Q. Where did you get the idea for Hear No Evil?
I grew up at a camp where my dad was the director, so I knew I wanted a camp as the setting for my story. Then when my kids were young teens, two friends of their friends from different families experienced their mothers sending them away. They didn’t want the kids to live with them anymore. These were good kids—I would’ve taken them into my home without hesitation, so it disturbed me to imagine the depth of their pain. One day, the two ideas came together. I could write stories of kids who bring their “baggage” from home to camp where they gain a different perspective, and learn better ways to cope with the issues at home.
Q. Is this a book to help kids heal from the hard knocks they often receive in life?
I certainly hope so. The two ideas I want kids to take away from this story are that God knows what they’re going through and cares deeply about them, even if He seems distant. And secondly, that many times they will be impacted by things happening in the adult world that they know nothing about, and for which they are not to blame.
Q. Tell us about the Rustic Knoll Bible Camp? What kind of place is it? How does it compare with secular and church camps?
Rustic Knoll is like any other secular or church-supported camp. It has cabins and a lake and activities for kids. What sets Rustic Knoll apart is the quality of the staff, from the director on down to the counselors. They all have a passion for the Lord that’s demonstrated in their passion for the kids who come to camp. Zeke, the director, communicates the Bible message on the kids’ level through his artwork. Janie, the cook, is everyone’s substitute mom. Nurse Willie doesn’t put up with any foolishness but her caring still shines through.
Q. Do you believe church camp is helpful in youngster’s spiritual journey? How or why?
I’ve seen lives changed at church camp. Just like adults, kids need time to get away from the pressures and distractions of their daily lives. At camp, they can get one-on-one attention and mentoring from a counselor, someone a little older and more experienced. They’re encouraged to seek God, to listen for His voice and learn to recognize it. For many, it’s the first time God becomes real and alive to them.
Q. Does your character, Brady, experience some of the pranks that plague camps?
Not so much pranks, but he is taunted and teased by a cabin mate. Unfortunately, bullying happens even at church camps, and counselors especially need to be aware and involved.
Q. Who in your story helps Brady find peace and love?
Brady discovers a lot of people care about him. Steven, his blind cabin mate, is an upbeat encourager. Matt, his counselor, takes a personal interest in him. Nurse Willie, Janie, Zeke—nearly everyone has a part in helping Brady see that God cares about him. But it takes a crisis before Brady can recognize that love.
Q. Does Brady find good friends?
He does make some lasting friendships with Steven and Claire. And you can look forward to seeing them all in the following books in the series.
Q. I don’t want to ravage your story, but does his mother ever repent of being unloving?
That’s a surprise, but I will say the book has a happy ending.
Q. How does God fit into Brady’s life?
Brady develops a new awareness of God’s reality in his life. Through all Brady’s struggles at home and at camp, God seemed so far away. Almost non-existent. But at camp, God reveals himself to Brady as a loving presence in life’s darkest moments. Convinced that God is real, Brady can now begin his journey of faith in learning to know God personally and trust Him.
Q. Have tweens been blessed by Brady’s story?
Absolutely, and what amazes me is that even adults who read it say the story has been a blessing in their lives, too.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Only my thanks to you, Ada, for giving me the opportunity to talk about Hear No Evil. I pray God will use it to minister to kids and adults who need to know that even in our dark moments, when the enemy speaks lies into our hearts and minds, God is there and He cares deeply.
Hear No Evil is available through Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/kl5bovo
Barnes & Noble: http://tinyurl.com/kw2xmtr
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