“I’ve never been to Idaho.”
My hubby, Bill, knows his
geography. “It’s one state east of Oregon, north of Nevada and Utah,
west of Montana, west of Wyoming. The northwestern part boarders
Washington state. Remember Washington state?”
“Yes” In fact it was
in 1969 I flew from Long Island to Whidbey Island, Washington, to meet
up with my then brand-new husband. He had been stationed at the navel
base on Whidbey Island, and as newlyweds we were setting up
housekeeping for the first time. . . 3000 miles away from everyone in
our family “Of course I remember. We had to depend on each
other . . .”
“Back then even the long distance phone calls to our families didn’t
fit in too well with our meager budget. Snail mail, thirteen cents per
letter, really slowed communications! Especially when you need to
quickly find out how to cook roast beef when the oven doesn’t have a
“You’re making me laugh, Bill.
We read and reread the recipe . . . and just couldn’t figure it out.”
Bill smirked. “Remember finally
walking over to the neighbor’s house, with roasting pan and seasoned
beef?” (At that time our neighbor was much wiser than we . . .
and much older. She had to have been at least twenty-five!)
“That’s when I told her, ‘We
have a very old, out-of-date oven. It just has a BAKE knob and a BROIL
knob, but the recipe says roast at 325 degrees for
twenty minutes per pound. Do you have a ROAST knob on your oven? And
could we please use it just this one time?’”
Bill shook his head.
almost choked, bit her lip . . .”
“Then she grinned and kept
smiling. At least she didn’t laugh! Instead she explained ever so
sweetly as possible: ‘Your oven is fine. The BAKE knob will do.’ Egad!
I wonder if the author this month has ever been to Washington. The
whole state has probably heard about that one.”
Bill laughed. “I wouldn’t worry
’bout that. Who are you meeting with?”
“Robin Lee Hatcher. And I’m
making us a picnic lunch to take along.”
Robin Lee Hatcher pursued her
vocation as a novelist after many years of literally reading everything
she could put her hands on. During her career she has won many
outstanding awards: the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian
Fiction, the RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance, two RT Career
Achievement Awards (Americana Romance and Inspirational Fiction), and
the RWA Lifetime Achievement Award. Robin is also listed with the Library
Journal as having one of the Best Books of 2004.
Robin resides in Boise, Idaho,
and enjoys being with her family, her loyal canine friend, and spending
time in the beautiful Idaho outdoors. She loves reading books that make
her cry and watching romantic movies. Robin is passionate about her
life as a writer . . . an enthusiasm brought out by her relationship
with God and her continuous desire to serve Him.
Praise God, its spring, it’s sunny; it’s a perfect April day in Boise,
Idaho. Knowing that Robin Lee Hatcher likes the Idaho Shakespeare
Festival, I suggested we meet, talk, and catch a show. Only . . . the
seasonal outdoor amphitheater doesn’t open until May.
However, the grounds, gardens,
and beautiful walking paths are open all year. A picnic seemed like a
perfect idea. I’ve learned a little bit over the years and baked
homemade bread for tuna salad sandwiches. I packed cool, refreshing
pink lemonade, and as a special treat cherry cheesecake for dessert,
Robin’s favorite. We meet at the entrance and stroll in the fresh air,
through beautiful paths lined in shrubbery and greens to a perfect spot
on a charming patio with lots of white tables and chairs.
Robin suggests, “Shall we have
“Yes, we can enjoy lunch and
You live in Boise, Idaho, and hearing that, I think potatoes.
Have you or anyone in your family farmed these tasty wonders?
The right soil for potatoes is in the eastern side of the state.
Western Idaho is known more for corn, hay, hops, fruit orchards, etc.
Still, do you eat a lot of potatoes? What’s your favorite way of
don’t eat a lot of potatoes, but when I have them, I love a baked
potato with butter and bacon bits.
Yum! You have a Papillon: show dog, or primarily a pet? What makes
Poppet is a pure pet. She is an inch too tall for the breed standard,
so I couldn’t have shown her even if I wanted to. If I had the time to
train her, she would be wonderful as an agility dog. She’s very fast
and too smart for her own good. Or rather too smart for my good.
How did you come up with the name Poppet?
have always loved that English term of endearment. Poppet is derived
from the French word poupette. I first heard it in Mrs.Doubtfire
and then later in Pirates of the Caribbean.
Poppet’s AKC registered name is French: Ma Poupette des Bois,
which means “My Small Doll of the Woods.” France is the origin of
Papillons; it’s said Marie Antoinette took two Papillons beneath her
skirts to the guillotine.
Oh, very interesting! I like that. Have you always had this breed of
Over the course of my life I’ve had quite a few different breeds of
dogs, some purebreds and some pure mutts. When my last cat was aging, I
was weary of the cat box and I decided I would get a small dog rather
than another cat. I owned two larger breed dogs at the time that were
mostly outdoor animals. I didn’t know what kind of dog I wanted except
small and low maintenance in terms of grooming. On Thanksgiving Day,
while fixing the turkey, I had the National Dog Show on the TV and saw
my very first Papillon. I was smitten immediately and began researching
the breed and then looking for a breeder. I settled on a kennel in
South Dakota and in March flew there to pick up my new companion.
Seven years of ballet, various theater productions, and you said you
wanted most to be a movie star. What type movie had you fantasized
being in? What role?
great question. I would have wanted to play Scarlet in Gone
with the Wind. What a great character.
Fits you. With live theater you had to audition. How did you prepare
yourself mentally for it?
director told me I was a “natural-born ham.” It’s true. Point a
spotlight on me, and I come to life. I didn’t ever need to mentally
prepare for an audition. I was always ready.
