Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘young adult fiction’

Character Interview: Steven Miller from See No Evil by Mary L. Hamilton

SeeNoEvilFrontDropCrop copyToday’s guest on Inner Source is Steven Miller, Author Mary  L. Hamilton’s young hero from See No Evil, the third novel in her Rustic Knoll series. Steven, I have had the pleasure of following you through three years of camp at Rustic Knoll, and I was so glad to get the chance to learn more about you. Please take a moment to tell our readers a little about yourself.

Well, I’m seventeen, going into my senior year of high school and, for those who haven’t read the Rustic Knoll Bible Camp books, I’m blind. But I don’t let that stop me from participating in most of the activities. My parents first brought me to camp when I was five, and I’ve been coming back every year since then. So I’m pretty familiar with the camp. It’s one of my favorite places in the world. Not that I’ve been to many world places, but—I’ll just leave it at that.

You had a very special relationship with your father and your mother. They both handled your special circumstances very differently. How do you think that has helped or hurt you as you have matured?

Dad never let me get away with anything just because I was blind. In fact, he made me work hard to overcome my limitations. I appreciate what he did now, even though most of the time it wasn’t much fun. He encouraged me to be as independent as possible. Sometimes, his methods were a little scary, but Mom was always there to comfort me and sorta pick up the pieces afterward. And she let Dad know when he crossed a danger line. But she never really tried to undermine Dad, so I knew she supported what he was doing, even if she didn’t always agree with how he did it. Since Dad’s death, I’ve tried really hard to live up to what I think he’d want me to do. Sometimes, Mom tries to hold me back, and that bothers me. But I hear other kids complaining about their parents, and I guess it’s just a teenage thing. Anyway, I’m glad I had both Mom and Dad. Without Mom, I might have grown resentful and angry. Without Dad, I wouldn’t have the confidence I do today.

The title of the novel is a play on words based upon your special circumstances, but your novel has an excellent message with regard to what we allow ourselves to see (and to hear). You deal with an issue that today’s teens face that many in my generation couldn’t fathom. What do you think of the information age and how it can be abused by anyone of any generation, not just yours?

I think the temptation is really nothing new. Dad once told me he sneaked a look or two at a girly magazine when he was my age. But all the electronic gadgets we have make it easy for anyone to find. I think most things have the potential for good or evil. It’s how we choose to use them, and that makes it even more important to guard ourselves against whatever entices and tempts us. Like Joseph of the Bible, we need to run the other way when temptation hits us. But that takes a lot of self-control. Believe me, I know!

What advice would you have for a young man or a young woman who has gotten themselves addicted to those things that are available to them via the Internet or other devices?

The best thing to do is put filters on your phone and your computer. And confide in someone you trust, someone tough enough to cut through your phony excuses and rationalizations, to challenge you to rise above where you are. If you don’t have someone like that, it’s going to be really hard to break the habit. The next time you’re tempted, challenge yourself to go one hour without looking. If you make it that hour, give yourself a high five and try to go another hour. Keep adding the time. The longer you go, the more you’ll want to keep it going and not look, not indulge. If you fail, don’t beat yourself up. Just start over and try again. If you keep trying, you’ll make it, especially if you pray and ask God for strength to overcome.

Now that your time as a camper at Rustic Knoll has come to a close and you look back on the years you spent there, what was your favorite moment as a camper—even if it wasn’t shared in the series?

Wow, that’s a hard one. I don’t know that I can pick just one. The friends I’ve made, the staff, the water carnivals, Zeke’s lessons, cabin pranks… My favorite moment? Okay, this probably sounds weird. Maybe it’s because being blind makes me rely on my other senses, but my favorite moment every year was when I first arrived at camp and caught the scent of the lake on the breeze. I can’t even describe how it smells because it’s so different from other smells, that mix of water and sand and fresh air. I know some kids think it stinks, but to me, it’s heaven. I always waited for that first breeze, that first scent. I’d take a deep breath, pull in as much as I could, and it always made me smile. Because I knew then I was back at Rustic Knoll, and the fun was about to start.

