Sunday, December 28, 2014

Writing Romance With Donna Hatch

There are people crossed my path and at the time I didn’t realize the significance of them until much later. Donna Hatch is one of those people for me. I met her about 8 years ago when I started coloring her hair in my home. She’d just moved to a neighboring town with her family. Of course spending a few hours together you learn interesting things about a person. I learned she liked to write regency romance and she was a part of a group called ANWA. I didn’t think much of it other than she had a weird little hobby. She moved away and I went on with my life. Well, now I have a weird little hobby called writing and our paths crossed again at an ANWA conference two years. Now she is one of my mentors with several amazing published books under her belt. She has some serious skills when it comes to writing romance and has helped me grow by leaps and bounds as a romance writer. Its funny how life works sometimes and keeps introducing people to you until you understand their influence in your life.

Author of Historical Romance and Fantasy, award-winning author Donna Hatch is a sought-after speaker and workshop presenter. Her writing awards include the Golden Rose and the prestigious Golden Quill. Her passion for writing began at age 8 she wrote her first short story, and she wrote her first full-length novel during her sophomore year in high school, a fantasy which was later published. In between caring for six children, (7 counting her husband), her day job, her work as a freelance editor and copywriter, and her many volunteer positions, she still makes time to write. After all, writing IS an obsession.  All of her heroes are patterned after her husband of over 20 years, who continues to prove that there really is a happily ever after.

1. Why do you write historical romance?

I write it because that's what I love. And I love many things about it, but it all boils down to two basic reasons: 1. I love romance. I love it because of the emotional journey that brings two people together. They have to find common ground, make an emotional connection, and learn to place the other person's needs and happiness ahead of their own. It often includes swallowing one’s pride, and making personal sacrifices. I also romance because of the ending. I have an intense need for a happily ever after, and romance guarantees that; other genres don’t make any such promises.
The reason I love historical eras, and the Regency in particular, is because of the people who lived at that time. This may be a skewed and romanticized vision, but people who lived so long ago were more honorable than they are today. In Regency England, duty and honor were everything. If a man said he’d do something--especially if he gave his word--he meant it, and others could count him to follow through, even at great personal cost.
I also love British humor. Their understated wit and the carefully protected emotions create wonderful possibilities for subtle clues to a person's emotions.
By the Georgian and Regency Eras, men and women alike were educated and could read, compute complex mathematics, speak multiple languages—French and Latin in particular—and loved philosophical debates. They were also very cultured. From a young age they learned to dance and play music, and to appreciate many art forms.
Their manners were charming. Gentlemen stood when a lady entered the room, doffed their hats, curtailed their language, offered an arm, bowed, and performed hundred other little courtesies to show respect. They also enjoyed athletic pursuits; they hunted, raced, fenced, boxed, rode horses. They were manly. Strong. Noble. Resolute. Honorable. I love that about them! And that makes them perfect heroes for both historical fiction and historical romance novels.
2. Where did you learn about the historical details?

Research is an on-going pursuit. I read extensively from works in the era--particularly Jane Austen because she lived in that time period so details which were ordinary to her are a clue to us as to the culture and customs of the time. I also watch BBC movies set during the Georgian and Regency and Victorian Era to help me with historical British syntax. And I follow historical blogs where experts in the era post their findings. Over time, I have found many many writer friends who are fellow history geeks, and we share information. 

7. If you could time travel, where would you go?

I’d go to London 1816. It was a turbulent time smack in the middle of the Regency so the things I would learn in a few hours wandering around would provide more information than years of research would provide.

8. When you first started writing, did you think you would get this far in your career as a writer?

Actually, by now, with 11 published titles, I’d hoped to have made New York Times Best Sellers’ list. But hey, that could still happen. If all my fans told a 100 of their closest friends, who did the same, and so on….well, you know.
9. Best advice to newly published authors?

1.  Don’t give up. Be persistent. Finish the novel, and then write the next one no matter what.
2.  Be teachable. Most new authors think his/her own novel is the best work ever written. But it might not be, not at first. Like any craft, it takes 1/10 raw talent and 9/10 hard work to become truly skilled. Learn from the experts and work to improve yourself as a writer. Always try to make your most current work your best yet.

3.  Listen to your heart. If everyone tells you the genre you love will never sell but you have a feverish drive to write it anyway, then do it. If you write what you love, you will write with passion--and that cannot be faked or duplicated.

I’m getting ready to read The Stranger She Married.  I love a good romance! Go check out Donna's page.


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