Roseville author wins Midwest Book Award


Roseville author Mary Clare Lockman recently won a Midwest Book Award in the young adult fiction category for her 2013 novel, “They’re Always With You.”

“They’re Always With You” is Lockman’s third publication. The book, which is set in Red Wing, Minn., in 1970, opens a window into a young girl’s life as she unravels her family’s secrets.

A decade ago, a one-page writing assignment inspired a student to write a book. The student spent years gathering information, writing, rewriting and editing pages into a 200-page book, finally publishing it last year.

That student was Mary Clare Lockman, and her hard work paid off, as the novel recently received a Midwest Book Award from the Midwest Independent Publishers Association.

“It was very exciting,” said Lockman, a 28-year Roseville resident. “I didn’t think I was going to win!”

The Midwest Book Awards ceremony was held May 14 at Luther Theological Seminary in Falcon Heights. Authors from 12 midwestern states submitted 363 total entries in 43 categories.

Lockman, 60, decided to submit her novel, “They’re Always With You,” to the Young Adult Fiction category, even though she says it could easily qualify as adult fiction as well.

“I thought it would have a better chance of winning,” she explained. “And I guess it did!”

The story follows 11-year-old Collette McGiver, an avid basketball player who lives with her parents, grandfather and aunt in Red Wing, Minnesota. She sets out to discover who “Daniel” is after overhearing that name a few times in private family conversations. As she slowly unearths some family history and secrets, her already close-knit family becomes closer at the end of her quest.

The idea for the novel came along quite awhile ago, Lockman said. After a long career as an oncology nurse, she decided to go back to school for a bachelor’s degree in creative writing.

At Metropolitan State University, Lockman took a children’s literature class, during which an assignment sparked her imagination.

“The professor assigned us to write one page in the voice of a child, age 2-18,” she explained. “I immediately had the idea of a young girl lying in bed hearing her parents talking at night, and she keeps hearing the name ‘Daniel.’

“My professor said to me, ‘Mary Clare, that’s a book. Let it work its way out.’”

And eventually, that book did work its way onto the page - but not after being reworked time and time again.

“I’ve redone it many times, but I kept with it all these years because I liked the story,” Lockman said.

Lockman also wrote two other books in that 10-year time frame. Her other titles include the humorous “Warning! Family Vacations May Be Hazardous to Your Health” and “Barefoot, Shoefoot,” an easy-reader picture book for children.

Despite her award, Lockman remains humble.

“It makes me feel good anytime anyone reads my book and likes it,” she said.

For more information about Mary Clare Lockman or “They’re Always With You,” visit www.maryclarelockman.com.

Johanna Holub can be reached at jholub@lillienews.com or 651-748-7813. Follow her on Twitter @jholubnews.

 

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