What changed your mind about
taking on Hollywood?
married right out of school and started my family. I wanted that much
more than I wanted an acting career. While still in my twenties, I
performed with a small Christian theater troupe, but when I began
writing, something had to give. I was a mom with a full-time job, and I
couldn’t fit both writing and acting into my spare time. I chose
Quite often I yearn to feel
God’s presence. You’ve mentioned Ephesians
2:10. Please tell me about this verse. Where were you when you heard
was October 1997, and I was in church. I had been praying for direction
for six months, ever since I’d awakened from a dream and knew it was
the opening for a book, one that couldn’t be written in the general
market. I needed to know whether or not it was God’s will that I change
career direction. Six months and I hadn’t received a clear answer. Then
as I sat in church while a missionary from Sri Lanka was talking, God
spoke to my heart through Ephesians 2:10: For we are His
workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared
beforehand so that we would walk in them. I heard Him very
clearly telling me that He had already prepared the works for me so
that I could walk in them, and that what He asked of me was to be
completely sold out to Him. And I knew that His purpose for me was to
write stories that glorified Him.
Describe your feelings when you recognized that this verse had meaning
for you and your writing, and why.
shook all over. It was a very powerful and memorable moment, one of
those rare times when God’s voice is almost audible.
How many books do you have in print right now?
Love Blooms (February 2009) is my fifty-ninth release. And
I’ve finished writing the first two books in the Sisters of Bethlehem
Springs trilogy, A Vote of Confidence (May 2009)
and Fit to Be Tied (November 2009).
Wow! When did you switch over from ABA to CBA fiction?
first book for the CBA, The Forgiving Hour, was
released ten years ago, in February 1999.
I noticed you have Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn . . . and the list
goes on. Obviously you believe blogging is important. For new writers
and seasoned pros like yourself, how much time do you recommend
spending doing this kind of networking?
think this is such an individual decision. For some writers, they are
better off staying away from these things because they are too
distracting. For others, they can be beneficial. I don’t spend a lot of
time on any of these social networking sites. Perhaps thirty to sixty
minutes a day. And I decide when I visit them. They don’t control me. I
don’t post if I’m too busy. I’m a ten on the extrovert scale, and I’m
energized by interaction with others.
But it is far more important
that writers spend time writing the very best book they can rather than
blogging or networking via Facebook and/or Twitter. Better to do
nothing else than to steal from their writing time.
What did you do before (say, twenty years ago) you had all these
was active in RWA (Romance Writers of America), so I had many wonderful
relationships with other writers, both in local chapters and in the
You are author of well over fifty novels. How many were prior
to and after The Forgiving Hour?
wrote thirty books for the general mass market (1984 to 1999).
Beginning with The Forgiving Hour, I’ve had
twenty-nine books released in the CBA (1999 to 2009), with two more
books to be released this year.
You said of The Forgiving Hour, “It was a book that
I have never felt ‘ownership’ for. It’s always belonged to the Lord.”
Why this one?
took a number of experiences from my life and used them in that book in
a powerful way. It’s the longest manuscript I’ve ever written, and the
words just poured out of me. I wrote it in less than four months.
Have you felt this same kind of passion, or I should say, felt this
connected to any of your other novels?
there are several titles that seem to have come from a deeper place
inside me, some because of painful and/or powerful lessons God had
taught me or was teaching me through the writing. In addition to The
Forgiving Hour, those books are The Shepherd’s
Voice, Ribbon of Years, Beyond the Shadows, and Return
But I never write a book that
I’m not passionate or excited about at the time. Some of my books have
a lighter tone than others, but I love the characters and their stories
for totally different reasons. If I didn’t love the idea and the
characters, I wouldn’t spend all that time writing the book. I would
write something else.
Before we finish up here, I have to ask you about American
Idol. The weekly show has had me hooked for at least the past
four years. I am so happy you like to watch it too. So, my question is
who are you leaning toward for the “top two” this year?
Sorry, it is way too soon for me to have a firm favorite. I am an early
fan of Danny Gokey. I enjoy his voice and I admire him, admire the way
he is handling his loss. Even before I knew he was a Christian, I
thought his faith showed through in the brief clips American
Idol showed in the early weeks. He may not be my ultimate
favorite. Only time will tell.
Well, I suppose it’s time to get going. So, last question: I know you
have been asked many questions during your career, but is there any one
thing you would like to share with your fans? Something you haven’t
been asked but think they would enjoy hearing about?
I come to the end of my life, I want to be remembered as a woman who
walked faithfully with her God. I pray that the words I write will
always bring honor to Him. I also hope that reading my books will make
readers want to read God’s Word too, for it’s His written word that can
change a person’s heart.
And I believe you will. Thank you, Robin. It’s been a pleasure spending
the afternoon with you. Take care and God bless.
Valerie Anne Faulkner, a New
York native, moved to the Gulf Coast of Florida in 1973. Author of
I Must Be in Heaven, a promise kept… she spends her
days working side by side with her husband, Bill, as an electrician,
then evenings, as a writer. The CFOM interviews
have been a great way for her to meet other authors and hone her
writing craft. This back-porch writer’s family is very important to
her, and she cherishes time spent with her three grown children and six
grandchildren. A few hours with family or a day enjoying one of
Florida’s Gulf beaches are her favorite ways to relieve stress and
refresh from her busy lifestyle. Valerie’s motto is “A day with prayer
. . . seldom unravels.”
Recently her story was honored
with First Place-Royal Palm Literary Award in the published/memoir
category at the Florida Writer’s Conference held in Lake
Visit her at www.imustbeinheaven.com