Interview with Anna Hamilton, Author of Boy

25 May 2021

What can you tell us about your new release, Boy?

I can tell you that ‘Boy’ is a sweet little story, a feel good story though sadness lurks here and there. I enjoyed writing ‘Boy’ more than anything I have written to date. I think it’s because all of the character names, all of the locations, foods, smells, sounds and so on were taken from my life at some point or another. It became very personal and I found I was reacquainting myself with myself during the process. Very healing.

When my father had Dementia, I was at the saddest point in my life. I couldn’t let the sadness eat me alive or I would have been no good to my dad at a time when he needed me the most. So I decided to dive into ‘his world’ which turned out to be the best medicine available, for both of us .

Caretakers get sucked dry, emotionally and physically. I wanted to be able to send a message by writing ‘Boy’. I want the caretakers out there to know how important it is for them to find joy in the craziness and to hang onto themselves because the craziness and sadness will not last. I want them to know that there is life to be had after this job, and that they will be better than before.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

I have been writing since I was ten, 1969. Then it was poetry. My first poem was about the war in Viet Nam. I still have it. It is sappy and kind of deep for a ten yr. old. In my twenties, I was a drug counselor for adolescents. When they would graduate from ‘treatment’ I would write them a personal poem. They seemed to look forward to them as much as graduating, silly kids.

Then I moved to the north woods of Minnesota where I found myself alone in a way that I had never been before, a world unfamiliar to a city kid…. so I began to write stories. To answer the question of what or who inspired me to write, the answer is simply that writing was an avenue of expression. Fiction or not, emotion and empathy is what drives me.

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

This is a tough one. I didn’t start reading for pleasure until I was thirty five. When I began to read, I found another world and one I loved. I was all over the place with authors and subject matter as I still am today. I read a book or two a week no matter my schedule. Way better than TV. Ok so, Anne Rice had me for the duration of her Vampire and Witch stories. Then “Beloved’ by Toni Morrison. Stieg Larsson and his stories beginning with “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”. Mitch Albom “Tuesdays with Morrie” “The Five People You Meet in Heaven” and “For One More Day” touched me like no other author EVER. Lately I am a follower of Peter Geyes, his recent stories beginning with “The Lighthouse Road” are incredible. I relate to his locations, his characters and the struggles they endure. I love them.

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?

I am not literary savvy enough to answer this question if you want to know the truth. But to answer you anyway, I would say Harper Lee. “To Kill a Mockingbird” was another story that held me and squeezed my heart. The author of this story is/was a great soul, I would be honored to just be in the same room with her.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

My favorite thing about writing is the time it takes to write. My world is so busy, I am constantly on the move, so for me to sit down and write is wonderful, no matter what I write. It is all about the time for me.

What is a typical day like for you?

A day in my world is crazy. I retired in 2018 from the restaurant business which freed me up to begin one of my goals, building “affordable housing” in my community. My sister Sarah and I formed a non- profit called Hamilton Habitat Inc. where I am the project manager. I also work four days a week at a local hardware/lumber store where I get my building materials at cost for my projects I care for my ninety year old neighbor lady and cook her dinner four to five times per week etc., I have phone conversations everyday (something my parents used to do) with a sister in Des Moines who suffers from metal illness. Talking to her daily seems to help her keep on track…. I promised both of my parents I would make sure she is ok, and I will, as long as I live. I also have two dogs, Miller and Rooster. I look forward to seeing them at the end of my day. If it wasn’t for my partner Stacy, I wouldn’t have the luxury of having animals.

What scene from Boy was your favorite to write?

My favorite scene was when Jacob and “Dan the Man” were in the Roberts family graveyard. I love graveyards and particularly old family graveyards. While growing up my family and I spent every Memorial Day in such places. They are sacred and hold so much history. One can feel the lives lived there if taken the time.

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

Yes I do. I spent many years in the restaurant business, owning and managing. I have had many employees over the years, many who became like my own children to me. When a conversation would come up about doing good or not doing good I would pose a question: “If your head stone read more than your date of birth and date of death and more about what kind of a person you had been, what would you like it to read? That you were a giving and loving soul or that you were s selfish asshole?”. End of conversation usually. My point had been made.

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Anna Hamilton is the author of the new book Boy

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