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Writers who were published after the age of 40

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feecaro

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Can a newbie post on this thread?  Hope so, because I found this topic enormously encouraging.  I spend too much time being angry at my 20-year old self (why didn't you work on your writing more?  What were you thinking going to graduate school?  If you had started down this road twenty years ago you could maybe have something published by now!  And for the love of pete, please get a real hair style.  Yeah, I'm a bit crotchety toward my 20-year old self :-)  On good days, I think --hey, I was gathering material, I was gaining much needed perspective and experience for my writing.  On bad days I think--hey, I wasted a heck of a lot of time.  But anyway, I can't turn the clock back and here I am at 40 writing and enjoying the writing and hoping one day to share my stuff with a wider audience. And I am definitely grateful for this fantastic community of writers for children.  I've got a long way to go and it helps to learn that publication can happen at ANY age.  Thanks to all for the message and the chance to read about so many success stories at 40 and 50 and 60+!

Carolyn
#151 - March 24, 2011, 08:46 PM

Saul Tanpepper

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Er, 45?
Actually, my first story came when I was 14 (local printer, print run of <100), but then I suffered a 31-year drought.
#152 - March 24, 2011, 08:52 PM

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Welcome, Carolyn!

I think everyone has an age at which their writing suddenly becomes "live." I have written all my life, but when I was 30, something different happened with my stories. Maybe I wasn't ready for publication yet, maybe I had a lot to learn and a long way to go (er, I'm still going)--but I felt a little switch flip in my head and from then on, the things I wrote took on their own life. Hard to explain. But if I hadn't done all the reading and writing and had all the experiences I had to that point, it wouldn't have happened. I don't think anyone needs to feel bad about starting earlier or later. A lot goes into writing, not just...yanno, the writing.

Um, but I really, really hope I sell something before I'm 80 as well! Maybe I can get into the Blueboard nursing home and we can have a crit group meeting while everyone else is playing bingo... :)
#153 - March 24, 2011, 08:57 PM

Er, 45?
Actually, my first story came when I was 14 (local printer, print run of <100), but then I suffered a 31-year drought.
You beat me, Saul.  My first batch of stories were printed locally back in 1991.  They were appalling but some of the children enjoyed them when I read them in the village library.  I only have one withering copy of the first print story left. 
Truly appalling. :gaah
#154 - March 25, 2011, 04:29 AM

sunny

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I think the older we get the smarter we get.  At least that is what I keep telling myself. :lol2 Getting first pair of bifocals.  :groan  I am in my early 40's and I am just starting out working on my first story.     
#155 - March 25, 2011, 03:55 PM

I was forty when my first book came out.

Richard Adams was 52 when his first book, Watership Down, came out. Wilson Rawls was 48 when his first book, Where the Red Fern Grows, came out. Robert C. O'Brien was 50 when his first book, The Silver Crown came out. Three of my favorite books.
#156 - March 25, 2011, 04:07 PM

feecaro

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If I knew that Richard Adams was 52 when he published Watership Down I'd forgotten it-- thanks for that example, Kurtis.  (I LOVE Watership Down.)  And thanks for the welcome, Olmue!  I'm very glad to know that there are children's writers of all ages here...
#157 - March 25, 2011, 07:02 PM

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Me too, Stephanie. :)
#158 - March 29, 2011, 05:30 PM
Making metaphors out of molehills for over thirty years.

Saw a few grey more hairs emerging after I dried my mop this morning.  Looks  like I will have a full mop by the time I am even half-way to getting my story in the door of a publisher. :groan
#159 - April 01, 2011, 07:52 AM

For writers and artists of all ages...enjoy!

The Restaurant


A group of 40 year old girlfriends discussed where they should meet for lunch.

Finally it was agreed upon that they should meet at the Ocean View
restaurant because the waiters there had tight pants and nice buns.

10 years later at 50 years of age, the group once again discussed where they
should meet for lunch. Finally it was agreed that they should meet at
the Ocean View restaurant because the food there was very good and the wine
selection was good also.

10 years later at 60 years of age, the group once again discussed where
they should meet for lunch. Finally it was agreed that they should meet at
the Ocean View restaurant because they could eat there in peace and quiet
and the restaurant had a beautiful view of the ocean.


10 years later, at 70 years of age, the group once again discussed where
they should meet for lunch. Finally it was agreed that they should
meet at the Ocean View restaurant because the restaurant was wheel chair
accessible and they even had an elevator.


10 years later, at 80 years of age, the group once again discussed where
they should meet for lunch. Finally it was agreed that they should
meet at the Ocean View restaurant because they had never been there before.




