I love writing historical romances because (a) studying history has always been an interest of mine and (b) I’m a romantic at heart. I wrote 27 historical romances for the general mass market before I answered God’s call on my heart to write faith-focused fiction. At that time, I began writing contemporary women’s fiction that dealt with somewhat weightier topics, issues that many women and men face today such as marriages in crisis, alcoholism, fear in uncertain times, etc.
Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
Sorry. Must name two days: the days my daughters were born. My daughters are my finest legacies.
How has being published changed your life?
Gracious! I’ve been doing this so long that I hardly remember the “old” life. I started writing my first book in 1981 and it was published in 1984. I worked a full time job until 1990 when, the month my ninth book was published, I quit my job to write full time. That’s what I’ve been doing ever since, and I feel very privileged to be someone who makes a living doing what I love most.
Writing has brought me a large circle of friends. That’s certainly been one of the highlights of being published, having a community of friends who also hear voices in their heads.
I agree that the community of Christian writing friends is one of the best benefits of being an author. What are you reading right now?
As I answer this question, I have just finished reading a book for endorsement, Yesterday’s Embers by Deborah Raney (excellent!). Next up on my Kindle is Try Darkness by James Scott Bell.
Those are both really good books. What is your current work in progress?
By the time this interview is published (I’m writing it 7 months in advance), my WIP will be something I haven’t even thought of yet. But right now, I’m working on the second book in The Sisters of Bethlehem Springs series. The series features heroines who have jobs/careers that are unusual for women to hold their day. The first book, A Vote of Confidence, features Gwen who is running for mayor of Bethlehem Springs. The second book features a female wrangler on a cattle ranch.
What would be your dream vacation?
I would love to spend a month in England and Ireland. Visits to Tuscany and Venice run close seconds.
How do you choose your settings for each book?
Most of my books are set in Idaho. I love my state and love sharing it with readers. Sometimes a book demands an actual setting. Sometimes a book needs a fictional town surrounded by reality. I let the characters tell me.
If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
Since I’m answering this interview just before the November 2008 elections, I have to say I would love to spend an evening with Governor Sarah Palin (who once was a small town mayor like the heroine of A Vote of Confidence). I find her a fascinating woman, someone who has achieved a great deal while holding true to important values such as family and supporting a culture of life. Whether or not she is VP by the time this interview is posted, I would love a chance to visit with her.
I would love to sit down with her, too. What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
I took up knitting again after about a 25-year break and have really enjoyed making things for others.
What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
Making things hard enough for my main characters, especially when I’m writing historical romances. (It’s a little easier to “torture” my contemporary characters.) Once I fall in love with my hero and heroine, I want them to fall in love with each other and to live HEA. So I have to resist the urge to make things too simple early on in the story. To overcome it, I have to remind myself that once I make it hard for them, the next step is to make it harder for them. And then make it harder still. If I fail to do so, my editors are great at reminding me to do so.
What advice would you give to a beginning author?
If God has called you to write, then write whether or not you ever get published. Persevere. Study the craft. Write one book, then another and another and another. You will learn far more by writing your novels than you will from any “how-to” books.
Tell us about the featured book.
In A Vote of Confidence (May 2009, Zondervan), the stage is set for some intriguing insight into what it was like during 1915 to be a woman in a “man’s world.”
Guinevere Arlington is a beautiful young woman determined to remain in charge of her own life. For seven years, Gwen has carved out a full life in the bustling town of Bethlehem Springs, Idaho, where she teaches piano and writes for the local newspaper. Her passion for the town, its people, and the surrounding land prompt Gwen to run for mayor. After all, who says a woman can’t do a man’s job?
But stepping outside the boundaries of convention can get messy. A shady lawyer backs Gwen, believing he can control her once she’s in office. A wealthy newcomer throws his hat into the ring in an effort to overcome opposition to the health resort he’s building north of town. And when the opponents fall in love, everything changes, forcing Gwen to face what she may have to lose in order to win.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
My web site is at http://www.robinleehatcher.com/
I blog at Write Thinking: http://robinlee.typepad.com/
On Facebook, I can be found at: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=714395468
Robin Lee, thank you for spending this time with us. We'll have to feature the female wrangler book, too.
Readers, if you can't wait to get your hands on A Vote of Confidence, here's a link where you can order it:
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