Claire Cook's "Summer Blowout"

She started writing at 45 and became a best-selling author by 50. Now Claire Cook is back with a new book — and a full arsenal of beauty tips

By Wendy Rodewald
Claire Cook (Photo: Diane Dillon)
I’m getting letters already from people saying, "I got the best makeup advice from you!" That just cracks me up because I never thought I’d give makeup advice.To me, the family part was probably the most compelling part of the book, because I think nobody loves us more than our families and yet nobody can box us in like our families. I’m one of eight myself, so I know the whole Speaking of families, your writing has earned you a huge number of devoted fans. What’s it like to be so popular? CC: I dedicated this book to my readers because I feel such amazing support, and I very much feel like we’re all in this together. I try to give to them by sharing everything I can about how to become a writer and how to attack that dream. And in return, readers are buzzing my books all over the place. A character in one of my books says, "Karma is a boomerang," and I think it’s so true. I never take my readers for granted — I answer every e-mail that comes in, I try to give back as much as I can and to share everything I know. Does working with aspiring writers affect the way you think about your own writing? CC: It’s made me realize how little I know! There’s no one way to do anything; there are a gazillion ways to do it. It’s important to trust yourself and to trust who you are, but also to reach out. I’m so lucky that I have this great support system around me, but in the beginning you really do have to cobble that together, and I think that’s a place where a lot of aspiring writers struggle. Summer Blowout is your fifth novel. Does each book get any easier to write? Do you have a system down at this point? CC: The only way that it gets easier is that you know you’ve lived through it before! I’ve learned how to get really disciplined — I actually schedule my days on a calendar so I get it done, because it’s just so easy to cheat. So I’ve learned that piece of it, but I don’t think it’s possible for it to be really easy. Everybody makes this analogy, but it’s like childbirth: It’s a tough thing to go through, but boy does it feel good when you get that book out! The hard things are the good things in life. Can you tell us anything about your next novel? CC: The next one, I can say, is about women and walking. But I’m the worst person to say what my novels are about. I know they’re always about the characters, and hopefully they’ll bring people a few What’s the best part about your job? CC: I think it’s the best job in the world. Every day I’m at that place of being really challenged, but not over my head, and that feels so great. I’m learning so much and I feel that I really am getting better all the time. And that’s my goal. I’m living my days doing just what I want to do — and how many people can say that? But I think we can all get there.Join MORE and Voice books for "Getting Better All the Time," a workshop series featuring Claire Cook and more authors. See dates and interact with fellow readers at Learn more about the series Visit Voice books online For more information on Claire Cook and Summer Blowout, visit her Web site: Originally published on, May 2008.

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