Category: Robin Lee Hatcher

Welcome, Robin Lee Hatcher

robinleeWhen my dear friend and fellow novelist Robin Lee Hatcher’s marriage ended in divorce some years ago, she remembers being devastated. In the following years she learned that sometimes God answers prayer in the most unexpected ways. God used the pain of what appeared to be a failed marriage to draw her closer. I am happy to welcome Robin to my blog home today to talk about her new book, A Promise Kept, which was born from that difficult experience.

Q: Can you tell us a little bit about A Promise Kept and specifically how your own life inspired this story?
Robin: A Promise Kept opens as Allison Kavanagh arrives at the house her aunt Emma bequeathed to her — a log home in the mountains. Her marriage of more than twenty years has ended in divorce because of her husband’s alcoholism. She was so certain God had promised to save her marriage, but obviously she was wrong. Now she is moving from Boise to Kings Meadow to start life afresh and find a way to heal from her heartbreak.

Like Allison, my marriage ended in divorce because of my husband’s alcoholism. I was devastated because I’d been so convinced God had promised me He would save our marriage. I had believed His promise through many difficult times, but it hadn’t come to pass. I knew God didn’t lie. Therefore, I must have misunderstood.

But God had many things to teach me in the following years, including that He answers prayers in totally unexpected ways and in His own time, not mine. One of those unexpected ways was realized when my husband and I were remarried more than five years later. God used the divorce to save our marriage!

Q: So how does your husband feel this book and your story as a couple kind of being out in the open?
Robin: Thanks so much for asking this question. In order to honor my husband, I made certain from the very beginning that he was on-board for me to write about and talk about our marriage — which would mean talking about him and his battles with addiction. His response was, “If my story can help someone else, use it.”

PromiseKeptQ: How much of your main character’s situation is based on your own life?
Robin: While my characters are never me — I allow them to be individuals and allow their lives to unfold in their own way — there are always pieces of me in them. Allison’s life is not the same as mine. I didn’t retreat to a mountain cabin nor have an aunt whose journals helped me discover truths I needed to know, nor did I withdraw from God during the depths of my grief as Allison does. But every lesson God teaches me eventually makes its way into one of my stories. That was certainly true of A Promise Kept.

Q: Because of what you went through, what do you say now to someone who feels like God has abandoned her?
Robin: Hold onto Him no matter what. We only see such a tiny scrap of reality. God sees the whole picture. He knows you intimately, and He loves you extravagantly. He hasn’t abandoned you.

Faith isn’t about feelings. We cannot trust our feelings. The Bible warns us that the heart is deceptive. If you are feeling abandoned, get into God’s word and do a study on His character. When you know His character, you will cease to fear that He might leave you alone in your trials.

 Q: What is the most important thing God taught you during this difficult time in your life?
Robin: Not the most important but certainly the most surprising was when I realized I had reached the place where I could thank God for my marriage to an alcoholic and mean it. Because of what happened in my marriage, my faith was deepened and strengthened. I learned to hold onto the foot of the cross so tightly that I could feel the splinters in the palms of my hands. No matter what comes, I’m holding onto the Lord, from where my help comes.

I consider my life lesson to be this: Nothing, absolutely nothing, enters my life that isn’t caused or allowed by God, filtered through His loving hands, for the purpose of making me more like Jesus.

Q: I’ve found that when things don’t work out the way we want them to, it’s pretty easy to blame God. What would you say to someone wrestling with these feelings?
Robin: Blaming God for things not working out the way we want is a fruitless action. And it means we still believe that life is about us. Me and my happiness. You and your happiness. But it isn’t. Not in the way we think, anyway.

About ten or so years ago, I was standing in my office, weeping over my husband and our marriage. Big crocodile tears that splattered loudly when they hit the floor mat. I asked God, “Why?” What I meant was, “Why me?” And after a long period of time, I felt God speak to my heart, “Why not you, beloved?” It quieted me, stopped me cold. Yes, why not me? Did I think I was so special that I could avoid what Christ told me would be true? Jesus said, “In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

Q: In your letter to readers, which appears at the end of A Promise Kept, you talk about how your divorce felt like a failure. How did God turn that failure around in your life?
Robin: When we were first married, my husband and I promised until death do us part. We meant it. So it felt like failure when God told me to “let go” of him after nearly a year of separation, even though I was acting in obedience. What I couldn’t see or understand at first was that God needed to get my husband off by himself so the two of them could work on his life without me being there as a safety net, as the strong one. I believe my husband would have died if we continued on the way we had been, but I didn’t see it that way at the time. I had to stand back and let God be God.

