Mary King (1956-) was born in Jacksonville, Florida, the youngest of three children.
She attended local public schools during the sixties and early seventies, and is a
graduate of Jacksonville University (BS Psychology). She has an extensive
background in music, having performed as a concert violinist and a church organist.
At one time, she was a professional driver. She has worked in two physical
rehabilitation settings, both of which contributed to her current writing career.
Mary worked at a variety of jobs related to driving, including employment as a state-
licensed driver education teacher and road instructor. She taught a level-one
defensive driving course for the National Safety Council. Giving in to a desire to see
more of the country, she decided to apply to Greyhound Lines and was accepted into
the company's professional driving school to pursue a career as a long distance bus
driver. She eventually found her dream job in Jacksonville, in the early 1980s, when
she was hired to drive a wheelchair van, transporting patients for a private
rehabilitation center. Working in a medical setting that included severely injured
clients sparked an interest in physical medicine that continues to this day. While
working in rehab, she developed the first state licensed driving school for persons
with spinal cord injury, limb amputation, and other profound physical disabilities.
Mary King married in 1983; her husband and she settled in Jacksonville until 1992,
when they moved near Pensacola, Florida. She had five children, three of whom
are diagnosed with intellectual and developmental delays. She was no novice when
it came to family disability issues, as she had grown up with two older siblings
affected by neurological disorders.
Mary had an interest in writing at an early age, demonstrating a particular fondness
and skill for English composition and health classes. Music lessons and performing
with two orchestras took up much of her time. By the time she was thirty, work and
raising a family had begun to occupy center stage. It wasn't until a year after her
husband's sudden and untimely passing that she began to write. She found it to be
good therapy to alleviate the grief and depression. "I'd been building the story
scenes for years, even before I knew what physiotherapy was. When I began writing
on that summer day in 1997, I filled five spiral notebooks within two weeks." She
wrote and self published a few books, but the first drafts, she claims, were too sappy
and too wordy. To gain a better understanding of how she should develop her main
characters, Mary became a full-time caregiver for two friends—both quadriplegic—
one with a spinal cord injury and the other with spinal muscular atrophy. As a result,
her manuscripts evolved into The McFadden Series she continues to write today.
Through the years, Mary has continued her love of classical and classic rock music.
Other hobbies include reading, cooking and gardening. She loves reality television
shows, especially the medical programs. Her children are adults now; two sons and
two daughters are able to live on their own. She is a caregiver and advocate for her
youngest daughter who has multiple disabilities. Mary King's novels have a genuine
authenticity that readers recognize. The majority of her work focuses on teenagers
with disabilities, homeless young adults, adopting older children—particularly victims
of abuse and domestic violence—and special-needs parenting.
In the beginning, Mary was disappointed that her writing career had started late,
during middle-age. The Internet provided her with the means to update her rehab
knowledge. The hardest part, she elaborates, was upgrading her somewhat ancient
writing skills. "I'm thankful that everything fell into place. I realize now that the first
forty years of my life were necessary building blocks. I needed to go through certain
life experiences in order to write the McFadden story. I had to be a special-needs
parent. I had to work hands-on with doctors, nurses, and rehab patients (and their
families). Only then could I effectively create realistic stories with believable
characters and experiences. In a great story, readers naturally want to get involved
in the character's lives."
Mary still lives in northwest Florida on the gulf coast with her youngest daughter and
a cat named Noel. She is currently working on the latest novel in The McFadden
|Official Site of
The McFadden Series