A tremendously prolific and well-known writer, Ms. Hatcher says: “I write women’s fiction, both contemporary and historical, and romance, both contemporary and historical. I love to combine two time periods and have written a number of dual-time novels as well. I wrote 30 books for the general mass market, but for the past 22 years I’ve written for the Christian fiction market. I just finished writing what will be my 84th release.”
Do you have a writing routine? Where and when do you write?
I’m a full-time writer so I have to have a routine. I rise early (between 4:30 and 6:00 am). I have a morning devotional time, then I declutter my inbox. I’m usually writing between 7 and 8 am. I write in my home office. I can usually create new words for about four hours a day. The rest of the time is taken up with what I call “the business of writing.” That includes revisions, editing, page proofing, answering publisher and agent emails, completing marketing forms, cover design, back cover copy, accounting, etc.
Do you have any patterns or rituals associated with your writing time?
No. I just open Scrivener and begin writing.
What do you do when you hit a wall with your writing?
I spend some time on the treadmill. I call a writer friend and brainstorm or I just brainstorm on paper. I take a nap. I play with my dog.
The eternal question: Are you a “pantser”, a “plotter”, or something else entirely?
I’m a pantser. I love to brainstorm, so I gather ideas and have a general idea about the story. But mostly I write to discover what will happen, just as my readers read to see what will happen.
What’s the last book you read that made you go “wow!”?
Hidden Among the Stars by Melanie Dobson was the last one (wonderful, poignant, memorable), but the book I may have raved about the most in recent months was Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein.
What book or author do you often find yourself recommending and why?
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers (the movie will release this year). It has been on the ECPA bestseller list since 1997. How many books have been a bestseller for 23+ years? That alone should explain the power of this novel. I read all of Francine’s books, and many are among my favorites. But Redeeming Love is special.
What’s on your To Be Read pile?
It’s an ever changing list, but as of this writing, here are a few:
- The Blue Parakeet by Scot McKnight
- Colors of Truth by Tamera Alexander
- The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah
- The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson
What advice do you have for readers?
Advice for readers? That’s something I’ve never been asked before. Hmm. I guess it would be the same as for writers: Read widely. Read fiction and non-fiction. Biographies and memoirs. Light humor and gripping drams. We all have favorite genres that are our go-to reads, but dabble outside of that favorite from time to time. It will enrich your life. Last year I read The Reading Life by C.S. Lewis. It was such a wonderful reminder of how blessed people are when they love to read.
What author, past or present, would you wish to have a long conversation with?
Many to choose from. I think I’ll go with the Apostle Paul. He wrote the better share of the New Testament. I would love to sit down and talk about that.
What’s the first book you can remember reading on your own?
I’m really not sure. I still have several paperbacks from my childhood, and it was probably one of these two: Irish Red or Champion Dog: Prince Tom. I owned and read the entire Trixie Belden series, but I don’t think any of those were my first books read on my own.
What books and/or authors have most influenced you as an author?
Francine Rivers first, but my list of influencers is very long. Francine is just the starting point.
What do you most enjoy about being a writer?
Brainstorming books with other authors.
What do you least enjoy about being a writer?
Writing back cover copy or synopses.
What would you tell a new writer?
Read, read, read, and write, write, write. Don’t be overwhelmed by the number of words or pages you need to write. Remember that if you write one page per day, you’ll have a 365 page book at the end of a year. And you can’t edit or revise anything that hasn’t been written yet. So write it even if you think it’s bad. Bad can be made better. Unwritten can’t be fixed. And finally, there is no right way to write a novel. You must find what works for you. Try all the various pieces of advice, keep what works and throw out the rest.
What might people be surprised to know about you?
One of my ancestors, my great-great-grandfather, was written about by Carl Sandburg in his biography of Abraham Lincoln, The Prairie Years.
Thanks to author Robin Lee Hatcher for participating in our Idaho Author Interview series. If you’re interested, or would like to recommend someone, please contact the IWU website editor.