Kay: It’s Never Too Late: Remembering Ida Pollock

ida_pollockFor those of us who need the occasional shot of determination, inspiration, or just plain perspiration, the life of Ida Pollock could be the spark we’re looking for.

Pollock died Dec. 3 this year at the age of 105. She was a British romance writer who sold millions of copies of her 125 books that were published primarily by Mills & Boon under her name and 10 pseudonyms. On her 105th birthday, the Romantic Novelists Association appointed her—one of its founding members in 1960—the post of honorary vice-president.

Her early life was almost more colorful than the novels she wrote. She was illegitimate. Her mother had an affair with a Russian duke, by whom she became pregnant, but she married Arthur Crowe, a widower who was a distant connection of Lord Nelson. Pollock reports in her autobiography Stardust that when she was born, the nurse who attended her birth tried to smother her with a pillow. She published her first novel when she was 14, and while still a teenager, she traveled alone through Morocco after suffering a mental breakdown.

In 1942 she married Hugh Pollock, a distinguished World War I veteran and Winston Churchill’s collaborator and editor, whom she met when she submitted a manuscript to the firm he worked for. Hugh Pollock lost his position when the publishing company refused to keep him on because it published the books of his second ex-wife. Ida wrote prolifically for multiple publishers to support the family.

That’s a pretty great biography, but here’s the killer for me: Ida Pollock was still writing and submitting when she was 105. At the time of her death she had two Regency romances out for submission. And another thing: she was also an oil painter. One of her paintings was selected for inclusion in a national exhibition in 2004, when she was 96.

So: think you’re tired? Think no one will publish you? Think you’re past your prime? Remember Ida Pollock. And then, kids, keep calm and carry on.

8 thoughts on “Kay: It’s Never Too Late: Remembering Ida Pollock

  1. Hooray for Ida Pollock! She sound like a grand old dame . . . I’m going to look for more about her.

    The math is amazing, isn’t it? 1.5 novels a year over the course of 40 years (never mind 91 years — I don’t think I can touch that record!) would be 60 novels . . . . Amazing!

  2. I love this! I was stupidly hoping I’d still be writing and loving it 25 or 30 years from now. I’m clearly not dreaming big enough 🙂

  3. Pingback: Kay: Not Dead Yet – Eight Ladies Writing

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