I don’t think that’s weird at all. I’m not blind, and I make associations with smells. I get a hint of a certain scent and a person or place comes to mind, and if your friends think the lake stinks, they need to visit my hometown at certain times of the year when the algae is blooming in the river. Thanks for being with us, Steven, and I look forward to the interview with your author, Mary L. Hamilton on Thursday.

More About See No Evil:

Steven Miller guards a dark secret. Dad drilled into Steven that 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 sin without exposing his own past?

The Rustic Knoll series has two other outstanding novels:

HearNoEvilModifiedFront5-5x8-5Hear No Evil:

Summer camp is no fun for Brady McCaul. The girl with the cute dimples thinks he’s immature and childish. The camp bully targets him with cruel taunts, and flips Brady’s canoe to keep him from winning the race. But worst of all, his mom won’t let him come home. She doesn’t want him living with her anymore. Brady wonders if even God cares about him. Can Brady figure out what he did to earn Mom’s rejection and change her mind by week’s end? Or will he have to live with his workaholic dad, the guy who left when Brady was seven? All seems lost until a surprising secret changes everything.

SNEfinalcoverSpeak No Evil:

Taylor Dixon knew having his younger sister at camp would be a pain, but he never expected the pain to go so deep.

At 15, Taylor dreams of getting his driver’s license and driving race cars when he’s older. His sister, Marissa, is the only one who believes in his dream, but her adventurous spirit keeps landing him in trouble. Consequently, Dad won’t let him get his license and predicts Taylor is heading for the same jail cell as his once-favored older brother.

Taylor returns to Rustic Knoll Bible Camp expecting softball, swimming and sermons. Then he finds a classic Mustang in the camp’s garage and jumps at the owner’s invitation to help restore it. But when Marissa falls for his snobbish cabin mate, the war of words and pranks escalates until it threatens both the car and his dreams for the future.

Will Taylor fulfill Dad’s prediction and end up in jail? Or will he finally learn the Truth found in the old car’s engine?

Mary HamiltonAbout the Author:

Mary L. Hamilton grew up at a youth camp in southern Wisconsin, much like the setting for her Rustic Knoll Bible Camp series. While raising her own three children, she was active in her church’s youth ministry, including serving as a camp counselor for a week. She decided once was enough.

When not writing, Mary enjoys knitting, reading and being outdoors. She and her husband make their home in Texas with a rescued Golden Retriever.

Connect with Mary at her website, on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

I Learn from Children, Even the Imaginary Ones by Cynthia T. Toney

CindyPurpB&W3rev.reducedThe garbage truck makes its presence known each Tuesday morning with a rumble and a screech, but the last visit was different.

I heard a honk. My dogs barked, and I ran to the front window and raised the shade.

One of the garbage men waved an arm and pointed at a little girl standing next to my garbage can. I hurried out to see what was going on.

“I’m sorry, ma’am,” he said, ‘’’but she won’t let me take the can. I think she said there’s more garbage in the house.”

“No, there isn’t. She’s not my daughter.” Concern began to build. I didn’t recognize this child, who couldn’t have been much older than six. I scanned the street both ways. Where were her parents?

“I think she’s mentally challenged.” The garbage man, who was over six feet tall and as lanky as a professional basketball player, had the gentle voice of an angel.

I finally looked into the little girl’s eyes, not as clear and focused as a healthy child’s. “Go ahead and dump the can,” I told him. “I’ll try to find out who she belongs to.”

“Yes, ma’am. Thank you. I’m sorry I had to bother you.”

“No, thank you for calling me out here.”

He tossed the garbage, and the truck rolled on.

I placed a hand on the girl’s shoulder. “Where do you live? Do you live on this street?”

“K,” she said.

In her hand she held a bowl, eating unrecognizable crumbs from it. The morning was a hot one, and the sun beat down on both of us standing at the edge of the street.

“Would you like some water?”

She shook her head. “K.”

“Is Kay your momma? Or your babysitter?” I stroked the girl’s hair, but panic was setting in—for me, anyway. She remained composed.

“K.”

