Over 50s Lifestyle

Midlife Matters – How to Become an Author in Midlife

August 2, 2016
How to become an author in midlife

Do you have a book inside you waiting to be written?  It is never too late to try as this week’s guest writer discovered ‘how to become an author in midlife’.

My next guest in my Midlife Matters series is author Toni Pike Toni and I went to high school together although our friendship didn’t really begin until we met at a school reunion 40 years later!

Since our renewed friendship we have learned more about each other and shared our thoughts on midlife and retirement.  Toni has fulfilled her desire to become an author in midlife and has just published her second book in The Jotham Fletcher Mystery” series with a third one in the pipeline.

I call Toni the female ‘Dan Brown’ and can’t wait to read her second book.  The first one, ‘The Magus Covenant’ held my attention from beginning to end. I’m a fan of Italy so loved that this was the setting for most of the book.

In her article, Toni gives us three tips on how you can fulfil your dream and become an author.

Toni writes…..

My life turned around five years ago. After years of being overweight and unfit, I adopted a regime of healthy eating, lost weight and now try hard not to regain it. I started walking to improve my fitness, and long walks have become an essential part of my daily routine. Since then, I have tried to live my life to the full. When I took early retirement and moved from a house to an apartment, I finally had the time and energy to pursue my long-held dream of becoming an author.

I had always loved writing but had a long history of unfinished projects. A couple of years ago, I decided to take on the challenge of writing a novel and attempted to read as much as possible about crafting fiction. The thriller genre appealed to me, with its relentless suspense and action designed to keep the reader turning the pages. I wanted to write a religious thriller, with a mystery passed down through the centuries and characters that were in thrall to their beliefs.

The thriller genre often includes a range of exotic settings. That was a bonus because I love travelling the world. Cruising, in particular, allowed me to see places that I never thought I would have the chance to visit. When my characters rush from one country to another, I am able to make use of that travel experience.

Magus Covenant COVERMy first novel, The Magus Covenant, was released last December. The hero is Jotham Fletcher, an Anglican priest who visits Rome to give a lecture and stumbles on a long-held secret. The second book in The Jotham Fletcher Mystery Thriller Series has just been released: The Rock of Magus. This time, Jotham heads to the Vatican when he suspects that trouble is brewing.

I climbed a very steep learning curve while writing my first novel and an even steeper one after publication. I took small steps into the unknown in my efforts to market it and develop an online presence. That is an essential part of life these days, and I still have much to learn. The unexpected bonus has been the chance to meet so many new people and make friends all over the world.

3 tips to get started

Writing and publishing a novel is a long, hard road but I have loved every moment. If that is a challenge you would like to try, here are my three favourite tips.

#1 Learn all you can about fiction writing

Fiction writing is a craft that needs to be mastered. Novels conform to expected conventions of storytelling and presentation, with many different aspects that need to be considered. There is a vast amount of information and advice available online that helped to improve my understanding of the different genres, the theory of story structure, the creation of characters and the finer points of dialogue.

#2 Write a detailed story outline

I write a detailed story outline that includes every scene from beginning to end. Armed with my outline, I know where I’m heading and have a sense of control as I write the first draft. It also prevents writer’s block and helps me to monitor my progress until I reach the end. I also prepare another document with details about each character, including their appearance, personality, career, motivations and challenges.

#3 Work steadily until you finish

Work steadily whenever you have the time. Every chapter that you write will bring you closer to the finishing line and there is no need to rush. When you complete the first draft, it is time for the editing process.

Read and review it yourself, make sure there are no typographical or spelling errors and then forward your work to several editors. It is amazing what they will find, and how easy it is to overlook mistakes in our own writing.

I was blessed to have two excellent editors who kindly volunteered their services. Be open to all suggestions and advice, and consider what amendments are needed. A few small changes can make an enormous difference.

I feel so lucky to have had the chance to achieve my dream in midlife. It has been thrilling to have people read and enjoy my stories.

My next goal is to write the third book in the series. That is a job I love, so it is more like fun than hard work.


The Rock of Magus is the second book in The Jotham Fletcher Mystery Thriller Series. It is subtitled: A Religious Conspiracy Thriller – Code Red in the Vatican

Rock of Magus COVER

Here is the description:

At last the Magus Covenant can be fulfilled.

Jotham Fletcher returns in another action-packed thriller that takes him to the heart of the Vatican. Cardinal Alpheus has ambitions far more sinister and explosive than anyone could imagine and the death of Pope Linus is only the beginning.

Jotham is now a billionaire, dedicated to finding the Simonian Sect that wants to destroy the Christian Church and he employs Madena, a former army officer, to help him. They rescue a televangelist in Seattle but find the photograph of a cardinal who is soon elected as the new Pope, with Alpheus as his chief advisor.

The deadly Brotherhood re-emerges with homicidal Father Dominic at the helm and the body count begins to rise as he flees to the Vatican to seek protection.

