As a young girl growing up in the Midlands city of Camden, Kami Kinard always had a book in her hand.
Kinard's father was an avid reader, so the family had a nice selection of reading materials in their home.
Her favorites included Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys and Sherlock Holmes.
"I pretty much read all the books in the Kershaw County Library that were in the kids' section," she said. "I read constantly until probably I got to high school and started having a social life."
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Naturally, Kinard, now a Beaufort resident, dreamed of becoming a writer one day. She also knew writers should have a backup plan. After earning her English degree from the University of Georgia, she went to graduate school and became a teacher.
After teaching high school English, she decided to get into middle-grade fiction, which is aimed at fifth- through eighth-grade students.
Kinard's first novel, "The Boy Project," was published by Scholastic Press in 2012 and was a Children's Choices Reading List pick in 2013.
In "The Boy Project," seventh-grader Kara McAllister uses the scientific method to find a boyfriend.
While Kinard's first book had a science component, her second book has a math component. In "The Boy Problem," Kara's best friend, Tabitha "Tabbi" Reddy, applies a math lesson on probability to her search for the right guy.
"The Boy Problem" was recently published by Scholastic Press and will be available in stores and online April 29.
Aside from writing on her own, Kinard also teaches others about the ins and outs of the craft.
"A part of me will always be a teacher also," Kinard said. "And I've found that I'm a pretty good writing teacher."
She said writing comes naturally to many authors, but they often have a difficult time explaining to others how they do it. Her teaching background helps with that.
Kinard teaches courses at the Technical College of the Lowcountry. She travels the East Coast, teaching writing workshops. She has taught about novel revision, humor and character development. She will teach an introductory course on being published in the children's market at the S.C. Book Festival on May 12 in Columbia. She also speaks to young students in schools across the state.
"It's great because I love writing," she said. "Every day that I get to write, I love what I do, and I'm happy doing it. Finding the right words is like putting together a puzzle for me, and I love puzzling together words to create characters and plots. It's wonderful."
Follow reporter Amy Coyne Bredeson at twitter.com/IPBG_Amy.