Hi Mary! How long have you been writing?
Mary: I started writing for publication almost thirty years ago when I became a stay-at-home mom. At the time, I wrote non-fiction articles for take home papers and a few Christian magazines. My goal was always to write a novel, but I knew I didn’t have the time or concentration to do that until my kids were older. So when my youngest started school, I took a correspondence course to learn how to write a novel. That was about sixteen years ago.
Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?
Mary: Actually, I had no intention of writing for teens, but my critique group convinced me the story I was writing was best suited for teens rather than adults. The setting for my books is a Christian youth camp, so naturally they are about youth. Once I accepted that, it was much easier to write them, and much more fun!
What are some of the references you used while researching your book?
Mary: I grew up at a camp, so I was writing what I know. But things have changed a lot since my childhood—food preparation, cabins, interaction between counselors and campers to name just a few. I relied on my own children and their experience at camp, as well as visiting the camp where I lived to see how things have changed. For this particular book, I used the Internet to learn about triathlons, especially in the greater Chicago area. And with a blind hero, I read the amazing story of Michael May, a blind Paralympic skier.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Mary: Aside from figuring out how a blind person would manage at a camp, I’d have to say finishing the story and sending it to my editor was the most enjoyable part. This book was very difficult to write, because I’d planned to have my blind hero return for his last summer at camp after having a corneal transplant so he could see. But after reading about Mike May, I realized that idea wouldn’t work. There’d be too many adjustments he’d have to make and I was afraid it would take over the story. So in just 3 months, I had to come up with a whole new story idea and write the book. I’m a slow, thoughtful writer so this was painful. And I didn’t know the ending until the day before I wrote it. Pushing that Send button was exhilarating!
What do your plans for future projects include?
Mary: Now that I’ve finished the Rustic Knoll Bible Camp series, I’m graduating to adult fiction and working on a mystery/suspense story. My current WIP, as yet untitled, stars an elderly former teacher whose student disappeared on a field trip years ago and was never found. After thirty years, the teacher stumbles onto a clue that solves the disappearance, but before the evidence can get to the proper authority, she’s forced into hiding in an out-of-state personal care home until she can figure out who’s trying to silence her.
Thanks for taking time to speak with us, Mary!
Steven Miller guards a dark secret. Dad drilled into Steven that blindness should never be used as an excuse. So when Steven finds an old triathlon medallion among Dad’s belongings, he’s inspired to follow in his footsteps. Maybe it’ll quiet the guilt he’s carried since Dad’s death three years ago. While Steven continues his triathlon training during his final summer at camp, a serious illness keeps Rustic Knoll’s beloved Nurse Willie from managing her clinic. When Steven teams up with his friend Claire to encourage Willie’s recovery, his feelings for Claire grow beyond friendship. But his buddy, Dillon, has started down a dangerous path that Steven knows all too well. Can he keep his friend from falling into that sin without exposing his own past?
Christian fiction for Middle Grade / Young Adults.
Award-winning author Mary L. Hamilton grew up at a youth camp in southern Wisconsin, much like the setting for her Rustic Knoll Bible Camp series. Her experiences during twenty years of living at the camp, as well as people she knew there, inspired many of the events and situations in her novels.
Besides writing, Mary enjoys knitting, reading and being outdoors. Mary and her husband make their home in Texas.
Connect with Mary:
Book link: See No Evil http://amzn.to/2a4jeD6
(Each book in the series can be read as a stand-alone, but reading them in order will give you a better understanding of the relationships between characters.)