|Laura Ingalls Wilder, Mark Twain, JRR Tolkein, and George Eliot|
This is not to say that writers in their 20s can't have talent. They obviously do. But creating a novel demands not just talent, but discipline, and a certain amount of - how shall I put it - cynicism.
3. Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known by his pen-name, Mark Twain, published his first novel, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, when he was 41.
4. Marcel Proust didn’t publish the first volume of À la Recherche du Temps Perdu until he was 43. He paid for the publishing costs himself after the manuscript was rejected by the publishing house where Andre Gide was editor-in-chief.
6. J. R. R. Tolkien's first novel, The Hobbit, was published when he was 45 years old. For the next ten years he worked on his trilogy, Lord of the Rings, only to encounter snags with his publisher when he had finished it. Lord of the Rings was published over the years 1954 and 1955, by which time he was 63.
7. Tony Hillerman published The Blessing Way when he was 45. His agent, Ann Elmo, famously told Hillerman to "Get rid of the Indian stuff."
8. Bram Stoker published his first novel, The Snake's Pass, when he was 43. He published Dracula when he was 50.
9. Alex Haley's The Autobiography of Malcolm X was published when he was 44. Roots, his second book, came out eleven years later, when he was 55.
10. Raymond Chandler’s first novel, The Big Sleep, was published in 1939, when he was 51.
13. Daniel Defoe published his debut novel, Robinson Crusoe, at age 59.
14. Laura Ingalls Wilder published the first book in her "Little House" series, Little House in the Big Woods, in 1932, when she was 65 years old. She finished her last book when she was 76.
15. Frank McCourt's memoir, Angela's Ashes, came out when he was 66.