MSW Grad Publishes His First Novel

It wasn’t a dark and stormy night, but rather the need to stay home with a sick child that provided Asbury University alumnus Hilary Hartman ’11 with the opportunity to write his first novel.

A graduate of Asbury’s Master of Social Work program, Hartman has a long-standing interest in English and history. He did some reading and research for a main character, a Kentucky Civil War vet discovering adventures in the American West, that began taking shape in his imagination during the summer of 2010. Once the fall semester began, however, his studies, an internship and parenting two active boys with his wife, Robin, made writing time scarce.

When his younger son developed mononucleosis, Hartman negotiated work-from-home assignments so he could care for him. The lengthy convalescence coincided with National Novel Writing Month, and A Wayward Tale (Volume 1) was born.

“During the day, I would ruminate on the book in the back of my mind, and at night, I would put on my cowboy hat and travel to 1880s Arizona,” Hartman said.

National Novel Writing Month, also known as Nanowrimo, is an international event in which writers around the world challenge themselves to write 50,000 words from Nov. 1 to Nov. 30. Hartman wrote more than 54,000 words, earning a “winner” designation, and received a contract from one of the event sponsors, Createspace, to publish the book.

Support from Asbury and officials at his practicum site at the Department of Juvenile Justice helped make the novel possible, Hartman said, since many graduate programs would not have allowed him the flexibility to continue his education while caring for his son.

“When you start doing what God wants you to do, things fall into place,” he said. “Asbury University has come through for us in ways I’ve never dreamed possible. Through this University and the folks in Wilmore, there have been so many doors open to us.”

Hartman will begin working for an outpatient treatment facility in Danville, Ky., this summer. Plans are underway for a second volume.

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