Jotham becomes the prime suspect in the murder of an archbishop in Spain and the unwitting hero after a devastating event in Rome. He has a secret that he dare not reveal and is on the run from the police once again. But nothing prepares him for the final confrontation at the Pope’s summer retreat in Castel Gandolfo.

It is available at these online stores:

Amazon: USA UK Australia Canada France Germany Italy

Smashwords Kobo and will shortly be released on Barnes & Noble.

The Magus Covenant was the first book in the series.

Here is the brief description:

A robed man falls to his death in Rome and Jotham Fletcher becomes the prime suspect. His lover Antonella, an expert on ancient documents, has a shocking secret. Rumours fly about a papyrus scroll. A ruthless Catholic Brotherhood will stop at nothing in their hunt for the Simonian Sect. And a reclusive billionaire has the chance of a lifetime to get his revenge.

It is available at these online stores:

Amazon: USA UK Australia Canada France Germany Italy

Smashwords Barnes and Noble Kobo


Meet Toni

Toni Pike Author


After graduating from the University of Sydney, Toni progressed from being a veterinary surgeon to a high school teacher and then a public servant in Canberra, the capital city of Australia.

Her husband Jon was in the Air Force and, while raising two beautiful children, they had several years living in England and America.

Toni’s main passions are family, writing and travel – in that order.



Follow Toni

I would love to hear from you. Here’s where you can find me:

My page on Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14736589.Toni_Pike

My website www.tonipike.com

Twitter @piketoni1


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  • Reply Terri Webster Schrandt August 3, 2016 at 04:28

    Thank you, Sue, for posting this motivating and encouraging article! So many bloggers have a book or two (or more!) in them! Congrats to Toni on her writing journey! Her books look fantastic!

    • Reply Toni Pike August 3, 2016 at 08:14

      Thank you so much Terri for your kind words. Writing certainly keeps me busy, but I do love it.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric August 4, 2016 at 09:27

      Hi Terri! I’m so pleased you enjoyed the article. Toni is really coming into her own and now a third book! I’ve read the first one and can’t wait to read the second. Have a great day my friend!

  • Reply Wendy August 5, 2016 at 23:19

    Congratulations on your books, Toni! What an amazing accomplishment. The idea of actually writing an entire book is huge; I can’t even imagine writing a fiction one. I do love a good story, though, so I am off to find a copy of yours! 🙂

    • Reply Toni Pike August 6, 2016 at 07:27

      Thank you so much Wendy, that would be wonderful. It’s something I love and feel drawn to do, so although it’s hard work, it doesn’t feel like it. I do hope you that you enjoy it.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric August 6, 2016 at 08:56

      I’m sure you will love Toni’s books Wendy. I couldn’t put the first one down.

  • Reply Michele August 6, 2016 at 00:57

    This is encouraging. I have followed a similar path of being unfit and getting my health act together and now trying to figure out the whole writing thing! We can and do lead fascinating and marvelous lives in midlife!

    • Reply Toni Pike August 6, 2016 at 07:30

      That is great to hear, Michele. It is amazing how improving our health and fitness gives us the energy to help pursue our dreams, and midlife gives us the time needed. Good luck with all your writing endeavours.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric August 6, 2016 at 08:59

      It is great what life has to offer if we just take it, Michele. I’m not sure I could write fiction and admire Toni so much for her achievement of not one, but two books.

  • Reply Teresa August 6, 2016 at 12:18

    It’s wonderful that you have fulfilled your dream of becoming a writer. That is a major accomplishment in itself, but you have accomplished so many other things as well. What a full life you have led!

    • Reply Toni Pike August 9, 2016 at 08:30

      Thank you so much, Teresa, but I’m sure that I haven’t had as full a life as many other people. No matter what our circumstances, we can all try to enrich our own lives. We all have dreams that are worth pursuing.

  • Reply Debbie @ Coach Debbie Runs August 7, 2016 at 02:02

    First of all, I am an avid mystery reader so I can’t wait to read Toni’s books. Thank you so much for these tips. It’s always been a secret little desire of mine to write a book, but I’ve never pushed forward. I appreciate the inspiration and information. And thanks Sue for sharing at the Blogger’s Pit Stop

    • Reply Toni Pike August 7, 2016 at 06:36

      Thank you for your lovely comments, Debbie, and so pleased to meet you. I’m glad you found the information helpful and hope you enjoy my mysteries. Good luck with that book of yours – I thinks it’s a desire that many of us have.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric August 9, 2016 at 07:29

      Yes I strongly recommend Toni’s books Debbie I couldn’t put them down. Thanks for the opportunity to link up at Blogger’s Pit Stop.

  • Reply Dr.Amrita Basu August 7, 2016 at 15:26

    That’s very inspiring to read. Any age is golden as long as we are enthusiastic. That’s my takeaway from thus post.Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric August 9, 2016 at 07:30

      Thanks for stopping by to comment and I’m pleased you enjoyed the post.

    • Reply Toni Pike August 9, 2016 at 08:27

      Thank you so much Amrita, and thank you for dropping by. I agree with you, I think life is all about being enthusiastic and living each day to the full – no matter what our age.

