50+ and Fabulous

Kudos to commercial copywriter Bonnie Garmus for her outstanding debut novel Lessons in Chemistry, which, as I am penning this post, has been on the New York Times Bestseller List for a whopping 39 weeks! Meanwhile, Apple TV just announced plans for a series based on the book starring Brie Larson. Bonnie is a huge inspiration to me for her wonderful writing and because she was 64 years old when she first started crafting this fabulous story. She also graciously admits to having her first novel, which hasn’t seen the light of day so far, rejected 98 times.

So, to me, she represents so many things: talent, courage, commitment, creativity, perseverance, and that we can do anything we set our minds to at any age. The Rise, Fall, and Return of Sarah Mandelbaum is my debut novel, and I am 57. And honestly,  initial rejections of Sarah’s adventures were so numerous and disheartening that I stopped counting. But I kept right on going because it seemed such a shame to work so hard on something only to let it die. And just in case you think that Bonnie Garmus and I are flukes, here are a few other authors who were 50+ when they made their publishing debuts:

  • Laura Ingalls Wilder (65): Little House in the Big Woods
  • Bram Stoker (50 ): Dracula
  • Anna Sewell (57) Black Beauty
  • Karen Blixen, aka Isaac Dinesen (52): Out of Africa
  • Raymond Chandler (51) The Big Sleep
  • Frank McCourt (60): Angela’s Ashes

And here are some extremely famous authors whose first works reportedly received multiple rejections:

  • Agatha Christie
  • Stephen King
  • J.K. Rowling
  • John Le Carré
  • Louisa May Alcott

Given I am in such amazing company, I plan to keep going no matter how old I am or how many rejections I get. And I hope you will too.

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