Just as I decided I’d better take her inside and call the sheriff, a young woman on foot appeared around the curve in the street. I waved one arm to get her attention, then two. She picked up speed. The child glanced her way.

“Is that your momma?”

“K.”

It probably took the woman less than a minute to reach us. Although winded, she smiled, her cheeks rosy.

“Are you her mother?” I stroked the girl’s hair again. “She’s a sweetheart.”

“Yes, thank you.”

“She keeps saying ‘K.’”

“She means ‘Cade,’ her brother. He likes to go down to the creek and play with the other boys, and sometimes she tries to follow him.”

“What’s her name?”

“Emma.”

Now we had three overheated, possibly thirsty people standing at the street. “May I get you a bottle of water? Emma didn’t want any.”

“That’s very nice of you, but no thanks. I have two little ones asleep in the house. Mine is the second to last one on the other side of the street.” She pointed. “I’d better get back.”

“No problem. I’m home every day, so if she goes missing again, let me know and I’ll look out for her.”

“Thank you so much.”

I went inside, where the green peas I’d left on the stove had burned. I’d lost my focus during the drama, but Emma hadn’t.

She knew what she loved and didn’t forget what she wanted: her brother Cade (which, by the way, means “pet lamb.”) And she went after him.

That kind of devotion and single-mindedness is what makes me love kids, kindergarteners and teenagers alike. We adults have so much to learn from them, so I choose to write about them and for them.

While writing Bird Face, my main character became real to me. I watched Wendy and speculated what she’d do next. How would she handle this situation?  What would she try first? I knew she’d make a mistake or two before figuring out successful strategy and tactics. It was all so that she could learn to love herself and those around her better. She had a lot of love to give, but it took her a while to discover where and how to direct it. And to forgive.

I was the same way for many years when I didn’t look to Jesus to show me how. I believe he used the story of Wendy to reach me. As I wrote her story, she demonstrated how to love better, further, and more wisely.

And sometimes so does a child like Emma.

About the Author:

Cynthia enjoys writing both historical and contemporary teen fiction with a touch of mystery and romance. She holds a BA in art education with a minor in history and worked as an advertising designer and marketing copywriter when she began her first novel. More recently she has been an interior decorator, and her decorating articles appear on eHow.com and homeguides.SFGate.com (The San Francisco Chronicle online). She has a passion for rescuing dogs from animal shelters and encourages people to adopt and save the life of a shelter dog or cat. In her leisure time she cooks Italian and studies the complex history of the friendly South, where she resides with her husband and several dogs.

You can connect with Cynthia via her e-mail: birdfacewendy@gmail.com, also her website, her blog, on Facebook, and Twitter

About Bird Face:

Almost-fourteen-year-old Wendy Robichaud doesn’t care one bit about being popular like her good-looking classmates Tookie and the Sticks—until Brainiac bully John-Monster schemes against her, and someone leaves anonymous sticky-note messages all over school. Even her best friend, Jennifer, is hiding something and pulling away. But the Spring Program, abandoned puppies, and high school track team tryouts don’t leave much time to play detective. When secrets and failed dreams kick off the summer, will Jennifer still be around to support her?

Wendy and Cynthia talked about Bird Face on Monday and Wednesday.

 

Character Interview: Wendy Robichaud from Bird Face

521390_391234014291056_168496479_nToday’s guest is Ms. Wendy Robichaud from Cynthia T. Toney’s wonderful young adult novel, Bird Face. Wendy, I have to say that I am so glad that I met you. Your story brought memories back to me that I’d thought I’d forgotten, and they showed me that not much has changed since I attended school. Please, tell our readers a little about you and your story.

Thank you, Mrs. Lamb. It’s great to meet you too. I used to be so shy that I wouldn’t have imagined being able to talk with you like this a year ago. And it seemed that when I did work up the courage to say something to a person I didn’t know very well, I could never say the right thing. I always put my foot in my mouth and made someone mad. It was so hard to make new friends because of that, so it was a good thing I had Jennifer, my best friend. When people were mean to me for no reason, she stood up for me. But after a while, I knew it was time to start standing up for myself.