  • Reply Cathy Lawdanski August 8, 2016 at 03:21

    What a fascinating journey! I admire you so much for taking on this challenge of becoming a fiction author! Thanks for sharing Toni’s story, Sue!

    • Reply Toni Pike August 8, 2016 at 09:24

      Thank you so much for reading about my journey, Cathy. I think life would be very dull if we didn’t try to take on some challenges, just as you have with your wonderful blog.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric August 9, 2016 at 07:31

      thanks Cathy! Toni has really shown what you can do in midlife if you want something badly enough. x

  • Reply Donna Parker August 8, 2016 at 06:02

    Sue, thanks for having Toni as your guest blogger, first because she gave such lovely advice (thanks Toni), second, now I’m following her blog (and shared too), and third, I love mysteries so I’m going to see if I can find her books to figure out whodunit.
    Thanks Toni, pleased to virtually meet you and thanks again, Sue, never sorry when I drop over here, today from #BloggersPitStop, those amazing ladies always lead me to blogging gold. 🙂
    Hope this week ahead treats everyone kindly. 🙂

    • Reply Toni Pike August 8, 2016 at 09:16

      Thank you so much, Donna, for dropping by and I’m very pleased to meet you. I popped over to your site to follow you, and look forward to reading your blog in the future. Many thanks for sharing this article and I do hope you enjoy my stories.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric August 9, 2016 at 07:32

      Thank you for your lovely words and stopping by to comment Donna! I’m so pleased you enjoyed Toni’s story and I love mysteries as well. I’m also happy that you are following Toni now. She is preparing for her THIRD book so there might be some clues on her website! Have a great day!

  • Reply Fred August 8, 2016 at 10:56

    Congrats to Toni on getting that first book finished – sounds interesting, too! I’ve had a few unfinished projects of my own, haha, but am planning to start a new book project sometime in the (hopefully) next few months. Ultimately the best piece of advice anyone can give is to just keep writing (strangely enough, both the easiest and the hardest part of the process!)

    Great advice in this post about learning as much about writing as possible – never stop learning. I haven’t read this yet myself but I keep hearing about how great Stephen King’s book On Writing is for aspiring authors, and I’ll be reading it soon myself.

    • Reply Toni Pike August 9, 2016 at 08:25

      Thank you so much Fred. I certainly think agree with you that we need to keep writing if that is truly our passion. Good luck with your own projects. I haven’t read Stephen King’s book, but must get a copy.

  • Reply Leanne August 8, 2016 at 14:27

    Hi Sue and Toni – another great guest post and I so admire people who have a book in their head and who then take the huge leap to putting it on paper. I also love that age is not a factor in any of it – midlife just gets better!

    • Reply Toni Pike August 8, 2016 at 16:25

      Thanks, Leanne – and I’m so glad that you found it interesting. I agree with you: midlife can be a wonderful stage when we have the time and opportunity to pursue some of our dreams.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric August 9, 2016 at 07:33

      Yes Leanne we can really do anything if we have the passion!

  • Reply Kathleen - Bloggers Lifestyle August 8, 2016 at 20:05

    Hi Sue and Toni, I am happy to say that this great post is among the most clicked on the Bloggers Pit Stop. Congratulations and be looking for a FEATURE on Friday.

    The Bloggers Pit Stop

    • Reply Toni Pike August 8, 2016 at 21:42

      Hi Kathleen, That is wonderful news – thank you so much! I’ll certainly be looking for that on Friday. hugs – Toni

    • Reply Sue Loncaric August 9, 2016 at 07:37

      Oh WOW! Thanks Kathleen that is great news. Toni certainly has an inspiring story to tell about her passion for writing. Thank you for the opportunity to showcase her.

  • Reply Mackenzie Glanville August 10, 2016 at 19:38

    oh I so want to do this, yet although I wrote my book, I just can’t seem to move to the next stage. Maybe I am nervous, I don’t know. This is my dream! Thank you for inspiring me xo #overthemoon

    • Reply Toni Pike August 11, 2016 at 07:19

      Thank you, Mackenzie, and good luck with your project – but you are already achieving so much with your great blog.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric August 11, 2016 at 11:26

      Go for it Mackenzie you can do it!!! I’d love to read your book and I’m sure all authors are nervous so follow your dream and make it a reality.

  • Reply Blogger's Pit Stop #36 - The Blogger's Lifestyle August 10, 2016 at 22:43

    […] Midlife Matters – How to Become an Author in Midlife by Sue […]

  • Reply Blogger's Pit Stop Linky Party #36 | Mostly Blogging August 12, 2016 at 11:01

    […] Midlife Matters – How to Become an Author in Midlife by Sue […]

  • Reply Lori August 13, 2016 at 05:08

    Sounds like a great book! Thanks for sharing her story of becoming an author.

    • Reply Toni Pike August 13, 2016 at 07:25

      Thank you so much, Lori, and I’m glad you enjoyed it.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric August 13, 2016 at 11:42

      Thanks Lori. Toni’s first book was great a real page turner and I’m sure her second will be the same.

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