I start with the premise that the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers. Ralph Nader

ML Hamilton Interview Published on: 28, Sep 2018

Allow us a little peek into your life and tell us a little about your childhood and some of your dreams as a child.

I grew up on the west coast, just outside of San Francisco. Being from the Bay Area has influenced every part of my life. San Francisco will always be home to me and informs so much of how I view the world. I always wanted to be a writer. I won a writing contest in elementary school and that gave me my first glimpse of the power behind words. My other dream was to be a marine biologist. I wanted to work with dolphins. A part of me will always regret not pursuing that career path.

When exactly did you know that you wanted to be a writer? How old were you when you finally made this dream into a reality?

I knew from elementary school that I wanted to be a writer. I started my first book in high school and worked on that through college and beyond. Writing has always been a part of my life. I was 43 when my first book was published. To be fair, I hadn’t really taken my writing seriously until New Years of 2010. That’s when I decided to do something about my writing.

What started the idea for "Emerald"? Do you feel any changes in your writing style since the release of your first novel? If yes, what are they?

I read Hamlet as a senior in high school and I was fascinated by the reluctant hero trope. I wanted to write a book with a reluctant hero myself. There has been a dramatic change in my writing. For one, I am now predominately a mystery author. I love doing research and I enjoy writing modern dialogue.

Among Elena Harris and Breanna Perry, who would you like to meet in person? Why?

This is such a wonderfully strange questions. Elena Harris is a character in my book, Ravensong, about a drug-addicted rock star. Breanna Perry is the heroine in my latest series the Moonlight Trilogy, who discovers she had strange powers after a car accident. These two people would never meet. I suppose I’d like to meet Breanna. She’s snarky and funny, and generally, I think she’d be a lot more interesting.

Who was the inspiration behind the character Kai in "The Talisman of Eldon "? What do you think you would have done in a situation where you were thrown from your comfortable life and plunged into a conflict?

Hamlet is the inspiration for the character of Kai. He doesn’t want to be a hero. He has no interest in saving the world, and yet, he has no choice. I don’t know what I would have done. I hope I would have reacted with a little more leadership than Kai did, but I’m not sure. We never know how we’ll react if we are faced with a situation beyond our control.

Which is your favorite book to write in all your books so far? How did you come up with its ending?

Whatever book I’m currently writing is my favorite. They all have important things to me about them. I’m not sure how I come up with my endings, but I know that I never start writing until I know how it’s going to end.

What made you decide to write and publish "The Star of Eldon"? Are the events described in the book in any way inspired by real life?

The Star of Eldon is a continuation of the World of Samar series. No, the book is an epic fantasy, so nothing in it is inspired by real events. It’s all about escape.

What has been the best thing about teaching high school English and journalism? How do you think teaching students to appreciate literature has helped you to write your own novels?

Students are the best thing about teaching. If they aren’t the reason a teacher goes into teaching, she chose the wrong career. I have my students in mind when I write. I think about the things they’re interested in or things that they maybe should be aware of and protect themselves against.

Is there any particular character from your books that you loved writing about? If yes, tell us more about him/her.

So many characters are fun to write. I love the relationships between the characters, the friendships and love. Peyton Brooks, however, is probably my alter ego. I think I’m a lot like Peyton and she has been a part of my life for so many years now.

Which book took the longest to write and why?

Emerald. I started writing it in high school and it didn’t get published until 2010. I was learning so much about the craft and there really wasn’t a way for authors to get published unless they got picked up by one of the big publishing houses, which was akin to winning the lottery. Now, authors can be successful on their own.

What do you think of the Ebook revolution? Are you more of a paperback or kindle kind of person?

I think it’s brilliant. I am a Kindle kind of person. My vision isn’t good and I struggled to read paperbacks. I realized my reading had become almost non-existent, something I’ve loved to do my whole life. Ebooks revitalized that for me.

Paint us a picture of what your everyday routine looks like.

I work full time as a teacher, so most days I’m at the school by 7:30 until 4:00. Then I come home and either write or work on an editing job. On the weekends, I try to write in the morning when my mind is fresh. Eventually, I’m hoping to have the writing business be my primary focus.

What do you think is the most challenging part about being an author? Is it writing the novel, publishing it or marketing it?

Hands down, marketing. Most authors aren’t born salespeople and it doesn’t come naturally. I hate trying to sell myself. I’ve had people ask me, “Why should I read your book?” I always stumble over this question because my natural impulse is to say, “I have no idea.” Not a great marketing strategy, that.

What are some of your future projects that you've started on? May we know when we can expect a new book?

I’m writing a 12 part series of novellas that will be released once a month next year. I’m pretty excited about it.

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