Each year, millions of people – young and older -- look at themselves and their jobs and careers and wonder whether they should start something new. This may be especially true of people who are retired, who also may wonder if it’s not too late to do so. One individual in his 80s decided it wasn’t (too late) and reinvented himself.
After a fulfilling career in the insurance industry and numerous retirement activities, Oakland resident Richard Wren decided to live another dream while in his early 80s: becoming a published novelist and an inventor.
His first effort, the mystery novel CASEY’S SLIP, was published in 2011 and took him three years to produce, during which he started his own publishing company. What he learned along the path to the first book allowed him to finish his second, JOSHUA’S REVENGE, in a matter of months and have it published in mid-2012, while working on the third. That third book, a sequel to Joshua’s Revenge entitled Justice for Joshua, came out in his 88th year (2014), soon after he moved to Lafayette, CA.
CASEY’S SLIP received national recognition from the 2014 National Indie Excellence Awards, taking second place in the Action/Adventure category, and receiving a Finalist Award.
At a spry and energetic 89, he’s currently working on a sequel to Casey’s Slip, and is working with a screenwriter to market a screenplay based on that first novel.
“I’ve always been a story teller since my four daughters were small children,” said Richard. “Every night I’d challenge them to give me a word and I’d make up a story. Example: They give me ‘Hamburger,’ and I make up a story about a hamburger that dreamed of becoming a New York steak. I still use that technique. My stories are designed for pure entertainment. I do not have a whole story in mind when I start. I let the story develop itself, just as life does. “
As with many other fiction writers, he draws from his own personal experiences, people he’s met and places he knows. At age 89, he’s had a long life to draw from for his stories. “People should look back on their lives and think about whether they have stories to tell, fictional or otherwise,” he said. “And they should know that it’s not hard to get a book from that, and get it published.”
In the midst of fiction writing, he decided to share what he learned with other budding novelists, a common-sense approach to finishing and publishing a novel, and publish that as a booklet and ebook.
A Practical Guide to Writing & Publishing a Novel: The Keep It Simple and Successful (K.I.S.S.) Way truly is a powerhouse – short and succinct, common sense advice, resources and action points all packed in less than 30 pages. Unlike the majority of other “how to write a novel” books which often focus on plot, character and dialog, it’s about getting the writing done, getting past any hold-ups and blocks, and getting it into book form. Most would-be novelists have a story to tell, but often don’t know how to get it together enough to actually write, let alone publish, the novel. But it’s also relevant for non-fiction writers, and a non-fiction specific version will be out soon.
Wren has truly reinvented himself, and his excitement for his new career as an author shows in the enthusiasm he presents while discussing his books, what he learned in publishing them, and even in his desire to spread the word about his works. He is active in promoting his work and his simple plan for publishing. But he’s not merely satisfied with doing just the one thing (writing): he’s also an inventor, and having lots of fun with that as well.
Richard Wren has much to say to people considering taking on something new, especially to our growing senior population. Using one’s mind is the best way to defeat the telling affects of inactivity, and writing is one of the easiest ways to do that. Reinventing oneself as a writer, whether writing fiction or nonfiction, is an easy path for seniors with decades of life experience. Too many have let the obstacle of getting published stand in their way.
“But if you reinvent yourself thinking of yourself as both writer and publisher, the obstacles go away,” said Richard. “Today, there are so many ways to publish easily on your own, and for almost no money.”
With a twinkle in his eye, and a smile, he added “And it’s lots of fun!”
Richard L. Wren’s books are available from Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com, both in print and as Kindle ebooks, and also available in bookstores throughout the US.
He is available for interviews about how he reinvented himself (and advice for others), about getting a book done and published, and about his novels.
Richard L. Wren
IN HIS NEW CAREER AS AN AUTHOR, RICHARD DESCRIBES HIMSELF AS TALL, DARK, HANDSOME AND A LIAR. A FOURTH GENERATION CALIFORNIAN, A SAILOR, FATHER OF FOUR BEAUTIFUL AND SUPPORTIVE DAUGHTERS, AND HUSBAND TO ONE OF THE BEST WIVES OF ALL TIME. [MORE]