I know this as well because of the several "senior citizens" (some in their 70's, one in her 80's) who have taken my creative writing course. They have a lifetime's experience to draw on and now in retirement, the time to really concentrate on developing their skills.
I was very moved, therefore, this week to read about 93-year old Lorna Page who has just had her debut novel published. A Dangerous Weakness is a "feminist thriller" and apparently quite raunchy.
What does seem fishy is the rest of the story. We're told that the money from the huge advance has allowed her to buy a big country house and she plans to invite her friends from the care home to move in with her.
But as Victoria Strauss points out on the Writers Beware Blog, this really doesn't make sense as her publisher, Author House, is a self-publishing company - one that charges authors a fee! Strauss points to some scarily sloppy journalism in the British press, as the original press release became distorted and the distortions got passed on. (The story also appeared in the Telegraph, and the Daily Mirror among others.)
Maybe the "ahhhhh" factor was just too great to resist? Who cares about accuracy when the cockles of our hearts are being warmed?!
But sadly, things cannot be true just because you want them to be. Page herself responds in the comments :
Glad to know some people understand what reporters can do to a perfectly average story about a grandmother who writes novels. Here are the facts; I wrote A Dangerous Weakness on the backs of envelopes and scraps of paper, and put them away in a suitcase which my daughter-in-law found about 8 months ago, and encouraged me to publish a book. It would all still be on scraps of paper if she hadn't found it. That's it. But, through it all, I think it is a good book. In fact, now I'm working on my second. The really wonderful part of my story is my son who left his home in America to come back to England to take care of me when I needed a little help.The press have a fair bit of egg to wipe from their faces. But as they say, all publicity is good publicity, and I hope all this gives the novel a boost.
We need role models like Lorna Page, don't you think?
(Pic from the Telegraph.)