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.