Best-selling novelist Robin Lee Hatcher is known for her heartwarming and emotionally charged stories of faith, courage, and love. She discovered her vocation after many years of reading everything she could put her hands on, including the backs of cereal boxes and ketchup bottles. Winner of the Christy, the RITA, the Carol, the Inspirational Reader’s Choice, and many other awards, Robin is also a recipient of the prestigious RWA Lifetime Achievement Award. She is the author of 70 novels and novellas with over four million copies in print.
Welcome, Robin Lee Hatcher! What an honor to have you join us at Novel PASTimes!
First of all, let me say that the premise for your new release sounds very intriguing. Please tell us a little bit about this latest novel, Beloved.
The three books in the Where the Heart Lives series tell the stories of the Brennan children who were sent west on the orphan train after their mother died. Each went to different homes in different locations. Beloved features the youngest of the siblings, Diana.
At 17, Diana fell hard for Tyson Applegate, the son of a wealthy mine owner. After a whirlwind courtship and marriage, Tyson took off for adventures around the world, including fighting with the Rough Riders in Cuba. Receiving no word from him in years, Diana’s infatuation with her dashing husband died an ugly death, and she is ready to move past the old pain and marry again, just as soon as Tyson is declared legally dead.
But when Tyson returns, claiming to be a changed man, he wants to reunite with his wife and run for the senate. While Diana suspects the election is his real reason for wanting her by his side, she agrees to maintain his home and to campaign with him, but when it is over, win or lose, she wants her freedom.
He agrees with one condition—she must give him a chance to change her mind about him.
Help us get a glimpse of the main characters.
To say the least, it was inconsiderate of Diana’s almost-dead husband to show up at her engagement party.
When they married, Tyson was a charming cad, and Diana was a girl with stars in her eyes. Then he walked out, abandoning his young bride without a word.
Years later, Tyson has returned to Idaho a changed man. Changed by war. Changed by God. He wants a second chance to make things right, first and foremost with the wife he treated so poorly.
Diana isn't about to fall for Tyson's easy charms a second time. Feeling that she doesn't have any other choice, she strikes a bargain with the man who broke her heart, but she is determined to be free of him in the end.
As the author, I lost my heart to Tyson and Diana from the opening line of chapter one. I'm a sucker for second chance stories, mostly because I'm so thankful for all the second chances I've been given in life, by God and by others. Tyson definitely needs a second chance, but it isn't going to come easily. As for Diana, she has abandonment issues and those old wounds need to be healed.
Tell us about your writing journey. Did you always know you wanted to write?
No, I didn't always know. I always loved to read and write, but I never thought about being a writer as a profession. However, I was a storyteller from a very young age, and I loved to entertain. I thought I would be an actress, and I did perform with a theater troupe during my twenties. But just before my 30th birthday, I decided to put on paper a story that had been rattling around in my head. It eventually became my first published novel.
What interested you in writing historical fiction?
My favorite subjects in school were English and history. I love reading about other places and other times. To be honest, I could spend my life researching and never get around to writing because it is simply so much fun. And nothing a novelist learns ever goes to waste.
I have been a fan of historical fiction since I was in my teens. Biblical fiction. Ancient Rome. Australia. Regency and Victorian England. I love them all. One of my favorite books is Gone With the Wind, so it is no surprise that my first novel was a Civil War saga.
You have written 70 novels (I’m so impressed!). Do you have any favorites and, if so, what makes them special to you?
Picking a favorite book is like picking a favorite child. Can't do it. Each book was written because something about the characters and/or the situations intrigued me. But there are books that are special to me.
The Forgiving Hour and Ribbon of Years are the two novels most often named as a reader's favorite. Both of them have stories that God has used to heal hurts and give hope, and both of them have opened up opportunities for me to minister to others in ways I never expected.
Catching Katie and Fit To Be Tied are the most lighthearted romances I've written, and I absolutely adore the couples in each of them: Katie and Ben, and Cleo and Sherwood. Just thinking about their stories makes me smile.
Beyond the Shadows and my upcoming January release, A Promise Kept, are deeply personal stories, many parts taken from the pages of my own life (and pages of my own journals).
With so many published books, how do you balance the publicity and marketing for one book while going through writing and editing for another project?
It isn't easy. In fact, I would have to answer that I balance it poorly. In August, I received revision letters on two different books (one novel and one novella) on the same day and a few days later I received the page proofs of a third book. All while I'm supposed to be writing a new story. And then a new book released. Some days I truly do feel like I'm chasing my tail and getting nowhere fast.
7. What would you say has been the most difficult aspect of being a writer and why?
To read the answer to these and more interview questions, please come back tomorrow for Day 2 of our interview with Robin Lee Hatcher!
Robin is giving away a copy of Beloved to one lucky winner. To be entered in the drawing, leave a comment with your e-mail address and answer Robin's question which, I'm delighted to say, is accompanied by an adorable photo. :)
Here is Robin's question:
I love my dog and cat, Poppet and Pinky (See their photo on the right). If you were getting a new puppy or kitten today, what would you name it?
Come back tomorrow for the rest of our interview with Robin Lee Hatcher!