Q: Alcoholism played a large part in your marriage and eventually your divorce. What gave you the strength to continue to pray for your husband even when no answer seemed to come?
Robin: Strength comes from believing deep down in my soul that God is in control and that He wants the best for both me and my husband. I don’t always know what that “best” is, but He does.

Me again! Thanks, Robin, for being here! It’s always nice to have friends over for a chat. If you want to get to know Robin better, visit her at her lovely website. She is one of the kindest people I’ve ever had the pleasure to know. If you have a question for Robin, I know she’d be happy to answer it. Ask away…

 

Two for you

First things first! Here’s the winner of Elizabeth Musser’s new book:
Congrats, Danica! Use my contact link to email me and we’ll chat about where you’d like me to send it. Or send me a Facebook message if you hang out there.

Two good friends have new books out and I’m happy to promote them here on the Edge. First off, Susie May Warren, who has a kicky first name and likes Italian food just like me is introducing a new series with her latest, Nothing But Trouble. And the lovely Robin Lee Hatcher has just released A Vote of Confidence. You’ll have to check out her booktrailer. Very cool.

Here’s the sccop on Susie’s book:

PJ Sugar knows three things for sure:

After traveling the country for ten years hoping to shake free from the trail of disaster that’s become her life, she needs a fresh start. The last person she wants to see when she heads home for her sister’s wedding is Boone—her former flame and the reason she left town.
Her best friend’s husband absolutely did not commit the first murder Kellogg , Minnesota , has seen in more than a decade.

What PJ doesn’t know is that when she starts digging for evidence, she’ll uncover much more than she bargained for—a deadly conspiracy, a knack for investigation, and maybe, just maybe, that fresh start she’s been longing for.

Susan May Warren is the award-winning author of seventeen novels and novellas with Tyndale, Steeple Hill and Barbour Publishing. Her first book, Happily Ever After won the American Fiction Christian Writers Book of the Year in 2003, and was a 2003 Christy Award finalist. In Sheep’s Clothing, a thriller set in Russia , was a 2006 Christy Award finalist and won the 2006 Inspirational Reader’s Choice award. A former missionary to Russia , Susan May Warren now writes Suspense/Romance and Chick Lit full time from her home in northern Minnesota .

So, Susie-Q, where did the idea for PJ Sugar come from?
“Every author dreams of a moment where someone says something, or they see something on the news, or in a newspaper and it springs out at them, nearly shouting – STORY IDEA! This happened to me a number of years ago while talking to friends about their daycare situation, and how one of the parents ended up being a murder suspect! Scary! But an interesting idea. About that time, I was a mom who wore many hats – homeschooling mom, writing teacher, speaker, children’s church leader, — and it occurred to me that a mother really has to be a sort of PI. Not only taking on different roles, but sleuthing out daily household mysteries like, who ate the last of the peanut butter (and put it back in the cupboard?) and whose socks are laying in the middle of the floor, and finally…(in our house), who let the dog (and her muddy feet!) in the house! PJ is the alter-ego in every mom, that super-hero inside of us that allows us to have esp (I know you’re not really done with your homework!), or have “eyes in the back of our head,” (stop poking your sister!) or even figure out how to whip together an award-winning science project the night before the fair. PJ just applies all those skills to bad guys and figuring out the truth.

PJ Sugar is also a woman who wants to be all things to all people. She wants to be her nephew’s champion and her sister’s best friend, and her mother’s favorite daughter, and Boone’s special girl, and the hero of her hometown. That’s not too much to ask, is it? Maybe…because God wants her to be His girl, and satisfied in who He made her to be. And that is a journey for all of us PJ Sugars.”

Sounds like fun!

Robin Lee Hatcher is also beginning a new series with a new book. A Vote of Confidence launches The Sisters of Bethlehem Springs series that asks the question, “Who says a woman can’t do a man’s job?” The setting is Idaho during the WWI era. And I just love the cover of this one. It’s yummy. Here are all the details:

Put up or shut up!

