Former TPHS student writes book set in Del Mar

By Kristina Houck

As a stay-at-home mother of three, Karen Spurgeon-Hatfield picked up two hobbies in between housework and homework: golfing and writing. Now, the former Del Mar resident is releasing her first book, which is set in the coastal community.

“I started working on this as a hobby. It just felt good. It kind of took me away,” said Spurgeon-Hatfield, a former Torrey Pines High School student who grew up in Del Mar before moving to Orange County in 1994.

“It didn’t become serious to me until others started reading bits and pieces of it, and it really started coming together. All of a sudden, 77,000 words later, it’s come to fruition. It’s very exciting.”

An adventure-romance novel, “Combustion (The Del Mar Sequence)” takes place in Del Mar and Eleuthera, an island in the Bahamas. Amid a tale of espionage, a romance blooms between main characters Katrina “Kat” Thomas and Cmrd. Tom Hollister.

“It involves a computer hacker, Navy SEALs, terrorists and a lovely heroine,” Spurgeon-Hatfield said. “There are twists and turns that are completely unexpected. There is sidesplitting hilarity and a healthy bit of steamy romance. The characters come to life in this adventure, and one feels as though they are right there with the teams as the battle scenes blaze.”

BookAn avid reader, Spurgeon-Hatfield’s favorite books have included the military, espionage and romance.

“I feel like it’s a type of genre that’s inspired me to read,” she said. “I’ve read a lot of novels like this and I always thought maybe I could write a better one. I hope that I’ve done that.”

Spurgeon-Hatfield has worked on the book off and on for five years. As her children grew older, she found more time to write.

She also found inspiration on the golf course.

“I was fortunate to be put out with groups of retired military and made wonderful friends,” said Spurgeon-Hatfield, who plays at the Navy Golf Course Seal Beach. “Once I told them that I was an author and was very interested in the genre that I was, the stories started pouring in and forth sprung inspiration as well as ideas for my stories.”

With her youngest daughter almost off to college, Spurgeon-Hatfield already has ideas for her next book: a spinoff of “Combustion.”

“Now that I have come to the point of being ready to put it on the market, my inspiration is in a much different place,” said Spurgeon-Hatfield, whose daughters are 17, 18 and 22 years old. “Our daughters are also grown and I have quite a bit more time on my hands. I am excited that this is finally at go, and I can pull together the rest of the series that is to follow.” “Combustion” is available at