Can an author be a mentor or a heroine? You bet. Claire Cook is one for me. I’ve met her three times, and each left a lasting impression. I love her tag line: “Write. Reinvent. Share.”
I spoke with her for the first time at the Decatur Book Festival. I let her know that although I wanted to attend her lecture, it was full. I bought one of her hardcover books from an independent book store owner, The Wildwater Walking Club and had it signed. I spoke with her husband, who travels with her, sells books at conferences, and serves as her manager. I told my husband, Mike, about the role so that he could also reinvent himself. “Yes,” was his immediate reply.
At the Friends of the Gwinnett County Library seminar series, she spoke on a panel that included another local Atlanta author, Wendy Wax. I learned that Claire wrote her first novel at forty-five, out of her minivan at her daughter’s swim practices. A few years later, she walked Hollywood’s red carpet for the movie version of her book, Must Love Dogs. Of course, I must always buy a book after a lecture, especially because it benefited the library and I wanted to read more of her work. The Must Love Dogs book was sold out, and I purchased Life’s a Beach – a fine summer read. Of course, I bought Wendy Wax’s book, While We Were Watching Downton Abbey, too.
Our third, and hopefully not our last encounter was at the Atlanta Writers Club where she was a guest speaker. Her main theme was reinvention and personal growth. I’m into that. In fact, it’s one of the main premises of my upcoming novel. Her first nonfiction book is Never Too Late: Your Roadmap to Reinvention. It provides encouragement – especially for me and several of my friends and colleagues who’ve chosen to invent, and then reinvent, our lives and careers.
I learned about her marketing techniques and how she chose to get the rights back from her first novels so that she could publish her own books (fourteen and counting.) I tried to capture everything in my notes – sparks were flying from my pen! She inspired me to create my own WordPress website (although in hindsight I’d rather pay someone to help me) and to start a social-media platform specifically for my writing. She has motivated me to craft my tag line: “Inquire. Create. Inspire.”
I hope you’ll get a chance to read Claire’s books or listen to a reinvention lecture. I bet you’ll be inspired to discover another part of yourself and conceive a new avocation or vocation. Go for it. Never look back. And when you reinvent yourself, share it. It'll do us all a world of good.