The last time I visited with you, I’d had my first book published. Since then, two more books in the Rustic Knoll Bible Camp series have come out, the last one in May. It’s been an eventful year, with one book launch, two moves, and two children’s weddings. Exciting!
What made you want to write the Rustic Knoll Bible Camp series?
My dad was the director of a Bible camp, and we lived onsite for almost 20 years. It had a huge positive impact on my brothers and sisters and me. One day, as I thought about the people I’d known on the permanent staff, I realized they were all characters in themselves. I’d read Jan Karon’s Mitford series and wanted to create a similar community of characters in my camp stories.
See No Evil, the third and final book, tells the story of a blind camper who struggles with a form of pornography. How did you come up with that idea?
Steven is in all three books, and I’d always intended to bring him back in the third book having had a corneal transplant allowing him to see. I’d planned to have him find a girly magazine in the cabin and realize he had temptations he’d never dealt with before. But after researching what it’s like to regain sight after so many years, I realized my plan wasn’t realistic. I needed to keep Steven blind. But my editor still liked the pornography angle, so I had to find a way for a blind young man to get tangled up in pornography.
You struggled to write this book. Tell us about that.
It was a very difficult book to write, mainly because my whole plan fell throughm and I had to come up with a totally different story and write it in a short period of time. I like to know the end of my stories while I’m writing, because it gives me a goal to shoot for. But with this story, I had no idea how it would end until the day before I wrote it. I considered quitting and admitting I couldn’t write, but decided since the Lord gave me the opportunity and He knows a thing or two about writing a book, He must know what He wants me to write.
That is so true and a valuable lesson for a Christian author to learn. What are you working on now?
I’m trying something new, working on a cozy mystery for an adult audience.
What book have you read recently that you couldn’t put down?
by B.C. Tweedt. It’s a YA/middle grade book, but I couldn’t put it down even
during the weekend of my son’s wedding! Camp Legend
How long did it take you to become a published author?
It took me at least six years to write the first book. After that, it took a couple more years of rewriting to get it publishable, a year to find an agent, and another year to find a publisher.
What’s one thing you wish you’d known before you became a published author?
I wish I’d understood that writing may be a hobby, but publishing is a business. Once you’re published, you must treat your writing like a business.
What advice do you have for beginning writers?
Be patient. It’s so hard to wait, but early on, a writer friend told me she’d gone to a conference one year thinking she was ready. Later she realized she really wasn’t ready yet. She still had a lot to learn, a lot to practice. That helped me be more patient with the process. Use your time of waiting to improve your skills in both writing and marketing.
Where would you go on your dream vacation?
I would tour the
UK. So many of my favorite
childhood stories took place there—Robin
Hood, Winnie the Pooh, Sherlock Holmes and many of the fairy tales. I love
castles, and I could listen to a British, Scotch, or Irish accent forever.
Steven Miller, 17, guards a dark secret.
Dad drilled into Steven that his 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 pit without exposing his own past?
Please give us the first page.
Steven Miller pulled away from his mom’s hand as she straightened his t-shirt before getting out of the car. “It’s fine, Mom. Leave it alone.”
Blindness was no excuse for sloppy dressing, but this was camp. Some guys wore the same clothes they’d slept in the night before. He got out of the car, leaving behind its air-conditioned comfort. Ugh! This heat wave would make the cabins feel like saunas. He adjusted his dark glasses, then reached into the back seat and found the rough canvas of his duffle bag.
“Can I get that for you?” Mom’s door slammed and she hurried around to his side.
“I’ve got it.” As if I’m not capable of doing it myself. He bit his tongue as he lifted the bag out of the car and set it on the gravel parking lot. Mom wasn’t trying to be annoying. So why did she get on his nerves so easily lately? She’d always watched out for him during Dad’s tough lessons on living with blindness. Survival for the Blind 101, they’d called it. Had she grown more protective in the three years since Dad died? Or maybe Dad’s absence failed to balance out Mom’s hovering. Either way, it would be nice if she’d back off a little.
Claire called from somewhere nearby. “Steven! Wait for me.”
Where is she? Car engines and voices of other excited campers made it hard to tell which direction she was calling from. He waved his hand in the air to acknowledge her, then closed the car door and leaned against it. “Mom, you don’t have to stick around. Claire can get me through registration.”
“Well, I…I wasn’t in any hurry.”
He’d done it again—said something the wrong way.
A very good opening. How can readers find you on the Internet?
Amazon author page: http://amzn.to/1KP59m9
Thank you, Mary, for sharing this new book with us. It will change lives.
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