I'd like to welcome our guest today, Donna Hatch. It's a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.
I understand you have a new release out called The Stranger She Married. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book
Alicia must marry quickly to save her family. Her choices narrow to either a masked cripple with the heart of a poet, or a handsome rake with a deadly secret. But a murderer is systematically killing everyone in her family and may strike yet again before she learns to love the Stranger She Married.
The Stranger She Married is book 1 of a familial series called "Rogue Hearts." There are four books planned with a possibility of there being six. Each is a stand alone book you can read without having to read the others.
The Stranger She Married is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?
I wish I had a great story for you, but I'd been agonizing over a title for a few days, brainstorming and not liking any of the ones I'd come up with, and one day as I was folding the laundry (glamorous activity, I know) it just popped into my head. I love the forced/arranged marriage scenario, so I wanted a title that suggested that for others who do, too.
What made you decide to write in this genre?
I love to read it and I love all the movies made in that era. I'm a huge fan of Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte, but I must admit, until I started doing the research, I wasn't certain of the differences between Regency and Victorian, besides the clothes. Pretty lame, huh? But I went with Regency because it's one of those eras that was fleeting, and unique in many ways and because it sorta has it's own genre. There are "Medievals" and "Regencies," but most of the other time periods are lumped into "Historical." However, I must confess that I mostly I do it for the men. They were an amazing blend of uber-sophisticated gentlemen who could dance and observe social nuances, and were also incredibly masculine. There are few things as manly as a man riding horseback, or fencing, or about to duel for his honor or for the honor of his lady love. Sigh.
Where did you get your idea for this particular book?
I love to look at the other story - the way it would have been told if this book had been about a secondary or walk-on character instead. I wonder about them, their story, their background, their motivation. It basically started as a "what if?" What if the phantom in Phantom of the Opera had been a good guy instead of a murderer? What if the heroine fell in love with him instead of the obvious handsome guy? Plus I love the love triangles, and mystery and a bit of adventure. The finished product is very, very different than Phantom, but that's sorta what inspired it.
What are your favorite historical research books and why?
I refer to Austen a lot because she lived in that era. There are other great books out there, but my best resource is a Regency/Georgian writer's group called Beau Monde. They are amazing and are great about recommending resource books. Many of them are so knowledgeable that they can just answer most questions.
Which character did you like writing about the most, and why?
Wow, that's like asking a mother who her favorite child is! Of course I loved the main characters, even to the point of dreaming about them. A lot of heroes get compared to Cole. I also had lots of fun with the secondary characters. I have a great quirky, snarky aunt. I also have a very cheeky, opinionated valet that I just might have to give his own story. I guess if I have to chose one, it'd be Cole.
Tell us about how you develop your characters. Do you create character sheets, do interviews, that sort of thing? How does your research affect your character development?
To start with, my characters develop as the story does, sort of a seat-of-the-pants kind of thing. Then after I've gotten several chapters written, I go back and interview them or personality-type them to help fill them in and give them more depth. I have a hard time with my men because I always make them too perfect, so then I have to go back and give them something to make them more human, plus give them their fatal flaw, which almost causes me bodily pain.
What are some common speech terms, dress modes, transportation or housing facts that you found interesting for your time period?
I love their formality of speech and dress. I got pretty deeply involved with all the different kinds of carriages and ended up putting a whole research page in my website to help other people keep it straight. There were almost as many difference types of carriages as we have cars.
One thing that I found interesting is that there is a lot of preconceived notions out there as far as what is modern and what is correct for the period. For example, they had tennis shoes - not rubber soled with a Nike swish, but they had special shoes that helped them keep from slipping that they wore when they played tennis; a sport, I might add, that's been around since King Henry VIII! Other things: some people called their father "Dad," including the poet Byron, they called a carriage a "car," and they called men who did mathematical calculations "calculators." So a man could say, "Dad, I'm taking the car as soon as I'm done with the calculator." But readers would think I was crazy and knew nothing about my time period, so I don't.
Do you have any authors that inspired you?
Many. Some of my favorites are Lynn Kurland, Julia Quinn, Lisa Kleypas, Jennifer Ashley, Candice Hern, to name a few.
What do you feel is the most effective promotion you have done for your book?
It's hard to tell which one has been most effective. However, I recently got a piece of fan mail from someone who'd seen my signature line which has the name of my book underneath it and the words, "A Regency Romance" next to it, plus my author website and publisher website. She likes Regencies, so she went and bought it. She said it was her first ever experience with an e-book.
What do we have to look forward next?
I have a Regency novella coming out in April of 2009, plus my current title will also be out in paperback in April. