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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Interview with Regency Author Donna Hatch

Historical Hussies: If money were no object would you prefer domestic help or would you cook and clean yourself?

Donna:Are you kidding me? I’d LOVE to give the job of cooking and cleaning to someone else! Can I have them do the laundry, too?

HH: If you could go back in time, with whom would you like to spend a day?

Donna: I’d love to spend the day with Jane Austen, not only because she was so witty and clever, but I’d love to clear up a few historical mysteries about that time period. And I’d probably want more than just a day.

HH: What's the bravest thing you've ever done?

Donna: Would you believe I literally threw myself in front of a moving car to save my six year old son? Okay, so the car wasn’t moving very fast, but he’d been knocked down by the car and was underneath it, caught, and was being dragged along a gravel driveway, and his head was dangerously close to the tire. I think by the time I actually got in front of the car, it had stopped, but I’m still not sure about that.
Here’s what happened. Unbeknownst to us, my son Kurt was hiding in front of the car, planning on jumping out and saying “boo” when my husband walked around in front to get in. Unfortunately, my husband walked around the back of the car, started it and pulled forward before anyone knew what was happening. When I saw that Kurt was under the car, I screamed at my husband to stop, and then did a baseball slide underneath the front bumper to grab him. I was 8 months pregnant at the time with my third child. After a helicopter ride and a 24 hour hospital stay, Kurt came home with only minor injuries and a goodly number of stitches. Kurt is 19 now and except for a large, C-shaped scar on his head that’s only visible if his hair is really short, he has no lasting problems. He does have a healthy respect for cars and car safety, but he still likes to jump out and say “boo.”

HH: Have you been told you look like someone famous?

Donna: Oh, yeah, I’m a ringer for Angelina Jolie. Ahem. Okay, not really. Actually no one has ever said I look like someone famous. But in the morning with my frizzy hair, I resemble Medusa.

HH: What is your typical day like?

Donna: I get my children off to school (no small feat, considering I have six!), then get ready and do a little housework (and I do mean little) or run errands. Then I sit down at the computer and write, or edit, or do research. After lunch, I go to work at my part time job as a secretary. After dinner, we do homework (the children’s – not mine), and then I get them ready for bed. If bedtime goes fairly well, I have time to play the harp and then read my email or sometimes just read. I write or edit if I’m really in the “mood” or have a pressing line but usually I’m sorta burned out by night. Which is ironic in a way, because when my children were small, late at night was my best time to write. Must be getting old that I can’t say up half the night anymore. Having time to write uninterrupted during the day makes a big difference, too.

HH: When did you start to write and how long did it take you get published? How many stories did you finish before you were published?

Donna: I wrote my first story when I was 8, and my first full-length novel when I was in 7th grade. They were both so bad that they will never see the light of day (and neither will my husband if he ever posts them on the net!) About five years ago, I really got serious about writing, and I got my first book contract roughly two years later.

HH: How did you break into publishing?

Donna: The first thing I did was join a local chapter of Romance Writer’s of America. I took writing classes and workshops, got critiqued, entered contests, got more critiques, attended conferences, pitched to editors and agents, got more critiques, submitted my manuscripts to agents and editors, and found a critique group who I really trust. I never gave up, no matter how many rejections, or how discouraging the critiques were, and I kept working to learn the tools of the trade. Plus I got enough positive critiques that those helped me keep going. When I started winning writing contests that gave me a huge boost and I carefully considered the input I received from contest judges.

HH: What influenced you to write?

Donna: I’ve always loved to read, and writing seemed the next logical step. It seems to be some weird, insane compulsion. It also got me through some serious bouts of clinical depression. When I wasn’t writing stories, I wrote in my journal. Now I write when I’m happy, or sad, or anything in between. And I still read voraciously.

HH: What inspired you to write romance?

Donna: I feed off the euphoria of new love and I need a happy ending. It’s like having a piece of chocolate at the end of the day. Only not fattening. There are some great books out there, but if there isn’t enough romance, I’m disappointed. And if it doesn’t have a happy ending, I’m totally bummed out. Reading doesn’t feel like an escape if the book doesn’t end well and happy. Life throws so many challenges and disappointments that I need the escape of a great book with a satisfying ending.

HH: Tells us about your current novel.

Donna: The Stranger She Married is a sweet, yet sensual Regency romance with adventure, intrigue, a love triangle, and a terrible secret.

Torn between a disfigured war hero with the heart of a poet, and a handsome libertine who may not be all he seems, impoverished Alicia must marry by the end of the month. Despite a threat looming over her, learning to love the stranger she married may pose the greatest danger of all … to her heart.

HH: What motivated you to write your current book?

Donna: I’ve always been drawn to the arranged or forced marriage situation; two good people who are thrust together, not necessarily happy about it, but learn to fall in love and make the best of it. (No, it’s not based upon my real life!) I also enjoy love triangles. I’ve always kinda wondered what would have happened if Christine in Phantom of the Opera fell in love with the Phantom instead of the young handsome viscount. Or if maybe she’d felt really torn between them.

HH: Tell us about your other works, books, stories, etc.

Donna: I have a novella coming out in April. Here’s the backcover blurb: Desperate to escape her estranged husband and a home enshrouded with and despair, Julia flees in the middle of the night. Little does she know, her determined husband is in pursuit. Along the journey, she discovers a telling revelation. But will it be enough to banish the ghosts of the past and quiet her troubled heart?

HH: What are you working on now?

Donna: Book 2 of the “Rogue Hearts Series" called The Guise of a Gentleman which is about the brother of the hero in Book 1, The Stranger She Married. There are four books planned for this series, each about a brother of the same family, but each book is meant to be a stand-alone novel. Book two is about a spy infiltrating a pirate ring whose past comes back to haunt him…and endanger the life of the lady he loves. It’s under contract and I’m finishing final revisions suggested by my editor.

HH:How do you like your fans to contact you?

Donna: I have a place on my website that says “contact me” and I’m always happy to hear from readers (as long as they don’t bring up a research mistake I’ve made. Just kidding!)

HH: Where can we find your book?

Donna: Order the paperback on Amazon or order the ebook on line at Look for The Stranger She Married under the category “Historical” or "English Tea Rose."

HH: Thank you for joining us today.

Donna: Thanks so much for the interview!


MarthaE said...

Good interview!! Sure glad your son was okay! I love Historical Romance and arranged or forced marriages are interesting. I'll be looking forward to The Stranger She Married.

Mary Ricksen said...

My goodness, with six kids how do you find time to write at all!
The forced marriage, where their mates are chosen at birth, has always intrigued me.
What a great interview.