Complaining about Bethlehem Springs’ dissolute mayoral candidate, Gwen Arlington is challenged to take on the role herself. For seven years, she’s carved out an independent life in the bustling mountain town of Bethlehem Springs, Idaho, teaching piano and writing for the local newspaper. But now she’s a single woman running for mayor — and in 1915 this decision is bound to stir up trouble.

Morgan McKinley is fed up with the delays that hinder the construction of New Hope Health Spa, a place where both rich and poor can come for rest and healing. New to the area, he has determined that serving as mayor would help him push through his agenda for progress.
Gwen and Morgan each want to prove they are the most qualified candidate, not only to voters but to each other, and so sparks fly as the two campaign. Although Morgan has learned to guard his heart as fiercely as Gwen guards her independence, could they learn to be allies instead of adversaries?

This is first book in the Sisters of Bethlehem Springs Series provides intriguing insights into how women challenged convention and shaped America in the early twentieth century.

And where did your idea for this series spring from, Robin?
“Ideas come to writers in lots of different ways. The idea for The Sisters of Bethlehem Springs series came to me back in 2003-2004 and had its genesis in a couple of other books. From Catching Katie had come a fascination with the decade leading up to the passing of the 19th Amendment that gave American women the right to vote. From a secondary character in Speak to Me of Love came a fondness for a woman in an unusual occupation. While those two things were rolling around in my head, up popped the final ingredient. A question: Who says a woman can’t do a man’s job? And the next thing I knew, I’d met Gwen and Cleo Arlington, the heroines of the first two books in the series. I had to wait to meet my third heroine until the hero of A Vote of Confidence walked into my imagination. Guess what, Morgan McKinley had a younger sister, Daphne. Each of these women have jobs that weren’t considered a woman’s domain in their time (1915-1918). I hope readers will become as fond of Gwen, Cleo, and Daphne — and the men with whom they fall in love — as I am.”

Robin Lee Hatcher is the best-selling author of over sixty books. Her well-drawn characters and heartwarming stories of faith, courage, and love have earned her both critical acclaim and the devotion of readers. Her numerous awards including the 2000 Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction, the 1999 and 2001 RITA Awards for Best Inspirational Romance, Romantic Times Career Achievement Awards for Americana Romance and for Inspirational Fiction, and the 2001 RWA Lifetime Achievement Award. Catching Katie was named one of the Best Books of 2004 by the Library Journal.

Enjoy! I am off to teach at the Colorado Christian Writers Conference! See you on Monday . . .

A visit with Robin Lee Hatcher

The lovely and talented Robin Lee Hatcher is visiting the Edge today to chat about her newest release, The Perfect Life. Here’s what the back cover says:
“Katherine Clarkson has the perfect life. Married to Brad, a loving and handsome man, respected in their church and the community. Two grown daughters on the verge of starting families of their own. A thriving ministry. Good friends. A comfortable life.

She has it all—until the day a reporter appears with shocking allegations. Splashed across the local news are accusations of Brad’s financial impropriety at his foundation and worse, of an affair with a former employee. Without warning, Katherine’s marriage is shattered and her family torn apart. The reassuring words she’s spoken to many brokenhearted women over the years offer little comfort now.

Her world spinning, Katherine wonders if she can find the truth in the chaos that consumes her. How can she survive the loss of the perfect life?”

Publisher’s Weekly gave A Perfect Life a nice thumbs-up: “Hatcher is a dab hand with dialogue, which is one reason her characters are so well drawn: readers will feel empathy with all members of the family. Hatcher also gets kudos for creating, in Katherine’s best friend, a sympathetic non-Christian character, something all too rare in faith fiction. This will be a surefire hit .”

Edge: So, Robin. Where do you get the ideas for your stories and what has been your greatest inspiration?
Robin: Ideas come from all kinds of places – from dreams, from bit of news on the television, from conversations overheard in restaurants. Sometimes I’m conscious of the exact moment an idea for a novel began. But for most my novels, the ideas seem to creep up on me. The Perfect Life was more the latter. One day I simply recognized I had the premise for a story rolling around in my head, then I began brainstorming the bigger picture and eventually the novel was born.
Some of my novels have come from deep personal experiences. Because God has walked me through dark places and brought me out on the other side, I want to share with others the grace He has shown me. Since I am a novelist, fiction is the main way I can do that. And naturally, the faith element of my novels comes out of my own faith experiences, from lessons God has taught me or is teaching me. Sometimes I’m looking for answers right along with the characters of my books, so writing is a form of discovery for me.

