Interview Derald Hamilton
Topics of conversation:
- Southern males expected to attend seminary
- How religious groups cope with changes in society
- Does the church maintain societal cohesiveness
- Tolerance for other religions
- Stepping outside the comfort zone
Derald Hamilton was born in Santa Cruz, California on July 22, 1950 and seven days later adopted by Derald and Naomi Hamilton, two products of rural Iowa. His father was a career soldier. His mother worked as both a secretary and an accountant, until bad health forced her into early retirement. Belonging to a military family, he moved around a lot. When health issues took precedence, Derald and his mother settled in a suburb of Sacramento, while his dad continued moving to wherever the Army assigned him. After graduating from community college, Derald transferred to U.C. Davis where he majored in American Studies and became active in the campus Christian program. During the time he was active in that program, he received what he interpreted as a call to the ministry.With no scholastic help available, Derald worked at a few temporary jobs and finally secured a clerical job with the State of California. After about a year-and-a-half, he had saved enough to continue his studies, and enrolled in Phillips Graduate Theological Seminary in pursuit of a Masters of Divinity Degree. While pursuing this degree, he became disillusioned, perceiving the church atmosphere to be a hotbed of politics and competitive showmanship.
A few years later, Derald pursued a Masters Degree in Library Science. He earned the degree, but found library jobs to be quite scarce, so he took an administrative support job, this time with the Santa Clara Valley Transit Authority, where he’s been for the past twenty-six years. Derald continued freelance writing. He has since been able to have four of his short stories published, along with non-fiction articles, and novels into print. Derald still lives in the Bay Area of northern California and enjoys playing his banjo in bluegrass and old time jam sessions.
From the pages of The Call, two supporting characters from the novel, Elmo Piggins and Reginald Dexter, are given their own stories as part of this anthology.
The Astonishing Elmo Piggins introduces young Elmo Piggins as the prototypical Southern preacher’s kid. His older sister seems to eclipse him, until she leaves home and he joins the Navy following high school graduation. While at sea, Elmo experiences a Road-to-Damascus transformation, turning his life and relationships on their ear.
The Rebirth of Reginald Dexter tells of a tenured professor of psychology who is forced to retire at sixty-five. It is both a funny and inspirational story that supports the life-affirming notion that it’s never too late for new beginnings.
Taken Up Before The General, follows the misadventures of a hapless military brat who is pummeled into submission at every turn. Taken Up Before The General provides a blistering portrait of a social order that grants no quarter to the those who just don’t fit in… anywhere.
The War Comes Home explores the same social dynamic – that of self-sacrifice for the sake of conformity -- only this time, the story is told through the eyes of a military wife saddled with the task of avoiding any upsets upon her husband’s return from war.
And finally, there is A Litter Bit of Wisdom—a darkly humorous tale that explores the possible repercussions that might result from our actions or inactions. Or could it be simply the workings of fate?
There is nothing dark, twisted or sinister in any of these stories… only the exceptional writing talent that puts the reader squarely in the middle of the story… ~Rebecca Hayes, Publishing & Design Specialist