Teens often experience change in their lives as they grow older. Friendships change or strengthen or new ones are created. What did you learn about friendship during the last school year?

I realized there were people out there waiting and hoping to be friends with me, but I either didn’t recognize the signals they sent or was too shy to act on them. I had a feeling Jennifer was changing, and it scared me because I never had to try to impress her and could always be myself. But I couldn’t see that I was on the verge of changing too. It wasn’t until I was forced to seek new friends that I did, and I believe God gave me the right push at all the right times. I looked at people with new eyes and saw things we had in common that I could build friendships on. But on the other hand, you never know when an old friend might reappear, and because of what you’ve experienced when you were apart, you might become close again.

With everything you experienced in the year leading up to entering high school, what is the biggest lesson you learned?

That it doesn’t do any good to feel sorry for yourself and wait for someone to come to you to be your friend. You have to reach out to them or at least meet them half way. If you wait too long, you may lose them forever, and you’ll wonder all your life if friendship with them could’ve made a difference in your life and theirs too, if only you’d done something to show you cared. No matter how low you feel, there’s always someone who feels lower whose spirits you might lift with a friendly smile or a genuine compliment. If you’re rejected, it may hurt a little; but if you keep trying, you’ll find someone who appreciates your effort. Who knows? That person may be your new best friend!

This, I believe, is a deep question, but somehow I think it is a question meant especially for you: If you could go back to any time in your life and change history, would you do it? If so, when would that be and how would you change your life? If not, why would you be willing to go through the same conflicts that you have faced?

I think I could’ve gotten an earlier start on some things, like being nicer to my stepmother. I could’ve taken the attitude that if being nicer to her didn’t make her act nicer toward me, I wouldn’t be any worse off than I was before. If it did help, a lot of days at her and Dad’s house would’ve been more pleasant. And I wish I’d noticed and cared more when people at school were bullied or looked like they were sad or needed a friend. I would’ve tried to be as nice to them as people like Alice, David, and Jennifer have been to me.  But I believe some of the other things had to happen when and how they did. I wouldn’t have been able to change that part of history, and I don’t think I’d want to. Certain people, places, and events had to come together in the right way at the right time to make me truly understand them and myself.

Okay, Wendy, before we close, I just have to know—what’s the scoop with you and David?

(Blushing) Well, he’s the nicest boy I’ve ever known. Just for example, on the first day of sixth grade, my first day at Bellingrath Junior High, I couldn’t find English class. I’d heard the teacher, Mr. Stanley, could be a real bear, and I was scared to death I’d be late. I must’ve looked it too because David stopped and asked if he could help me with anything. I thought, Oh, sure, you must’ve seen me with Jennifer earlier, but that wasn’t it at all. He’s just nice. He walked me to class and then had to practically run to make it to his own class. I think we’re really only friends right now in ninth grade, but he does sit with me at lunch sometimes. And the other day he mentioned something about wanting to see me run track and asked if I’d come to one of his baseball games when the season starts. So maybe we’ll be more than friends someday if I don’t mess it up!

More About Bird Face:

Almost-fourteen-year-old Wendy Robichaud doesn’t care one bit about being popular like her good-looking classmates Tookie and the Sticks—until Brainiac bully John-Monster schemes against her, and someone leaves anonymous sticky-note messages all over school. Even her best friend, Jennifer, is hiding something and pulling away. But the Spring Program, abandoned puppies, and high school track team tryouts don’t leave much time to play detective. When secrets and failed dreams kick off the summer, will Jennifer still be around to support her?

CindyPurpB&W3rev.reducedAbout the Author:

Cynthia enjoys writing both historical and contemporary teen fiction with a touch of mystery and romance. She holds a BA in art education with a minor in history and worked as an advertising designer and marketing copywriter when she began her first novel. More recently she has been an interior decorator, and her decorating articles appear on eHow.com and homeguides.SFGate.com (The San Francisco Chronicle online). She has a passion for rescuing dogs from animal shelters and encourages people to adopt and save the life of a shelter dog or cat. In her leisure time she cooks Italian and studies the complex history of the friendly South, where she resides with her husband and several dogs.

