|Valerie Anne Faulkner
interviews Robin Lee Hatcher
Christian Fiction On-line Magazine, April, 2009
|Robin Lee Hatcher
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
“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
“That’s when I told her, ‘We have a very old, out-of-date oven.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. “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.”
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
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,
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
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
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
Valerie: Have you felt this same kind of passion or I should say, felt this connected to any of your other
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
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.