Bio: Monsters under the bed never bothered M L Hamilton. What kept her awake was the man hiding in her closet. She never did figure out who he was, how he managed to hide in her messy closet, or why he was waiting until she fell asleep to jump out and harm her. But since then, she’s imagined all sorts of other scary situations, which she plans to use as a basis for more mystery/suspense stories.
When not writing, she enjoys knitting, spending time with her family, and a little amateur photography. She and her husband make their home in
Welcome, M L. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
My main character often starts out with a personality similar to mine, which is not a good thing because I’m generally not a decisive, action-oriented person. I always have to work at making my protagonists more headstrong, more willing to take action and risks. But I think my sense of humor comes through in at least one character in every story.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I’m not a quirky person, but when I was much younger and single, I moved across the country from my close-knit family to a place where I didn’t know anyone, simply for a sense of adventure. I’m typically a cocoon-er who loves being in familiar surroundings with my family nearby. These days, my husband is the explorer and he usually has to drag me along kicking and screaming until I realize it’s kind of fun to see and experience new things.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I’ve always enjoyed writing, whether it was letters to friends or keeping a diary or making up stories based on personal experiences. But after college, I was responsible for writing a monthly newsletter for the organization where I worked. People often told me they enjoyed reading the newsletter and asked if I’d ever written for publication. So I guess that’s when I discovered I could write.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I most enjoy women’s fiction and mystery/suspense, as long as there’s very little romance involved. Occasionally, I also read historical fiction or non-fiction, along with a biography or memoir once in a while.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Now that my kids are grown, I find it fairly easy. As an introvert, I crave time alone. I can be home all day by myself without listening to the radio or television and not feel lonely. I’m also very good at saying no, so I’m rarely overcommitted.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
I have a couple books of baby names that are my first resource. I also look at the Social Security website that lists the most popular names for any given year. That really helps with various ages of my characters. I’ve also been known to dig out high school yearbooks for help with surnames, and I often keep programs from graduations and other events that list names.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
My proudest accomplishment has been raising three incredible kids. It’s such a joy to watch them grow into adulthood and see the different directions they take in life. I’d rather be with them than anyone else.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
I might be a sea otter. They’re so playful and cute. I like being around water, and I’ll choose play over work any day.
When we went to the
to visit my aunt, I loved
watching the sea otters. What is your favorite food? Monterrey Peninsula
Chocolate. Offer me a dark chocolate chunk cookie and I’ll do almost anything for you!
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
I find writing the first draft especially hard. I’d prefer to know specifically how the story ends, so I can write to that. But I seem to be better at figuring out beginnings. With this last book, I became more confident in praying and waiting on the Lord to reveal things to me. It might take a couple days or a couple weeks, but He always provided answers to whatever I was stuck on, whether through talking with others about it, or as an idea in my own head.
Tell us about the featured book.
Pendant is about a middle-age woman who was forced out of teaching after one of her students disappeared from a field trip and was never found. She’s lived under the guilt and shame for more than a decade when she finally stumbles across a vital clue and discovers someone will do anything to keep the truth buried. When her own life is threatened, she allows the one person she trusts to whisk her away to safety in
Texas. But assuming a false identity and
hiding among the quirky residents of a retirement home is not what she had in
mind. Now she must solve the mystery from afar, as soon as she figures out if
her friend is keeping her from danger…or keeping her from the truth.
Please give us the first page of the book.
The squealing brakes of the arriving school bus formed an odd harmony with a distant siren. I bent over to pick up the newspaper on my driveway while the bus came to a stop, its warning lights blinking yellow to red. Seven children lined up at the door, the older ones hunched under the weight of their backpacks. Off to one side, mothers formed a tight circle, no doubt discussing the latest in school gossip—who wasn’t speaking to whom, which teacher was giving unreasonable homework, why so-and-so wasn’t invited to a birthday party.
At least I no longer had to deal with those issues. Emma, my ten-year-old neighbor, shouted to her mother and waved good-bye, but Lauren failed to respond, apparently too engrossed in conversation to notice.
“Have a good day, Emma!” I called. The girl turned my way, smiled and waved back.
I slapped the newspaper against my palm, contemplating the possibilities of what I might do if someone attempted to snatch one of the children. The potential harm inflicted by a fifty-eight-year-old woman beating someone with a rolled-up newspaper was laughable, but it might buy some time, create enough of a distraction for the child to escape.
Roy always warned me about the personal
danger of injecting myself into such a situation, but saving a child would be
worth the cost. That was one truth I’d become certain of in the past twelve
The last student climbed the bus steps. The driver closed the door then waved in my direction before the bus roared on to the next stop, leaving behind a pungent cloud of diesel exhaust. Across the street, Amanda Fisher tossed her purse and backpack into the car then climbed into the driver’s seat. At twenty, she looked more and more like her mother, Nicole. Had it already been five years since that beautiful woman died of breast cancer? Amanda tapped the horn and waved to me as she left for class at the community college.
I brushed grains of sand and dirt from the newspaper’s wrapper before pulling my sweater tight against the morning chill and retracing my steps to the front door. Weeds had sprouted overnight in the flowerbed, and I stooped to tear at them. May was starting out warmer than usual this year despite the winds that give
How can readers find you on the Internet?
I’d love to hear from readers. They can find me in these places:
Purchase link: http://amzn.to/2y9czD9
Thank you, M L, for sharing your new book with us. I’m eager to read it, and I know my readers are, too.
Readers, here is a link to the book.
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