Hi all! Grab a cup of tea – or whatever it is you like to drink – and check out this interview! Today we have author Donna Hatch visiting. She's another featured author at Arizona Dreamin' - Arizona's first romance-reader event! http://arizonadreamin.wordpress.com/ Donna Hatch’s writing awards include the Golden Rose and the prestigious Golden Quill. A self-proclaimed history geek, Donna frequently escapes to romantic worlds of yesteryear. The mother of six children, she patterns her heroes after her husband of over 20 years, who continues to prove that there really is a happily ever after.
So, Donna, what inspired you to become a writer?
I don’t know that any one thing inspired me to write. I always had stories in my head and I started writing them down when I was about 8 or so. When I was about 14, a friend ended a letter with the words; “I hope you make the best seller’s list.” I didn’t even know what she was talking about at that time. In 7th grade, an English teacher encouraged me to finish a novel I was working on and suggested I could publish it. But I had no idea what to do or how to do it. Many years later, I joined a writers group and got the guidance I needed.
When did you attempt your first story? What length was it? What's become of it?
At the age of 8, 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! I also wrote articles and short stories for a high school independent newspaper. My first novel was probably about 70 or 80 thousand words and it was basically fan fiction. My first original novel was about 130 k words and I wrote it when I was a sophomore in high school. Many years and revisions later, I finally published it with the title Queen in Exile.
How many stories did you complete before you sold your first?
Stories? About a dozen. Novels? Three. But I also have dozens in incomplete stories and novels, plus two that were lost during a computer crash. I know back up everything in at least three places.
What genre(s) do you write in? What drew you to write in it/them? What’s your favorite genre of all to write in?
I write romance, in the subgenres of fantasy and historical fiction—specifically Regency. I love romance because the main part of the plot is the relationship and how they overcome the barriers between them to finally get together. I also really thrive on the happily ever after. Fantasy and historical is wonderful because it’s a true escape into a totally new world.
What are the best and worst pieces of writing advice you ever received?
The worst was 'Write what you know.' What it should be is: 'Write what you love and want to know about.' The best is to be persistent. That’s a major part of getting published.
How do you celebrate/deal with acceptance/rejection letters?
Rejection letters hurt no matter what. The first few made me crazy and I always went back through my manuscript to find out what I could do to improve it…which isn’t a bad idea, but since literature is so subjective, a rejection doesn’t always mean there’s anything wrong with a story, it just didn’t work for that person. Now, if I get a form letter rejection, I whine to my critique partner and to my husband for a day or so, eat a lot of chocolate, then I get over it and get back to work submitting and writing. If the rejection letter is personalized, I do the same first few steps as form letter rejections, only I consider if what the editor/agent said has any merit to my work and consider whether or not anything needs to be changed. When I get acceptance “letters,” which are either emails or personal phone calls, I let out a squeal, dance all around, tell all my friends, family, authors on my writers’ loops, and generally make a lot of noise. I also go out to dinner with my hubby or my critique partner (or both) and eat chocolate. Notice chocolate works great in both cases. :)
In regard to the book you’re promoting, which actor and actress do you envision playing the roles of your hero and heroine? If there’s a villain or other characters who are pertinent to the story, who would play those parts?
Hugh Jackman would make a great Jared but he’s a little older than Jared is in the book. Maybe Zac Efron the way he appeared in The Lucky One, but with darker hair. For Elise, maybe Keri Russell or Kiera Knightley.
The book you’re promoting, is it a stand-alone story or part of a series? If it’s part of a series, please list the order the books need to be read in for maximum reading enjoyment.
It’s book two of the Rogue Hearts series. Book one is The Stranger She Married, and book two is The Guise of a Gentleman. Book three is not yet titled. I have six book planned for this series. Inspiration for the first book is hard to nail down—it was a combination of things. I often wonder about the other side of a story, and about the back stories of secondary characters in movies and books. I also like to ask “what if…?” What if the Phantom were a gentle, loving soul trapped in a scarred body? What if Christine fell in love with the Phantom instead of the handsome young aristocrat? Anyway, my story started out like that and then took on a life of its own. I love romances, love triangles, and a twist of intrigue, so that’s all in there.
Book two was inspired by a secondary character in the book, Jared, the hero’s brother, who was a pirate and walked into the story so fun and fully formed that I had to give him his own book. He sorta demanded it. Writing his story was a lot like running after him writing what he did as fast as I could. When I had to take a break to proof my galleys for the first book, I started dreaming about Jared so vividly that I found it very distracting.
*** Now for some fun info… ***
What’s your favorite color?
I love pink and blue equally. I guess that makes me a two timer.
Are you a cat, dog or both kind of person?
Definitely cats. I have three, although it’s a long story why. I only meant to have two, but well, it happens. Okay, I confess, at the moment, because of one our cats had a litter of kittens, I currently have eight, but five will be leaving in a month or so and we’ll be back down to three. Then everyone will get fixed so there won’t be any more kittens at our house, tempting us to keep them because they’re so cute.
Which do you prefer: rain or sun & warm weather or cold weather?
I love cool, rainy days because in Arizona, we have so few of them that they are a treat. And I love the smell of rain on the desert!
Are you a morning person or night owl?
I’m naturally a night owl, but my children’s school schedule makes that hard to do, so I keep the morning person schedule under extreme protest. I can’t wait for summer vacation!
*** About Donna's book… ***
The widowed Elise is a perfect English lady living within the confines of society for the sake of her impressionable young son. Her quiet world is shattered when she meets the impulsive and scandalous Jared Amesbury. His roguish charm awakens her yearning for freedom and adventure. But his irrepressible grin and sea-green eyes hide a secret.
A gentleman by day, a pirate by night, Jared accepts one last assignment before he can be truly free. Elise gives him hope that he, too, can find love and belonging. His hopes are crushed when his best laid plans go awry and Elise is dragged into his world of violence and deceit. She may not survive the revelation of Jared’s past…or still love him when the truth is revealed.
“Combining Jane Austen with swashbuckling adventure, The Guise of a Gentleman is a fine specimen of pirate romance!” ~ NY Times bestselling author Jennifer Ashley
Order directly from The Wild Rose Press
Available in paperback or Kindle at Amazon
Available in paperback or Nook at Barnes and Noble
***Find Donna here***
Thank you for joining us here today, Donna! It was a pleasure getting to know you and your work.
GIVEAWAY! Only lucky commenter will receive a free digital copy of my Pirate Regency romance novel, The Guise of a Gentleman. If you want additional chances to win, “like” my Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/RomanceAuthorDonnaHatch. You can also receive another chance to win by following me on Twitter http://twitter.com/donnahatch. Entry period into the drawing will be open from today, May 29, to Monday, June 4. I will draw a winner after 6 PM pacific time on June 4 then contact them, so remember to leave an email address! Good luck!