Friday, October 10, 2008

Author Interview: Donna Hatch

My Author Interview today is with debut Regency Romance novelist Donna Hatch. Donna is a busy wife and mother of six who lives in Arizona. The Stranger She Married comes out today from The Wild Rose Press. It is available in several ebook formats, including Kindle, and will appear in trade paperback next April.

Welcome, Donna! How long have you been writing? What made you start?
I have been writing since the second grade. I started with short stories about camping, or spending the night with a friend. Later, I moved on to mysteries and spin-offs from favorite TV shows or books. I wrote my first full-length romance novel when I was 15. And no, it will never see the light of day! Nor will the other four I wrote since then. I also wrote articles and short stories for a high school independent newspaper.

When did you sell your first book?
My first book comes out today, October 10th. I sold it a little over a year ago.

What type of writer are you? Do you plan ahead/plot or do you simply fly by the seat of your pants?
I'm a combination writer. Before I ever write the story, I have the characters fairly well fleshed out, and I have a vague idea of where I'm going with the plot, and often a few key scenes. Much of the rest of it comes as I write. Sometimes, I visualize a scene first, almost like watching a movie, and then create plot and characters based off of that.

How do you choose your characters' names?
I sometimes have a name from the beginning, but often I'll hear one that resonates. If nothing else, I cruise baby name sites and look for names that seem to fit both the character and setting. I have a couple of favorite names in mind that are just waiting for stories to match them.

What is your daily schedule like?
I get up at 6:30 and get my children off to school, and then I run errands or do housework or pay bills or whatever. (Housework has become a fairly low priority) Then I spend three or four hours writing or editing before I go to work every afternoon in an office. Evenings are spent doing the wife and mommy thing; dinner, homework, etc. After the children are in bed, I do research, read my emails, do critiques for my critique partners. Sometimes I manage to read something for pleasure. Rare. I try to practice the harp for about half an hour to an hour, and then I go to bed usually around 10:30 or 11:00.

How do you handle life interruptions?
I have six children; my life is all about interruptions! Sometimes I handle the interruptions with grace, and sometimes I get snippy. The interruption that bugs me the most is the phone, and usually when I'm writing I let the voice mail pick it up; otherwise it often turns into a long conversation that eats up my writing time.

Do you write with music playing? If so, is the music likely to be songs with lyrics or only instrumentals?
I sometimes write with music, but I don't need it for the creative process. I prefer instrumental rather than music with lyrics. I like harp and piano music best, or classical.

What food or snack keeps the words flowing?
I don't typically eat when I write. I usually immerse myself in writing so much that I forget to eat until I'm starving.

Oh, me too! What one thing do you like most about writing? Least?
I love writing the story for the first time, so the rough draft is by far my favorite. I also really like brainstorming the plot and the characters before I begin, too. Meeting with my critique partner every week and hammering out problems or tossing around ideas is also really fun and productive.

My least favorite part is getting criticism, followed closely by editing.

Tell us about your novel, The Stranger She Married.
It is Book One of the "Rogue Hearts" series.

When her parents and only brother die within weeks of each other, Alicia and her younger sister are left in the hands of an uncle who has brought them all to financial and social ruin.
Desperate to save her family from debtor's prison, Alicia vows to marry the first wealthy man to propose. She meets the dashing Lord Amesbury, and her heart whispers that this is the man she is destined to love, but his tainted past may forever stand in their way. Her choices in potential husbands narrow to either a scarred cripple with the heart of a poet, or a handsome rake with a deadly secret.

Cole Amesbury is tormented by his own ghosts, and believes he is beyond redemption, yet he cannot deny his attraction for the girl whose genuine goodness touches the heart he'd thought long dead. He fears the scars in his soul cut so deeply that he may never be able to offer Alicia a love that is true.

When yet another bizarre mishap threatens her life, Alicia suspects the seemingly unrelated accidents that have plagued her loved ones are actually a killer's attempt to exterminate every member of her family. Despite the threat looming over her, learning to love the stranger she married may pose the greatest danger of all…to her heart.

What is your next project?
There are four books in the Rogue Hearts series; each about one of the four brothers of the Amesbury family. I'm putting the final touches on Book Two of the "Rogue Hearts" series called The Guise of a Gentleman, which is about Jared, who is a pirate, and the lady who captures his heart. I hope to have that released in May or June of next year. Book Three is rough-drafted, and Book Four is still in the planning stages.

And I have a 15 page novella coming out soon called Troubled Hearts, also a Regency Romance. It's finished and in the hands of the publisher.

What is your advice for other writers?
Work to develop your craft. Take classes, read books about how to write, re-read your favorite books and analyze why exactly you love them, and read best-sellers and do the same thing with them. Most of all, be persistent. You have to love writing more than almost anything, and sacrifice almost anything in order to make it as a writer. I had to give up a lot when I first decided to get serious about getting published. I didn't give up my family, of course, but just about everything else; TV, hobbies like scrapbooking, a lot of reading time, you name it. It wasn't until I was willing to give up all that, plus work, work, work, and learn, learn, learn, that I got serious enough to get published.

What other work of yours has been published?
This is my first one.

Thank you for the Interview.
Thanks for having me.

Donna can be found on the Internet at the following places:


  1. Great interview, Donna and Marsha! Congratulations on your book, Donna!!!

  2. Christine4:33 PM

    How great to hear about a writer who is able "to do it all" - a busy family and a dedication to her craft and creativity! Great interview!
    Congratulations to you both!

  3. Loved the interview! It's always fun to find out what makes other writers "tick". Also gives me inspiration to try to "tick" as well. :-)

    By the way, having critiqued a version of The Stranger I Married before it was published, I can vouch for what an excellent and exciting book Donna has written!

  4. I really loved this interview. Thanks, Marsha. You do a great job.

  5. Wow, the description of your book is intriguing! It sounds like you have a lot of great ideas. Thanks for the writing advice!

  6. Good interview. I think Donna will do very well with her writing career. The fastidious approach she takes to writing is professional and the plot synopsis to the Rogue series first book sounds very interesting. Also impressed with her work ethic! Six kids, practicing musician and a job AND starting a book series? Impressive!


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