#160 - April 01, 2011, 08:11 AM
What's for pudding, Mimmy?

Illustration website:

http://www.puddintanesbrain.com

www.puddersputter.blogspot.com

 :uhuh
My Gran's 88 in two months time.  There's no way she'd be caught going to the same restaurant four decades in a row.  Besides, she was in Argentina at a rugby match last  November.
The closest I got to that was a soccer match in Milan!
#161 - April 01, 2011, 08:19 AM

Thread revival! Because at my age, 2011 was just yesterday. I've been thinking about this topic as I begin to work on promotions for the fall release of my debut YA (IN REAL LIFE, Tuttle). I began writing for young readers when my second son was in middle school. I bet that there are quite a few MG and YA writers who got started when their children were of age. But with all the normal hurdles and delays (you know, like writing), I'll be 60+ when the book appears, while my son is a senior in college.

I'd like to hear from any other older writers about any special concerns or accommodations (other than where to park your walker when doing readings). When I was 30 I did hundreds of school assemblies as part of my job (grade school to high school) and think being relatively young was a big advantage. Any input on handling school and store events? I'm definitely not using an author pic on the dustcover!

P.S. I recently read an agent advise older writers to keep age on the QT since your career and earning prospects are definitely lower than a younger writer. However, in a world of Google, it's pretty tough to hide. 
#162 - May 02, 2014, 07:12 PM
In Real Life, Tuttle Publishing, Fall 2014

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Congrats, LTMadison on your debut YA! And may you have a 100 + more books.
How exciting.


I wonder why the agent you mentioned said earning prospects are lower than younger writers. That's strange.
#163 - May 04, 2014, 04:28 AM
Ten Sheep to Sleep - Now on Amazon

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It's called age discrimination, Nidhi. And yes, it exists.
#164 - May 04, 2014, 07:55 AM
www.ellenjackson.net
PICKY EATERS
OCTOPUSES ONE TO TEN
THE MYSTERIOUS UNIVERSE
THE BALLAD OF BOOSTER BOGG
BEASTLY BABIES
TOOLING AROUND

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Nidhi-
Also, I think, because you won't have as long a career ahead of you as a twenty-plus or thirty year old. If an agent takes on a thirty year old, they will provide years of books, while the sixty year old might possible be plagued with illness, and other things that cuts into their career.
I applied for the Karen Cushman Grant this year, so that will give you an idea (just an idea) of my age. Also, I think young readers might, I repeat MIGHT, be put off reading a novel by someone so old. Hence the lack of desire for a author photo.
It is age discrimination, Betsy. It kinda sucks!
#165 - May 04, 2014, 08:18 AM

 :old Hmmph. Young writers may also have life events that decrease their writing output, including stressful day jobs, marriage, relocation, having kids, dealing with the kids' needs, dealing with parents' needs, etc. Older writers often have more time to write, especially after retiring from a day job, and can bring a balanced perspective and ability to prioritize. We should emulate Phyllis A. Whitney, who lived to age 104 and published a book when she was 94.
#166 - May 04, 2014, 08:45 AM

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It's not that we're not capable of it, Ruth. It's that many children's editors, especially the assistant editors, have just graduated and relate better to writers in their own age bracket. I think some of the older editors (and some of the thoughtful younger ones) DO enjoy working with older writers. But our culture is all about what's NEW, and SHINY, and DIFFERENT.

You and I know better, but it's a stereotype we over-40s have to overcome.

(And, by the way, I'm going zip-lining next week.)

 :chickendance

 
#167 - May 04, 2014, 09:22 AM
« Last Edit: May 04, 2014, 09:27 AM by Betsy »
www.ellenjackson.net
PICKY EATERS
OCTOPUSES ONE TO TEN
THE MYSTERIOUS UNIVERSE
THE BALLAD OF BOOSTER BOGG
BEASTLY BABIES
TOOLING AROUND

Awesome, Betsy--way to blast through the stereotypes.
#168 - May 04, 2014, 01:00 PM

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I'm 43. I have a few work-for-hire books sold and hopefully soon to appear. My first such came out in 2007, so I was around 37. I still haven't published a book that came from my own initial concepts though. I feel like I've been in limbo for six years trying to break that barrier. I'm published, but I have no book to sell since the works mentioned aren't available in the US.

The chronological age thing is irrelevant - after all, no one is looking at your picture while they're looking at your manuscript. Of course, that's easy for me to say. I've had grey hairs since I was seventeen, and I watched Matlock back then too. 
#169 - May 05, 2014, 11:53 AM
Website: http://www.debbievilardi.com/
Twitter: @dvilardi1

Jerry Spinelli wrote and submitted for fifteen years before breaking through with Maniac Magee. This always gives me consolation. (not sure whether he was forty by then.)

