Our interview today is with Mary L. Hamilton. Thank you for being here today Mary and for agreeing to do this interview.
Answer: I write middle grade fiction but not because I intended to. I really wanted to write for the adult market. When I started revising my first draft and got involved in a critique group, they convinced me it was a teen novel. Once I accepted that, it was much easier to write it. Since the setting is a youth camp, my qualifications are that I lived at a camp for the first twenty years of my life. I’ve also raised three kids and been involved with our church’s youth group. So I’ve been able to observe and study kids.
Question:Tell us about things you enjoy ó what you do for fun or personal satisfaction?
Answer:I love being outside and enjoying nature, watching sunrises and sunsets. Sometimes, that means just sitting out on my patio with my dog, watching the squirrels and birds. Sometimes it means going out for an early morning jog, or an evening walk. I also love to knit and enjoy making sweaters and afghans.
Question:Tell us about working with any people who help you create your books ó Do you use Beta readers? Hire an editor or proofreader? How do you get your covers?
Answer: I could not write without a group of trusted friends who provide critiques of my work. Each one brings their own expertise or point of view, and it’s so interesting to me to see what each person comments on. I also used a beta readers, a couple of teens and a couple of moms. My sister-in-law used to do editing for a publishing house so she edited my manuscript before I submitted it. As for the cover, my publisher designed it and I think it’s perfect.
Question:Tell us about your newest book. Make us want to read it.
Answer: My newest book, Hear No Evil, is about a young teen who struggles to understand his mother’s abandonment until he discovers it was for his own protection. Brady’s mom drops him off at summer camp with the news he can’t come home. She no longer wants him living with her. The pain from that rejection only deepens when the camp bully targets Brady with cruel taunts and teasing. Brady must figure out what he did wrong and how to change Mom’s mind before the end of the week, or he’ll be living with his workaholic dad, the guy who left when he was seven. But when Brady discovers his mom might be in danger, he risks everything to get home to help her. A surprising secret is revealed and Brady discovers he was never as alone as he thought.
Answer: My books deal with some of the issues teens face today, so my message is hope and understanding. I want kids to come away from my books realizing that God cares what they’re dealing with, that He is a constant presence even when they don’t feel it, and that He can provide a new perspective, possibly a new way of dealing with the pressures they face.
Question:Tell us one place you visited or person you met, that made a big impression on you, and why.
Answer: A couple years ago, I accompanied my husband to Alaska when he attended a conference in Anchorage. I was so impressed with the beauty of Alaska. Everywhere I looked, it just seemed incredibly beautiful. It’s a place that still has a frontier feel to it, and such unique experiences with the long daylight hours in summer and long hours of darkness in winter. I look forward to going back and exploring more of Alaska.
Question:Share something that makes you laugh, with just plain humor, or happiness, or because it ís so stupid.
Answer: We raised our kids without a television in the house. So watching TV was a treat for them whenever we went on vacation and stayed in a hotel. Once when my son was about eight, he loved being able to watch basketball on TV, but he ignored repeated requests to turn it off. I spotted the remote control and clicked it off at the very moment my 5 yr. old daughter walked past the TV. Son thought she had turned the TV off (since we didn’t have a TV, he didn’t know about remote controls.) He got up and turned it back on. Amused, I waited until Daughter walked back past the TV again and clicked it off again. Son got very irritated with his sister, who truly was clueless about it. I played with it a little more, letting him turn the TV on, then clicking it off as soon as he returned to his seat or at key times in the game. We finally convinced him the TV wasn’t working so he needed to just leave it off. We still laugh about that.
Question:What ís your next project? Tell us so we can’t wait for it to come out!
Answer: I’m working on the next book in my Rustic Knoll Bible Camp series. It takes the bully from Hear No Evil and focuses on him. That book is due out in August of 2014.
Question:Are their characters/stories/scenes/etc based on anything in real life?
Answer: A lot of Hear No Evil is based on real life experiences. The setting comes from the camp where I grew up. Several of the characters were inspired by people I knew at camp, and most of the activities the kids participate in are things that we did at camp.
Question:What is your favorite book/character?
Answer: It’s hard to pick just one, but I love Charles Martin’s When Crickets Cry. It’s a beautiful story of a cardiac surgeon imprisoned by guilt over the loss of his wife.
Reviews from Goodreads.com
“…the book’s real success comes from Hamilton’s use of voice to get the reader into Brady’s mind and heart as he makes his realizations and completes his journey. It takes skill to write in the voice of a thirteen-year-old boy convincingly and Hamilton demonstrates this skill. It is because of this skill that I now appreciate the teen genre.” D. Hand
“This is a seriously AWESOME novel for young people (or really for anybody)! I was up until 2:30 this morning reading it. I couldn’t put it down!” T. Pollard
“Sometimes a book comes along at exactly the right moment. I know that Hear No Evil was written for a younger audience, but the message was exactly what I needed WHEN I needed it.” J. Thompson