A pastor’s kid, Mary L. Hamilton grew up at a Christian youth camp in southern Wisconsin. After earning her bachelor’s degree in Social Work, she served for a year as a VISTA volunteer in Houston, Texas. Since then, she’s been a preschool teacher, a caseworker for the Texas Department of Human Resources, an assistant to the director of a hospital volunteer program, and a stay-at-home mom.
A graduate of two Long Ridge Writers’ Group courses, Mary has won awards from American Christian Fiction Writers, the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers’ Conference, and Writers on the Storm. Her first series, Rustic Knoll Bible Camp books, was inspired by her childhood memories of camp life.
What started you on your writing journey?
I’ve loved writing since I was young—writing letters to a favorite cousin, journals, even making up stories based on a friend’s birthday party. After college, I wrote the monthly newsletter for a service organization and several people encouraged me to write for publication. I started out writing non-fiction articles and even wrote a play. But my heart was always in novels, so eventually I switched to fiction.
The Author and Creator of our lives often writes in a twist that ultimately blesses us more than our original plan. Have you ever experienced such a “Divine Detour”?
My Divine Detour led to my first three books. I never had any intention of writing for kids. In fact, I wrote the whole first draft of my first book as a story for adults. About the time I started rewriting it, I became involved in a critique group and along about the fifth chapter, one of the women said, “This is a teen novel.” I protested that I didn’t want to write for kids, but she shrugged and said, “Sorry, but this is a teen novel.”
She was right. When I changed it, the story moved so much better and landed me a three-book contract.