Edge: How does it make you feel to see your books, not only in print but on the shelves of stores?
Robin: I can honestly say it was every bit as exciting when I held The Perfect Life, my 56th book, as it was when I held my very first novel (1984). Every novel is a story from my heart, and I pray that each one will bring readers both enjoyment and new understanding. To see it come to fruition is an amazing thing.

Edge: Do you have a favorite of all the books you have written so far? Why is it your favorite?
Robin: I don’t have one favorite book, but some of my books are special to me for different reasons. For instance, I love Ribbon of Years because my protagonist, Miriam, is the kind of Christian I hope to be at the end of my life. I love The Shepherd’s Voice because God taught me that He can and will do amazing things with what I offer to Him, even when it is so imperfect. I love Beyond the Shadows because I long to let Christians who love alcoholics know that they are not alone and that there is always hope in Christ. I love Catching Katie because Katie was such a fun character and the research was fascinating. I love The Forgiving Hour because God poured that story into my heart and many of the scenes came straight out of my own life (albeit the experiences came more than 25 years before I wrote the book). I love The Perfect Life because I understand Katherine’s perfectionist tendencies and her need to control the chaos. And I always love the next book I plan to write because there is still hope that it will completely fulfill the vision I have for it.

Very cool. You might want to know that Robin is a winner of the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction (Whispers from Yesterday), the RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance (Patterns of Love and The Shepherd’s Voice), two RT Career Achievement Awards (Americana Romance and Inspirational Fiction), and the RWA Lifetime Achievement Award, Robin is the author of over 55 novels, including Catching Katie, named one of the Best Books of 2004 by the Library Journal. She blogs here!

On Friday: Pi and coffee, of course! 3.14. Geddit?

Monday musings

So there I am in line at Target, it’s two days after Thanksgiving and the world has become a planet of shoppers. A young mother, who looks exhausted by the way, is standing behind me and her cart is overflowing. The little girl who is hanging onto the mom’s cart, clearly has more energy than her mother. She is doing a little dance as she hangs onto the cart. One leg goes up and come down, followed by the other leg.

“I can’t wait to get home to watch it!” the little girl says. “I can’t wait! I can’t wait!”

I wait to hear what mom will say. I am expecting anything from “First, you have to clean your room like you promised,” to “Stop hanging on the cart like that. You’re going to pull it over on yourself.”

But she says nothing.

“I love that movie!” the girl squeals. “I can’t wait to watch it!” Legs up. Legs down.

Mom says nothing.
“You’re the best mommy I’ve ever had!”

I tip my head to hear the mother’s response.

But Mom says nothing.

She’s either heard it before, or she didn’t hear it all.

And both of these thoughts make me kind of sad. I want to turn to that mother and tell her something that is very much none of my business. I want to tell her, “You will blink, and she’ll be gone. Grown up. And you will long for the days when, in her eyes, no one could hold a candle to you. Believe me, you don’t want to miss it.”

But I don’t tell The Best Mommy any of this. I make my way through the line, aware of the happy dancer behind me, and I leave. I do hope this mom will figure it out on a day when she’s not so tired. And bored with motherhood.

Now onto a brighter thought. My good friend Robin Lee Hatcher has a lovely new story out, just in time for the holidays. In A Cloud Mountain Christmas (Robin’s story is in “Hearts Evergreen,” a collection of two novellas from Steeple Hill), introduces you to Maddie Scott, who is reeling from the news that her ex-husband has remarried and is expecting a child. She heads to Idaho’s Cloud Mountain Lodge to negotiate the sale of a valuable manuscript discovered there. But could the lodge’s proprietor, Tony Anderson, a man she knew years before in college, be just what Maddie needs to have a merry Christmas after all? Want a good love story? Well, here ya go. To read an excerpt from A Cloud Mountain Christmas, visit Robin’s web site:
http://www.robinleehatcher.com/hearts_evergreen.htm. Robin is a lovely person, inside and out, and she knows how to weave a tale that makes you glad God thought up romance to make our time here on Earth magical.

Have a great week – and lavish your love on your children.