July 2018
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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 Series.