Another silver fox is Cervantes, who published his first novel, Don Quixote, when he was fifty-seven.

And then there's me, the Artful Codger, still plugging away.

Best,
Gatz
#170 - May 15, 2015, 10:42 AM
SurfYourOwnMind.com, children's creativity blog currently in development.

I love this thread as it gives me something to think about at 25.

Also, congratulations! Any time to be published is excellent.
#171 - May 16, 2015, 05:56 PM
You can find my stuff at: uggc://plorephyg.bet/~fnenu/oybt.ugzy

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I'm surprised I never posted this story on this thread.

James Houston, about whom I wrote a profile for enRoute magazine, was a Canadian author/illustrator. He was an artist first (among several other interesting things). He never wrote a word in his life until he was 44. His first book was a picture book, Tikta'liktak, which won several awards. Houston wrote about fifty books altogether, including some MG novels, some NF and some novels for adults; and was the only triple winner of the Canadian Library Association's  Book of the Year for Children award (the equivalent of the Newbery). He died at age 85.

article about James Houston:
http://boreal-owl.livejournal.com/83300.html

#172 - May 16, 2015, 09:16 PM
« Last Edit: May 17, 2015, 10:31 AM by Barbara Etlin »
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Such a fun thread, Mike. Thanks! I'm 43, have some work-for-hire things published, but still waiting for the other. Have u heard of in Korea that you can be 1-2 yrs older than the traditional American age? So here, I'm considered 44-45, depending on what part of the year we're in. (You're 1 when in the womb. And at Lunar New Year, everyone turn's a year older) UGH. I hate thinking I'm 2 yrs older than I actually am!

and congrats on the new baby on the way!    :grin3
#173 - May 17, 2015, 01:16 AM
Seasons of the Asian Pear Tree, Schoolwide Fall 2015
Girls Guide to Manners, Legacy Press Kids 2014
God Is So Good coloring book, Warner Press 2013

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At the recent Cape Author Fest in Maine, I was thrilled to have my table two down from the very spry Ashley Bryan, who is an award winning illustrator and author. He wasn't published until he was 40 and he's still going strong at almost 92. Look him up and be inspired!
#174 - May 17, 2015, 06:09 AM
ROLLER BOY (Fitzroy Books, 2018)
AMY'S CHOICE (Luminis Books, 2014)
CALL ME AMY (Luminis Books, 2013)
www.marciastrykowski.com
Twitter: @MarciaStry

I joined SCBWI and started taking writing seriously when I was about 34. When my first book comes out next summer, I'll be 43.
#175 - May 17, 2015, 07:07 AM
NED THE KNITTING PIRATE, GRIMELDA series,
CITY SHAPES, DORIS THE BOOKASAURUS, ONE SNOWY DAY, PIZZA PIG, and more...
http://www.dianamurray.com

Ironically, our national SCBWI rep (can never remember the correct term) was 50 this weekend. And looking good. I think she was around forty when she was published.
#176 - May 17, 2015, 07:20 AM

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I was glad to see the Karen Cushman award (did I spell that right?) offered by SCBWI. Unfortunately, I've already published and don't qualify.

I thought of this thread when I wrote this as part of a Facebook update this morning. I

I'm an advanced late bloomer. I'm the Christmas cactus you've been emotionally attached to, but since for all looks and appearances -- it's dead -- you decide to toss it -- and then it suddenly sprouts a bud.
#177 - May 18, 2015, 03:45 PM
Making metaphors out of molehills for over thirty years.

My dad debuted at 72. I'm 50 and as yet unpublished, and I do worry that this is something I should have pursued years ago--that somehow the time when I might have published has already passed me by. Thanks for the thread.
#178 - May 18, 2015, 07:25 PM

Lill, I think this is special--

"I'm an advanced late bloomer. I'm the Christmas cactus you've been emotionally attached to, but since for all looks and appearances -- it's dead -- you decide to toss it -- and then it suddenly sprouts a bud."

Very nice.

Gatz
#179 - May 18, 2015, 08:17 PM
SurfYourOwnMind.com, children's creativity blog currently in development.

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David Seidler was 73* when he wrote his first screenplay, "The King's Speech." It won the Academy Award. In his speech he said that he was the oldest first-time winner and hoped to start a trend of late-bloomers.

*He had to wait 30 years before he had royal permission (after the Queen Mother died) to write about George VI.
#180 - May 19, 2015, 05:02 AM
« Last Edit: May 19, 2015, 05:04 AM by Barbara Etlin »
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