mother Goose, by Charles Perrault (1628-1703) and so I decided to give it a read, since it was free for Kindle. I thought I knew the fairy tales, but I was wrong. It was much darker than I expected.

This is not about those stories, but about the book that led me to them.  Later Bloomers: 35 Folks Over Age 35 who Found Their Passion and Purpose, by Debra Eve. I found it when I read a blog post on her site. She gave away a free excerpt and I decided to give it a read. The later bloomers in the excerpt were all writers, which won me over immediately. Charles Perrault wrote down the tales, which had been told orally, at age 69.

The other names will be even more familiar. She tells us about Edgar Rice Burroughs, Ian Fleming, and James Michner, just to name a few.  She writes, “Ian Fleming (1908-1964) finished his first book at age 44 and succumbed to a heart attack twelve years – and twelve books – later. But what a legacy!”

I doubt that Henry Wood will ever be as cool as James Bond, but I finished my first novel at age 43 and had it published at 44. I don’t drink dry martinis, “shaken not stirred”, but I might start. Needless to say, this book was perfect for an aspiring, middle-aged, yet-to-have a massive herd of groupies, author.

Lola Gail, a reviewer on Amazon, wrote, “I have always enjoyed biographies and this book is a scrapbook of mini biographies”. Lola nails it. I’ve not been one who reads biographies, but these brief windows into the lives of remarkable people, really made me want to read more.

I also like how she finishes each chapter, too. At the end, she writes, “What Later Bloomers can learn from Ian : 44 years old. 12 years left. 12 books written. Take one step. Keep going.”  Not only do the stories inspire, but Debra gives a bonus bit of motivation.

The chapter on PD James begins with a quote, “Nothing that ever happens to a novelist is ever wasted.” Debra not only gives a wonderful history of each Later Bloomer, she weaves in her own experiences and how she discovered them.  “I have a love-hate affair with crime novels. As a girl, I practically ate Nancy Drew stories for lunch. By the age of 13, I’d read my way through the adult mystery shelves at my local library.”

By the time I got to the end of, Later Bloomers (Not LATE Bloomers, which is a different book), I felt I knew author and the subjects. It was the sort of book that makes one a little sad when it ends, but don’t worry, Debra is still writing on her blog and will continue to find other folks who made their mark later in life, so you can follow along or wait for the next book. On a scale of 1 to 37, I give it a solid 36. I loved the book and look forward to the next edition.

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KDillabough
KDillabough

I just finished Stephen King's "On Writing', which I loved. Now I'll look forward to reading Later Bloomers. Oh, and if you don't feel like a martini, apparently 007 will be drinking Heineken in this next instalment. Can you spell p r o d u c t   p l a c e m e n t? Cheers! Kaarina

ExtremelyAvg
ExtremelyAvg moderator

 @KDillabough I didn't know that about the Heineken, but I'm not surprised. They franchise, which are Bond movies NOT written by Ian Fleming, have gotten rather sad and pathetic, in my opinion. They've become little more than two hour chase scenes, occasionally interrupted by politically correct banter. Gone are the signature swooning woman, "Oh James...", and I don't recall if they have any delightful double entendre names like "Pussy Galore", anymore. So, now the martini's are gone, too.

 

Count me out.

KDillabough
KDillabough like.author.displayName 1 Like

 @ExtremelyAvg I'm with you on that. I just watched "Diamonds are Forever" and the "oh James" comment is classic. I actually saw that movie for the first time many years ago when I was in Holland, in Dutch with English subtitles. It remains one of my faves.

DebraEve
DebraEve like.author.displayName 1 Like

Thanks so much, Brian. This is the kind of review every author dreams of, and so welcome coming on the heels of my worst one a few days ago: "First class ideas let down by horrible, repetitive prose." Ah well, the writer's lot in a nutshell. You get what I'm trying to do, which, of course, makes you far from extremely average ;)

 

I collected these biographies to bolster my own resolve to write. One day I'll go back to fiction, but for now, Later Bloomers is my university and daily practice. You can't ask for more -- and that's the joy of discovering writing later in life. The worlds to explore are endless and more appreciated, I think. 

ExtremelyAvg
ExtremelyAvg moderator

 @DebraEve Actually, I really would like to ask for more. More please...I love these biographies. Lots more please.

Juliabarrett
Juliabarrett like.author.displayName 1 Like

This is an amazing post.  Okay, how to say this without offending everyone... I don't understand how anyone can be a writer without first being a reader - of many and varied genres.  One must have an entire library swirling through the folds in the gray matter in order to be a great writer.  

Every experience, every conversation, every moment contains the seeds of a story.  And once we've accumulated many experiences we have so many more seeds.  

A perfect post.

ExtremelyAvg
ExtremelyAvg moderator like.author.displayName 1 Like

 @Juliabarrett I've met people on Twitter, trying to make it as indie authors, who say they don't like to read. I always go and check out their writing and I've yet to find one that rises to the level of dreadful. I'm not sure what word describes worse than dreadful, but all of them are securely cornering that market.

Juliabarrett
Juliabarrett like.author.displayName 1 Like

 @ExtremelyAvg Equally troubling are reviewers and book bloggers who read in a single genre only.  I can't imagine how you can review any book of substance without some.... history.

bdorman264
bdorman264 like.author.displayName 1 Like

I'll take a dirty martini, shaken not stirred.......:).

 

The bloom might have fallen off my rose already, but I know I still have some game left in me. What was Colonel Sander's age when Kentucky Fried Chicken was finally a success? 

ExtremelyAvg
ExtremelyAvg moderator like.author.displayName 1 Like

 @bdorman264 I don't know, but Ray Croc, of McDonald's fame, was fifty-two, when he took McDonalds from a tiny operation in California to Oakbrook, Ill, and later made it into the powerful brand it is, today.

 

I looked up Col. Sanders, he was sixty-five, when he started.

rdopping
rdopping like.author.displayName 1 Like

A 36 out of 37. Well, then. I suppose I see the value in the connection with character here or at least the connection you have seemed to made. Ian Fleming, wow, I see what too many martinis will do.