ML Hamilton has been teaching high school English and journalism in Central California for the last 25 years. Teaching students to appreciate literature has made her career rewarding; however, she always dreamed of publishing her own novel.
That dream came true. Her first novel, Emerald, was published by Wild Wolf Publishing in 2010. In the summer of 2011, she published her first contemporary fiction, Ravensong, and six months later, launched the Peyton Brooks' series. The Avery Nolan Adventures and Peyton Brooks, FBI launched in 2014. In 2016, she ventured into the cozy mystery craze with her cozy mystery series, Zion Sawyer Cozy Mysteries.
Between teaching and writing, she spends her free time walking her two Golden Retrievers and reading.
Where were you born/grew up at?
I am a native born San Franciscan. I was born and raised along the coast just outside of San Francisco. San Francisco will always be home to me and I can’t cross the bridge without feeling this catch in my chest that tells me I’m home.
San Francisco is such a unique place to call home. The diversity found in a relatively small area is amazing, plus where else can you find fine cuisine, art, and music in one location? I grew up going to Days on the Green, seeing some of the hottest rock bands of the 80’s play up close and personal. Once I even got a contact high from Carlos Santana.
Tell us something really interesting that's happened to you!
I survived the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake because of baseball. My future and now ex-husband, his sister, and I were crossing the Bay Bridge when the earthquake hit. We’d just gotten to the other side in record time. We were on our way to the Concord Pavilion to see Stevie Nicks perform. Because of the World Series, between the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland A’s, there was very little traffic on the bridge during commute hour. Everyone was either at the game or home watching it on television. I can’t even imagine how many people were saved because of that baseball game. Since the traffic was light, we made it across the bridge in record time, getting to the other side just as the earthquake struck.
I will never forget the moments after the earthquake. The radio went to dead air. Smoke rose off to our left, which I now know to have been the Cypress Structure collapse, and the freeway had broken away, forcing us to drive over the equivalent of a curb to keep going. Of course, our families thought we were dead, since they knew we had to be ON the bridge when it struck. Mind you, this was in the age before cell phones and all lines into the City were down.
Since they closed off the bridges, we had to drive all the way down to San Jose to work our way up the peninsula. Even now, when I hear dead air on the radio or I get stalled on the bridge, waiting to cross, I can feel a drop in the pit of my stomach and anxiety bleeds through me.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
I love dolphins. I love their playful nature, their intelligence and their almost human-like capacity to be imperfect. I’ve worked closely with dolphins in the past and I can say they are exceptionally profound creatures. I guess if I had to pick, a dolphin would be my spirit animal. Or a Golden Retriever. I have two and I will have more before I am done. My Goldens, Cricket and Comet, are the most loyal, gentle companions I could imagine having. While I don’t pretend to be as selfless as my two Goldens, I hope a few of their amazing qualities have rubbed off on me.
Do you have any “side stories” about the characters?
The character of Marco D’Angelo in the book, Peyton’s partner, was supposed to die in Murder on Treasure Island. I had the scene all worked out for maximum gut-punching effect. Then people began falling in love with him and I realized that if I killed him off, I’d likely lose a lot of fans. Because of my readers, Marco D’Angelo’s life was saved.
If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?
Dr. Abraham Jefferson, hands down. He would be a blast to hangout with. He’s outgoing, unafraid to be himself, and I know he’d make some insane drink for us to party with, before he talked me into trying some weird food dish. I think a day with Abe would be about perfect, riding around in his Mini, getting matching beads in our hair, or deciding what our latest style trend will be.
Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?
I guess I can see the the Peyton Brooks’ Mysteries being made into a movie. The characters are so rich and three-dimensional, the setting is iconic, and I think (being ever so biased) that the crimes will touch people’s hearts and minds. Besides, it would be awesome to see such a kick-ass character as Peyton come to life in a movie theatre.
I’ve toyed with the idea in my mind and even selected actors to play the various roles. I can even think of music I’d want in the soundtrack. Yep, a movie of the Peyton Brooks’ Mysteries would be a whole lot of fun to see made.