I’ve always been an avid reader and a cedar chest writer. I grew up when children weren’t encouraged to express themselves, and I didn’t. I loved to read and thought authors must be people more talented, smarter, more imaginative than I could ever be.
But I loved to write, and did. Only I stuffed it all in the cedar chest where no one would ever find it. I’d married young, had five children and a divorce by the time I was forty, so I spent most of my time trying to support us. Writing was only a vague dream.
Then several things happened and I wrote an article about my children’s time in 4H. Family Fun bought it. Bought it! They paid me. Money! Overnight I was an author.
It wasn’t quite that simple, though. The mystery novel I wrote wasn’t getting published. It was a finalist in St. Martin’s Malice Domestic contest but still didn’t get an offer. I didn’t get an agent either. So, I went back to school. UCLA had creative writing classes in their extension program. I hadn’t known such things existed, but I took every one I could get into and wrote another book.
Then I wrote a 3rd one and it got published by a great publishing house.
At 70 I was an author, in bookstores and libraries all over the country. I was asked to be on panels at conferences, speak to library events, and I had a contract for a 4th book.
That’s when I lost my leg to arterial disease and my contract for the 4th book. To say I was depressed is the understatement of the year. I had to learn to walk, to live all over again and wasn’t sure I could, or even if I wanted, to ever write another word. However, I found an agent: a wonderful woman whom I had known as an editor. She got the first two books published, found a publisher for the 4th and my 5th mystery.
Murder by Syllabub, is due out July 1st. The books are selling briskly, and I have started a new series featuring, you guessed it, a protagonist in her seventies. I’m hoping for a three book contract. As the saying goes, it ain’t over until the fat lady sings, and baby, she’s not even on stage yet. So, don’t get depressed. Get going. That fat lady? She’s not even in the wings.