Your novel, which is geared toward "tweens",--tell us a little about it.
MH~ Hear No Evil is about a young teen whose mother drops him off at summer camp and tells him he can’t come home. She doesn’t want him living with her anymore and sends him to live with his workaholic father. Brady tries to figure out what he did to warrant his mother’s rejection and how he can change her mind. During the week, he makes a couple of great friends who balance out his insecurities, but he also becomes a target for the camp bully. At times, Brady wonders if anyone, even God, cares about him.
How did the idea and/or inspiration of writing this book come about?
MH~ I lived at a camp until I left for college, so my memories of that inspired the setting. When my own children were teens, I saw so many of their friends experience doubt and rejection when their parents divorced. Very often they heard a parent say “I don’t want you” in the way they acted, if not in so many words. It broke my heart.One day, I got the idea to connect the two--write a story about kids who come to camp with all the baggage from their daily life. At camp, they gain a new perspective and learn better ways of handling the issues they face.
Your book has a strong faith element. How natural was this to write about?
MH~ It was very natural for me, because I grew up with in a strong faith atmosphere. Every summer, I saw kids leave camp with a new relationship with the Lord, or a new confidence that God is who He says He is.
What do you hope readers take away from this book?
I hope my tween readers will understand how much God cares for them, and that He wants to be actively involved in their life on a daily basis. I also want them to know that when terrible things happen like divorce and parental rejection, it’s not their fault. When parents are overwhelmed with stress in their relationships, jobs, finances, etc., they become desperate to rid themselves of anything that adds to the burden. The stress often blinds them to the effect on their kids, who think they’ve done something wrong.
Which of the characters in the novel is most like you and why?
MH~ I probably identify with Steven the most. I have a pretty even temperament and tend to let a lot of things pass in order to keep the peace. Occasionally, I’ve been with friends or other people who took offense at something that I totally missed, did not even see it as something to get upset about.So I can be just as blind as Steven, too.
Who is your favorite character?
MH~ Brady really tugged at my heart, but I loved writing about Steven. That sounds a little narcissistic, doesn’t it? My favorite character is the one most like myself. (laughs)But when things got heavy, I could always count on Steven’s upbeat attitude and sense of humor to brighten things up.
What’s your favorite and least favorite part about being a writer?
MH~ My favorite part is the discovery, when I’m writing a scene and suddenly, I see how something I wrote earlier fits in perfectly, even though I had no plan for that to happen.
My least favorite part of being a writer is when I’m building the characters and the story and can’t quite get a handle on what exactly is the conflict or a character’s goal or motivation. It takes me forever to figure these things out.
What advice would you have for writers hoping to follow in your footsteps?
MH~ Three things. 1. Commit your work to the Lord and trust Him for everything, including the timing. We all want to rush into having a book published. But take your time, listen to those who are further along the road, and trust that God will open doors for you at the right time.
2. Understand that being a published author is a business. There’s so much more to this than just writing a book and seeing your name on the cover. Attend conferences and get to know the writing business.
3. Write because you love it. I believe Michael Jordan was once asked how he kept going early in his career when his team lost so many games. He said he loved the game more than winning. Writers need the same attitude to survive the rejection and waiting that comes with the game of publishing. If you love writing (the game)more than publishing (winning), you’ll persevere through all the discouragement and rejection.
Other than writing, what else occupies your time?
MH~ I’m involved in several ministries at church—youth, mentoring moms, and a specialized adult Bible study for people working through issues in their lives. My children are grown but my husband and I love spending time with them. And I have a Golden Retriever that would love to occupy all my time if I’d let him.
Thanks so much for letting me visit with you and your readers! It’s been fun.
Read more about Mary L. Hamilton below:
Mary L. Hamilton grew up at a camp much like the setting for her Rustic Koll Bible Camp Series. Her faith is a strong influence in her life and writing, along with her concern for young people growing up in today’s popular culture. She loves opening her home to youth Bible studies, pancake suppers and breakfast with her special recipe waffles. Mary and her husband live in Texas, within range of their three grown children.
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