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Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Seek to Improve: Author Interview with Robin Lee Hatcher

Robin Lee Hatcher is the author of 80 novels and novellas with over five million copies of her books in print. She is known for her heartwarming and emotionally charged stories of faith, courage, and love. Her numerous awards include the RITA® Award, Christy Award, Carol Award, HOLT Medallion, National Reader’s Choice Award, and the Faith, Hope & Love Reader’s Choice Award, and she is also the recipient of prestigious Lifetime Achievement Awards from both American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America®. Now let's get on with the interview.

I am in awe at the number of books you have written and how you can easily move between different fiction styles. Your bio says you wrote your first book in nine months and it was published two years later. That’s a pretty quick turnaround for a newbie writer. What was that initial whirlwind like?
I wrote my first book on yellow legal pads in the evenings and typed them on the office typewriter at work on lunch hours and coffee breaks (with my boss's permission). I didn't know what slow or fast was (this was long before the Internet and writer's organizations within easy access). I just wrote for the fun of it. So, it didn't seem like a whirlwind.

Did the next book come out that easy for you as well?
I sold my first novel to a publisher eleven months after I started writing it, and I went right to work on a sequel. The publisher went bankrupt six months later, and I wasn't sure what to do. (Sigh.) But I sold both books to a publisher early in the following year. They were published in February and March one year after that. Again, I didn't know that was fast or unusual because I didn't have anything to compare it to.

Looking back on that first book, how do you feel about the writing style of that first book?
How do I feel about the style of that first book? Ugh. It wasn't edited at all, and I was learning to write a novel. So, all of my early mistakes are in print.

Your writing includes different facets of the romance genre. Do you prefer one genre to write in more than another?
I love to write both contemporary and historical romances as well as historical and contemporary women's fiction. I really don't have a favorite time period. I've written Regency England and Victorian England and Civil War South and Old West and WWI and WWII and the 1950's and a few others as well.

Do you have one time period that you especially like to write in?
If I had to select only one historical period, I would choose the early 1900's, I think. At least that's what I would pick today.

How do you keep the writing fresh and contemporary after so many books?
Falling in love with my characters is what keeps it fresh for me. My heroes and heroines all have stories to tell, and I'm interested in finding out what those stories are.

Your bio also states that you have a love for horses and settings with horses are woven into your stories. What other favorite interests flow through your stories?
There is always a dog and/or a cat in my books. I love my animals, and I can't imagine not having at least one in my stories.

You’ve received numerous awards for your writing over the years. Is there one that stands out with special meaning for you?
I've received Lifetime Achievement Awards from both ACFW and from RWA. Those awards are especially meaningful to me because they recognize my career rather than simply one book.

Both ACFW and RWA have regular conferences for writers. What is the best advice you could give a writer to make the most out of attending one?
I think my key advice is, don't workshop until you drop. Overloading at a conference leaves a writer exhausted and sometimes emotional, especially if that writer is an introvert. So, plan to go to learn but also plan for breaks and time to just hang out with other attendees.

Christian themed books are in the upswing. Why do you think that’s occurring?
One big reason has to be the excellence of the writers. Another is because there are so many sub-genres available in the Christian market today that readers can find the type of books they love to read.

What is some of the best writing advice that you’ve received or could give?
Read, read, read, and write, write, write. Books get written one word, one sentence, and one paragraph at a time. Keep moving forward and keep trying to improve as a storyteller and a novelist.

Thanks for your insight! If you’d like to learn more about Robin’s many books, here are some links to get you started. In addition, today is the release date of the book to the right, Cross My Heart. Be one of the first to buy it. 

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