Michal by Jill Eileen Smith
Valerie Faulkner 

Author Interview

Valerie Faulkner Interviews Our Featured Cover Author
- Robin Lee Hatcher

Robin Lee Hatcher

“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 ‘roast’ setting.”

“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“That’s when I told her, ‘We have a very old, out-of-date oven.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?’”

When Love Blooms Bill shook his head. “She 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.”

“Let’s go!”


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 a seat?”

“Yes, we can enjoy lunch and I’ll begin.”


Valerie: You live in Boise, Idaho, and hearing that, I think potatoes. Have you or anyone in your family farmed these tasty wonders?

Robin: No. 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.

Valerie: Still, do you eat a lot of potatoes? What’s your favorite way of preparing them?

Robin: I don’t eat a lot of potatoes, but when I have them, I love a baked potato with butter and bacon bits.

Valerie: Yum! You have a Papillon: show dog, or primarily a pet? What makes him/her special?

Robin: 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.

Valerie: How did you come up with the name Poppet?

Robin: I 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.

Valerie: Oh, very interesting! I like that. Have you always had this breed of dog?

Robin: No. 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.

Valerie: 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?

Robin: Ooh, great question. I would have wanted to play Scarlet in Gone with the Wind. What a great character.

Valerie: Fits you. With live theater you had to audition. How did you prepare yourself mentally for it?

Robin: One 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.

Valerie: What changed your mind about taking on Hollywood?

Robin: I 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 writing.

Valerie: 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 this verse?

Robin: It 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.

Valerie: Describe your feelings when you recognized that this verse had meaning for you and your writing, and why.

Robin: I shook all over. It was a very powerful and memorable moment, one of those rare times when God’s voice is almost audible.

Valerie: How many books do you have in print right now?

Robin: When 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).

Valerie: Wow! When did you switch over from ABA to CBA fiction?

Robin: My first book for the CBA, The Forgiving Hour, was released ten years ago, in February 1999.

Valerie: 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?

Robin: I 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.

Valerie: What did you do before (say, twenty years ago) you had all these Internet relationships?

Robin: I was active in RWA (Romance Writers of America), so I had many wonderful relationships with other writers, both in local chapters and in the national organization.

Valerie: You are author of well over fifty novels. How many were prior to and after The Forgiving Hour?

Robin: I 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.

Valerie: 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?

Robin: God 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.

Valerie: Have you felt this same kind of passion, or I should say, felt this connected to any of your other novels?

Robin: Yes, 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 to Me.

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.

Valerie: 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?

Robin: 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.

Valerie: 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?

Robin: When 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.

Valerie: 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 Mary, Florida.

Visit her at www.imustbeinheaven.com

I Must Be In Heaven