You can connect with Cynthia via her e-mail: birdfacewendy@gmail.com, also her website, her blog, on Facebook, and Twitter.

Character Interview: Margaret McWhorter from Stopped Cold by Gail Pallotta

StoppedCold200x300Today’s guest is a sweet young lady, Margaret McWhorter. Margaret comes to us from Gail Pallotta’s novel, Stopped Cold.

Margaret, welcome to Inner Source. Please tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? What do you do? What story did you bring to your author?

I’m a freshman in a private school in Mistville, North Carolina. I enjoy swimming and hanging out at The Grill with my friends. The first day of classes Jimmy Willmore caught my attention. I hoped he’d ask me out, but then my brother, Sean, took a steroid, had a stroke and ended up in the hospital. Now I’m hot on the trail of the drug dealers with my best friend, Emily, and Jimmy.

You’ve been through a tough few months, and you have watched someone you love suffer from steroid use. I’d like to know what you’d have to say to anyone contemplating taking these drugs to enhance their physical abilities.

If you had any idea what could happen, you wouldn’t do it. It’s not worth it. My brother is so smart he could have been anything he wanted. He could’ve grown up and found a cure for cancer, but now I’m afraid his life is ruined. We just want him to wake up and come live with us again.

Your father was a football player, a good one, and he exceled at what he did. You’re also an excellent athlete in your sport of choice. I get the feeling that even if your father didn’t push you to be the best, you’d still give it your all. What I’d like to know is that if you had the chance to have a heart-to-heart with your dad—because, after all, he is a nice guy, a loving father—what advice would you give him about his overzealousness to have his children compete?

LOL. My dad’s the most competitive guy in the world. If I could talk to him about it, I’d ask him to have a healthy competitive spirit. My Sunday school teacher says we all have a gift or gifts to use for God, and our purpose is to glorify Him. I want to develop my talent to the best of my ability, and yeah, it’d be nice if my best turned out to be “the best.” But I’d try to make Dad see that Sean and I don’t have to always be number one to be worthwhile.

Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” When God says, “all things” I believe He means even the bad things that happen to us. I got the distinct feeling that you understood this principle. What good do you believe came out of this traumatic time for you and for Sean?

The most important one was Dad accepting Sean for the person he was. Dad no longer had a choice about pushing Sean to be a great quarterback. It forced him to be proud of the things Sean had accomplished, and all of us were a lot happier.

Okay, inquiring minds want to know. How is Jimmy? Did you enjoy the Fall Festival?

Big grin. Jimmy’s fine. We had a great time at the Fall Festival. We’re dating now!

More about Stopped Cold:

Margaret McWhorter enjoys a laid-back Freshman year in high school flirting with Jimmy Willmore, swimming, and hanging out with friends—until that day. Her brother, Sean, suffers a stroke from taking a steroid. Now he’s lying unconscious in a hospital. Margaret’s angry at her dad for pushing Sean to be a great quarterback, but a fire of hatred burns inside her to make the criminals pay. Looking for justice, she takes Jimmy and her best friend, Emily, through a twisted, drug-filled sub-culture. A clue sends them deep into the woods behind the school where they overhear drug dealers discuss Sean.

Time and time again they walk a treacherous path and come face to face with danger. Even the cop on the case can’t stop them from investigating. All the while Margaret really wants to cure Sean, heal the hate inside, and open her heart to love.

GailPallottaHeadshot (2)About Gail Pallotta:

Award-winning author Gail Pallotta’s a wife, mom, swimmer and bargain shopper who loves God, beach sunsets and getting together with friends and family. She’s been a Sunday school teacher, a swim-team coordinator and an after-school literary instructor. A former regional writer of the year for American Christian Writers Association, she won Clash of the Titles in 2010. Her new teen book, Stopped Cold, is a best-seller on All Romance eBooks. She’s published short stories in “Splickety” magazine and Sweet Freedom with a Slice of Peach Cobbler. Some of her published articles appear in anthologies while two are in museums. Readers can find her on the internet on the staff of Clash of the Titles, at her blog,  on her website, on Authors and More, which is on Facebook, and at  Twitter.