LATE BLOOMERS & DREAMS DEFERRED
by Connie Berry
Author of The Kate Hamilton Mystery Series
I remember the first time I heard the term late bloomer.
My mother and I were meeting my second-grade teacher in the new school I’d be attending that fall. I was supposed to be reading or doing puzzles when I overheard my mother use the phrase and realized she was talking about me.
I was a Late Bloomer.
Was that a good thing, I wondered?
Looking back, I’m sure my mother was expressing her regret in sending me to kindergarten at the age of four, making me the youngest by far in the classroom. The problem wasn’t academics—I did well in school, especially in reading and writing. The problem was my social and physical maturity. That’s where the late bloomer thing came in. In junior high when the other girls were developing curves and whispering about boys, I was still a child, with no curves whatsoever and more interest in riding horses and climbing trees than flirting with the opposite sex.
That changed, of course—just in time for my sophomore year in another new school. I grew up. But half a century later, I’m still a late bloomer. After having my first child at twenty-eight, earning a master’s degree at thirty-five, and starting a teaching career at forty-six, I found myself (rather surprisingly) at the age of retirement and resurrected a dream I’d deferred since childhood—writing a novel. I’ve always written stories. Re-reading them now (yes, my mother kept everything), I see that each one contained an element of mystery.
My debut mystery, A Dream of Death, was published by Crooked Lane Books on April 9, 2019. Not that I’m the oldest person ever to publish a first novel, mind you. Most mystery writers are well beyond the first flush of youth. But the truth is, I began my writing career rather late. At an age when most authors have an impressive back list, I have a single credit to my name—soon, I hasten to add, two credits. A Legacy of Murder, Book 2 in the Kate Hamilton Mystery Series, will be published in October of 2019. Book 3 is underway, and Books 4 and 5 are planned. But facts are facts. I simply can’t live long enough to produce the impressive number of volumes penned by such authors as Laurie R. King, Janet Evanovich, and Sue Grafton.
Do I wish I’d started writing sooner? Yes, often. But then I remind myself that I am a late bloomer, after all. And I choose to focus on the last word in the phrase rather than the first.
I’ve bloomed, and like the last roses of summer, the scent is very sweet.
Are you a late bloomer? Do you have a writing dream you’ve deferred?
Send me a comment. I’d love to hear from you!
On a remote Scottish island, American antiques dealer Kate Hamilton wrestles with her own past while sleuthing a brutal killing, staged to recreate a two-hundred-year-old unsolved murder.
Autumn has come and gone on Scotland’s Isle of Glenroth, and the islanders gather for the Tartan Ball, the annual end-of-tourist-season gala. Spirits are high. A recently published novel about island history has brought hordes of tourists to the small Hebridean resort community. On the guest list is American antiques dealer Kate Hamilton. Kate returns reluctantly to the island where her husband died, determined to repair her relationship with his sister, proprietor of the island’s luxe country house hotel, famous for its connection with Bonnie Prince Charlie.
Kate has hardly unpacked when the next morning a body is found, murdered in a reenactment of an infamous unsolved murder described in the novel—and the only clue to the killer’s identity lies in a curiously embellished antique casket. The Scottish police discount the historical connection, but when a much-loved local handyman is arrested, Kate teams up with a vacationing detective inspector from Suffolk, England, to unmask a killer determined to rewrite island history—and Kate’s future.
Besides writing and her family, Connie loves foreign travel, cute animals, and all things British. She has degrees in English from DePauw University and The Ohio State University. She also studied at the University of Freiburg in southern Germany and St. Clare’s College in Oxford, England. Connie is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and is on the board of her local SinC chapter, Buckeye Crime Writers.