A Few Fair Warnings for First-Time Writers

MAMA ROSE'S TURN by Carolyn Quinn

MAMA ROSE’S TURN by Carolyn Quinn

I have had a fabulous time researching Rose Thompson Hovick for the biography I’ve written of her, MAMA ROSE’S TURN: The True Story of America’s Most Notorious Stage Mother.  It has been a fun ride all the way through.  I loved the whole process of finding and fact-checking Rose’s information and then getting the chance to accurately report it.  So many rumors abound “out there” about Rose – Gypsy Rose Lee’s mother of Broadway musical GYPSY fame  – that it was great to find out the real story and set a lot of the record straight.

There were, however, a few rather unusual situations that arose with the publication of the book.

One is dealing with the attitudes of those who do not have the discipline to sit down and write a book – but wish they did. Simply put, these people are jealous of the book, since they cannot sit still long enough to write one, and they can be impossible. You already know what to do there, when you write yours, folks! That kind of misdirected negativity serves no purpose. Those are the ones to be purged right off the Friends List. Sayonara!

Another situation came up involving my book’s Acknowledgements – if you can believe this. Please fasten your seatbelt first.

Over a hundred people helped me by providing information for this book. They came from twelve different localities or had various specialties, so how did I list my Acknowledgements? By Location or Specialty, how else?  Unfortunately this has created a mild uproar.  I’ve got one individual making noises over the order of the placement of his particular specialty, if you can believe it.  Another one has not squawked (yet) but I’m waiting for it.  That one isn’t going to be happy to see that he’s in the same group as his nemesis.  I got along with the nemesis better than I did with him, so where the Acknowledgments are concerned, all are included, whether This One likes That One or not, and hail, hail, the gang’s all there!

The next time I write a book, the listings in the Acknowledgements section shall be done the old-fashioned way: in alphabetical order by surname. If anyone doesn’t like their placement on said list, guess what? Then they can feel free to change their last name to Aaronson or Abrams! Want to be first?  Fabulous!  That’s possible!  Go change your name!

On a lighter note, there is the “helpful” action that’s coming to me from the other side of the fence, from those who love it that I’ve written a book. They love it so much that they have “decided” they know exactly what my next book should be about! Whoa, boy! This can become hilarious. I have never, in all my life, heard of more outrageously mindless situations as some of the ones that friends firmly believe might comprise my next book. No, dears! I’m sorry, but no. I don’t think that your local college coach with the stereotypical foul mouth, the Grateful Dead’s chief groupie, or the deceased French collaborator’s relationship with her favorite Nazi (Goering, no less) would make interesting subjects for the next biography I might write, thank you just the same!

And so it goes!


4 thoughts on “A Few Fair Warnings for First-Time Writers

  1. Rex Paul Martin says:

    Having written two books now, I can agree that it is not a vocation for wimps. First of all, you must give up any fantasy that it is going to make you rich. Ha! After that, luck plays in 100% My first editor had a temper tantrum, and withdrew her her name and endorsement for the book and refused to allow it to be sold with her name on it. Yikes!! What a mess that was to get out of….Then, there is the Everest obstacle of SELLING X number of copies, single handed…. Having said all this, it does not diminish the joy and thrill of seeing your work published, no matter if most of the copies sit in your garage for years…..Rex Paul Martin, author of KIN, DECADES OF SURVIVING THE EVOLVING FAMILY DYNAMIC, and DOGS TELL THEIR STORIES.


    • They don’t diminish the joy of it! I’m having a wonderful time with this book. I just wanted to give a warning to other first-time writers that when their books get published, some crazy types may rear their silly little heads.


  2. Robert Zorn says:

    Hi Carolyn,

    Silly that someone would get so bent out of shape re acknowledgments page. Don’t let them taint your joy.

    Best Robert

    Sent from my iPhone



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