Hunter Darden’s first endeavor in the writing field produced a mystery book entitled “The Secret of the Old Oak Tree.” Unfortunately, it was bound only in bright yellow construction paper-the finest binding a fourth grader with a vision could create. Shortly after Hunter wrote this “masterpiece” her teacher asked everyone what he or she wanted to be when they grew up. Certain her book had all the qualities of a Nancy Drew bestseller, she proudly announced, “ I’m going to be an author!” Hunter did not know then that her youthful dreams would not be realized until thirty long years later……..
Hunter grew up in Elkin, N.C., as the daughter of a doctor and a kindergarten teacher. Her most valuable lessons about life were learned through her parents, both influential role models. Her father, with his humble nature, taught her about character and strength in spirit. Her mother, with her enthusiasm for life, taught her that anything is possible if you have the drive and the will to succeed.
Through the years, Hunter did continue to enjoy her writing as a hobby. She developed her writing skills as the editor of her high school newspaper. She wrote feature humor stories for the paper. Hunter went to Meredith College in Raleigh, NC. She was intrigued with why people are the way they are with their varying personalities, needs and actions and reactions to situations. She graduated with a B.A. in Psychology continuing to enjoy writing as an outlet. She had two sons who became the focal point for her life. Her writing took a backseat to life and its commitments. Her family encouraged her to write and she would always say, “But I need to be completely inspired!” She did not realize that her inspiration was close at hand.
Hunter’s father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at the age of fifty-six. It was difficult for her family to watch this once intelligent and generous man disintegrate into a shell of a person. After a nine- year illness he died peacefully in the spring of 1994. She was thrown into the most common position of explaining the reality of death and the concept of eternal life to her children. As a catharsis, she resorted to her most natural instinct. Hunter, at last being completely inspired, began to write. All the ingredients were in place-her positive messages for living from her parents, her spirituality, her experience as editor, the interest in psychology and the love and guidance from her family. After thirty years, these had culminated into her first book, The Everlasting Snowman, a story of the cycle of life, is an inspirational book for children and adults alike. With its beautiful watercolor illustrations by Tamara Scantland Adams, it explains that the natural cycle of life goes on and on. The Everlasting Snowman was the catalyst for seven other books that followed in quick succession. Hunter enjoys using her words to touch and lift hearts or to bring about a much needed laugh.
Hunter enjoys public speaking to a variety of groups from literacy conferences, book clubs, women’s clubs, grief organizations, church groups, etc.
She also teaches a writing camp called Writer’s Cramp Camp. It is designed specifically to teach children to use their clever imaginations. Hopefully, they will discover that school English assignments don’t have to be a boring chore; but, instead an opportunity to stretch their minds through their fingertips.