As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
On The Table Read Magazine, “the best creativity magazine in the UK“, author Kris Rogers shares the experiences that led to publishing her first novel, The Right To Be Forgotten, in her 60s.
Written by Kris Rogers
I’ve always written stories for my own amusement, a bit like a hobby really. I wrote my first full length novel in my early thirties and I had a goal to achieve publication by the time I was forty.
It never happened.
A Need To Write
My first novel was cringingly bad and, on reflection, didn’t deserve to be published anyway. But it sparked off a need in me to continue writing novels, even if no one else ever read them. It was something inside of me that needed to be released.
Then fifty came and went and by this time I had accumulated a portfolio of unpublished novels, hiding away in the depths of my laptop. I had a busy career and family life but still, there was this little space inside me that could only be filled by writing stories. I had lots of ideas but no one seemed interested in reading them. Then I read that the average age for a debut author is 36 and that 40 was considered to be at the older end of the scale.
Too Old To Be Published?
Perhaps the window of opportunity was in the past for me at 50?
So, I stopped writing for a few years. To begin with it was a relief. That little gremlin stopped sitting on my shoulder, niggling away at me to make more time for my writing. The guilt went away that I wasn’t focussing enough on my little hobby. Maybe I wasn’t supposed to be writer and I had to accept that maybe what I was writing wasn’t good enough to be published. Maybe that was all there was to it.
But as time went on, I found that I missed it so much I just had to start writing again. What did it matter if no one read my work? I could still write for my own enjoyment and mental well- being even if it never left my laptop. What’s wrong with that?
Writing For The Love Of It
The answer is that there is nothing at all wrong with that. In fact, if that’s what floats your boat then go for it. Not everyone can be published but that doesn’t mean that writing is not a worthwhile way of spending your time. You don’t need to be published to validate your own writing time either. Nobody thinks that you have to play professional football to enjoy football so why should writers feel that they must be published to enjoy writing or that you have to be published in order to call yourself an author. If you have written a novel, that is an achievement in itself and you can call yourself an author.
Since deciding to take up writing again, I have written thousands of words leading to three completed, but unpublished, novels and more than five half- finished novels. I find that I write better if I set myself deadlines, otherwise I can become distracted by real life. And, as they say, practice makes perfect. The more you write and hone your craft, the better you become as a writer. If I have a period of free time, I like to write in the morning otherwise I write at night but if the writing is flowing, I can write for hours without a break. If the writing isn’t flowing though, I really struggle to keep going for an hour and will probably delete everything I wrote the next day as it’s usually just page filler. But that’s ok too.
Right To Be Forgotten
Three years ago I completed yet another novel. It was inspired by something I’d seen driving home from work one day. There was a young couple stopped at the side of the road by their car and they were in a heated argument. Even though I couldn’t hear them, you could tell that they were really going at each other, their faces were scrunched up and red and their body language was so tense. As I drove passed, I wondered what could have caused such a public argument and I also wondered at what point would a passer-by get involved if it kept going, if anyone ever would. And that’s the question my debut novel answers. When would you get involved?
As I re-read the finished manuscript before starting the editing process, I had a feeling that this might just be the one that was good enough to submit for publication. I gave it to a friend to read and she really enjoyed it; she also gave me some good feedback. So I bit the bullet and started the, at times painful, process of submitting again. As usual, I received many rejections. It’s easy to take them to heart but if you want to be published you have to learn to let them wash over you and take on any constructive feedback if it’s offered. I’ve learnt that rejections are often not personal and more about what works for the agent or publisher than the story submitted.
Published In May 2022
Then one day in February 2020, I had an email from an indie publisher I’d submitted to a couple of months before, Cassandra Davis at Cahill Davis Publishing. I was expecting yet another rejection but instead the email said that she had really enjoyed reading my manuscript and she would like to offer me a contract. I thought that it might be a mistake but it wasn’t, it was a genuine offer for MY manuscript. I was 60 and I’d finally achieved my dream. All that time and effort I’d put in to writing over the years and finally it was paying off. My first published novel The Right to be Forgotten, a psychological thriller involving a kidnapping and coercive control, was released in May 2022.
The good thing about being an author is that age is no barrier. Unlike football you don’t have to be at the peak of fitness to carry on writing. After all, Mary Wesley was 70 when she had her first novel published and she continued writing for another 20 years. So maybe 60 is the new 40 for me and maybe I’ve got decades of a writing career ahead of me!
Find more from Kris Rogers now:
Author profile – https://www.cahilldavispublishing.co.uk/authors/krisrogers
Publisher social media – www.twitter.com/publishingdavis
We strive to keep The Table Read free for both our readers and our contributors. If you have enjoyed our work, please consider donating to help keep The Table Read going!
Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc, or its affiliates.