I’ve begun noticing articles written about debut novelists over 50 and they are inspiring to me.
How many awards are given to those under 50 and in particular age categories? I have yet to see one titled “Best Debut Novelist Over 60.” This is not to say we shouldn’t be celebrating the brightest and best, the young and the witty. To have a commitment to one’s craft and publish a novel is an accomplishment at any age, especially when one is young.
But, having lived almost a full lifetime and just now written a debut novel is even more sweet. If a novel has been in your head for forty or more years, it is past time to get it on paper.
I am awed by the young who accomplish so much while rearing young families and holding down full-time jobs. I could not. I was a single parent for many years and the free time (laughable) I had was dedicated to being both mother and father to three young children. The rest of my time was spent having more than one job or completing a graduate degree. I did not believe my story would ever be told, unless it was a shortened version in a magazine.
Flash forward forty years. My husband, two dogs and I left the state where I lived for 62 years and moved to a remote ranch in Texas for retirement. With my husband’s new job of clearing land, conserving the water sources, and caring for many acres, I found myself volunteering for non-profits, but feeling the need for a “real” job. I had worked since I was 18 and enjoyed the structure and satisfaction of those dedicated days. Holidays were not as special because every day in retirement is a holiday. My time dragged.
I was cleaning out a desk drawer when I found a folder of chapters I wrote in a class at the college where I was the public relations director twenty years before. As employees of the college, we were allowed to take some courses tuition-free. Back then, I had begun fleshing out the stories in my head.
Finding the treasure trove of stories re-ignited my passion for what would be the beginning to my debut novel. Little did I know the time and dedication to craft it would take.
I joined the Writer’s League of Texas and signed up for every class, writer’s retreat, and annual conference they offered. I took online courses and joined writers’ groups. I purchased dozens of “self-help” books by accomplished writers.
Then, too soon, I began the arduous process of trying to find an agent. After many rejections, I realized I still had work to do. The editing process began. I became hooked on the comments and revisions requested by editors and the manuscript was edited by a handful of professionals who offered entirely different advice from the ones who edited before. My head spun, but I revised, and revised, and revised.
Finally, I had a manuscript worth selling.
Then, came the realization, that at my age, I did not have the benefit of time to find an agent and pursue traditional publishing. From the many classes I took, I knew that it takes a minimum of two years to publish after an agent has been hired. And, that is the minimum.
I considered self-publishing and took enough courses about the method that I could easily have done so. But, I felt I would like to have a partner in the process.
Then, on a writer’s retreat in Arkansas, I met a woman who is an author herself. She and her husband have written more than 50 books and she began a small woman-owned imprint to print her own books and a few for clients. I asked her to consider my novel as her next client-published book and she agreed.
My debut novel will be published on August 3, 2021 and I could not be happier. Now begins marketing and public relations for the book. Because that was my career for many years, I feel confident in promotion. However, when I was in public relations, we were sending out faxes and hard copy press releases. The digital world and social media are a whole new ballgame. Another stepping stone for mature novelists, but one I am glad to learn.
All in all, I have discovered a new career and a way to make retirement more enjoyable. Don’t tell my husband, but it keeps me from ranch work, too.
So, all of you who have a novel inside you that needs to find an audience, it’s never too late. Mature authors have the gift of a lifetime of experiences from which to draw and that makes our work richer, sweeter, and with the wisdom of hindsight.
Publication Date: August 3, 2021
1965. Sandy runs away from home to escape her mother’s abusive boyfriend. Becca falls in love with the wrong man. And Faith suffers a devastating attack. With no support and no other options, these three young, unwed women meet at a maternity home hospital in New Orleans where they are expected to relinquish their babies and return home as if nothing transpired.
But such a life-altering event can never be forgotten, and no secret remains buried forever. Twenty-five years later, the women are reunited by a blackmailer, who threatens to expose their secrets and destroy the lives they’ve built. That shattering revelation would shake their very foundations—and reverberate all the way to the White House.
Told from the three women’s perspectives, this mesmerizing story is based on actual experiences of women in the 1960s who found themselves pregnant but unmarried, pressured by family and society to make horrific decisions. How that inconceivable act changed women forever is the story of No Names to Be Given, a heartbreaking but uplifting novel of family and redemption.
“I found myself thinking about Becca, Sandy, and Faith frequently as I went about my day-I was always excited to sit down and find out what happened next.”-Sarah Welch, author of Austin Brown Dogs: The Shelter Dogs Who Rescue Us
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Julia Brewer Daily is a Texan with a southern accent. She has a B.S. in English and a M.S. degree in Education from the University of Southern Mississippi.
She has been an educator, Communications Adjunct Professor at Belhaven College, administrator, and Public Relations Director of the Mississippi Department of Education and Millsaps College, a liberal arts college in Jackson, MS. She was the founding director of the Greater Belhaven Market, a producers’ only market in a historic neighborhood in Jackson, and even shadowed Martha Stewart.
As the Executive Director of the Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi (300 artisans from 19 states) which operates the Mississippi Craft Center, she wrote their stories to introduce them to the public. She is an adopted child from a maternity home hospital in New Orleans.
She searched and found her birth mother and through a DNA test, her birth father’s family, as well. She lives on a ranch in Texas with her husband Emmerson and two Labrador Retrievers, Memphis Belle and Texas Star.
Tuesday, August 3
Review at Books, Writings, and More
Wednesday, August 4
Guest Post at Novels Alive
Thursday, August 5
Excerpt at Books, Ramblings, and Tea
Friday, August 6
Review at Amanda in PA
Monday, August 9
Interview at Passages to the Past
Tuesday, August 10
Excerpt at What Is That Book About
Wednesday, August 11
Review at The Enchanted Shelf
Thursday, August 12
Review at Novels Alive
Friday, August 13
Review at Bonnie Reads and Writes
Monday, August 16
Review at Reading is My Remedy
Tuesday, August 17
Excerpt at Coffee and Ink
Wednesday, August 18
Review at Two Bookish Babes
Friday, August 20
Review at The Cozy Book Blog
Monday, August 23
Review at Girl Who Reads