Monday, November 13, 2006


On Friday, I featured novelist Robin Lee Hatcher and her 50th release, A Carol for Christmas. In that post, I covered her story of success in Christ. I'm honored to feature her on my blog. Robin is the winner of the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction, the RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance, and the Romance Writers of America Lifetime Achievement Award. Robin has achieved so much in her field of writing and has so many accolades to her name, I couldn't list them all. Click HERE to see her website.

A Carol for Christmas is available in stores, and on and It'll make a great Christmas gift, and buy one for yourself. The cover is so pretty, it'll look nice on your coffee table throughout the Christmas season. Be sure and read a description about this heartwarming Christmas story at the bottom of this post. Melanie Dickerson, thanks for commenting on my blog. Your free copy of A Carol for Christmas is on its way. Please consider posting a favorable online review to support Christian fiction.


Now, the story of Robin Lee Hatcher's story of success in the field of writing.
Robin says…

--- As a young wife and mother, I lived life. I experienced people. I met heartache face-to-face. I developed empathy, one of the most critical tools for a novelist (to have the ability to put oneself, in heart and mind, into someone's shoes and understand what they think and feel). As it turned out for the career I would one day have, that was the best thing that could happen to me.

--- I gobbled up books. Historical sagas and romances for the most part. I was learning a lot about writing during this time, although I didn't think of it as a learning period. I thought I was simply escaping into wonderful stories of love and adventure.

--- I was a stay-at-home mom to two girls under the age of five. I had recently purchased a Sears electric typewriter. Believe me, it was one rickety clackity little machine. I remember snow falling outside my dining room windows as I sat at the table typing on that noisy, clackity, humming machine. I began to write a story about a young mom whose husband was serving in Vietnam. I wrote seven or nine pages then set it aside.

--- I didn't think I want to write a novel or I want to be published. I was just playing at storytelling. I never thought about being a writer. I simply wrote for the fun of it, because I wanted to. Had to, maybe.

--- Over the next 7+ years, my writing remained journals and letters. My sister-in-law used to pass around my letters to neighbors because she thought they were so entertaining. I found that weird. Why would perfect strangers want to read something I wrote? My s-i-l, yes. She was family. But her neighbors? Didn't make sense to me. But I guess they were my trial run.

--- Buying horses got me involved with a small horse association. That involvement led to me volunteering to do the monthly newsletter. After so many issues of "winter is here; give your horse more grain," I grew bored with the non-fiction articles. I started writing more creative filler pieces, like what my filly looked like running through the snow beside her dam. There was something about that regular writing exercise that stirred up a desire in me.

--- I read an article in the newspaper about a local author who had sold her first romance novel. Talk about stirring up a desire in me. For the first time, I thought of writing as something more than a fun thing to do in private, something just for me. It was possible to write a novel and get it published.

--- The desire morphed into a dream.

--- I continued my reading habit, devouring novels. That fateful day, that fateful book. It was A-W-F-U-L!! The characters were wooden. I spoke the infamous words: "If she can get published, I can get published."

--- That statement reveals total ignorance. When we say those words, we have no clue how hard it is to write a "real" book.

--- I spoke them, and I knew I had to put my money where my mouth was. I took a yellow legal pad and wrote the opening line of what would become my first novel: Morning burst upon the fields of Spring Haven with bright sunshine and blue skies.

--- Here's one thing I have learned: We must always write our best if we are serious about a writing career, but we can only write the best book we are capable of at the time.

--- I poured myself into that story. I bought a copy of Strunk and White's Elements of Style. I bought research books and immersed myself in them. I read books on manuscript format and plotting and characterization. And I wrote. I turned my imagination loose in a whole new way.

--- I finished the book eight months later. Now what?

--- Twenty-one submissions went out to New York publishers.

--- Two requested to see the full manuscript. The rest sent form rejection letters.

--- I shipped off two copies of the requested manuscript.

--- Full of hope, I got to work on the sequel. I advise all aspiring writers to do this. Ship off your book and go to work on the next one. Otherwise, the waiting will kill you. And unless all you ever want to write is one book, this is good practice for the future when you may have deadlines, one right after the other.

--- Later, I would learn that over 100,000 novels were written every year and less than 1% of them got published, but at the time, I didn't know the odds were stacked against me. (Side Note: I'm pretty sure there are more than 100k novels written per year nowadays, but I doubt the percentage that gets published has changed much, even with the many self-publishing options readily available.)

--- Wonder of wonders! I received a contract offer from one of the two publishers. I was going to be published!

--- I still didn't have my advance check six weeks later. I'd finished writing the sequel. I called the publisher. They would check into it. I waited then called again. The phone lines had been disconnected.

--- I learned the publisher had gone bankrupt. I also learned I was going to be unemployed as the place where I worked was closing its doors. The next blow was I had to move because our rented house was being sold.

--- This was not a great time in my life!

--- God was good to us, though. We found a better home, and I found new employment without missing any paychecks.

--- But what about the publisher situation? I'd signed a contract. Was it still binding? Was I free to sell that book again or not?

--- I didn't write that fall. I was busy settling into a new home and job. I had two completed manuscripts and didn't know what to do with them. And, of course, it's tough being a single parent to a teenager and a pre-teen. Thankfully, my widowed mom helped.

--- The following February, I received a letter with a postmark nearly a year-and-a-half old that had been forwarded two times.

--- I opened it.

--- I burst into tears. My mom and daughters were asking, "What's wrong? What is it?"

--- It was an offer from the publisher who had acquired the assets of the bankrupt company. They were offering to publish my novel.

--- With a few short strokes of the pen, I agreed to sell it. Via phone call, I asked if the editor might be interested in the sequel. She was.

--- Would wonders never cease?!?

--- Finally, the books were set for release. I counted off the days and the minutes in breathless anticipation. Hey, once they were in print, fame and fortune weren't far behind. Right?

--- Uh huh. (No.)

To read Robin Lee Hatcher's complete story of success in the field of writing, click HERE. However, once you reach this page, scroll all the way to the bottom and start reading the March 11, 2005 post entitled "Life Happened." This will put you at the beginning of her roller-coaster writing journey.


A description of Robin Lee Hatcher's 50th release, A Carol for Christmas…

Never underestimate the true spirit of Christmas …Carol Burke was born to sing. It was the life she had always dreamed of. There was only one thing she loved more, one person for whom she would willingly sacrifice her dreams: Jonathan Burke. Married against their parents’ wishes, both are determined to make a life together despite the hardships. Jonathan works hard at his father’s department store, leaving Carol alone in their tiny apartment. But long hours turn into late nights, thanks to Jonathan’s insatiable desire to prove himself to his father … even at the expense of the one he loves best.

Into the midst of an increasingly empty marriage comes an unexpected chance for Carol to sing again. Is this the opportunity of a lifetime, or a time for her to let go and trust her future to God? Carol knows one thing: she longs most of all to share her first Christmas with Jonathan, creating their own memories and traditions and breathing new life into their marriage.

Then a broken promise leaves her wondering. Can anything, anyone—even God—heal her crumbling hopes? The answer comes when Carol finds herself face-to-face with the true spirit of Christmas …


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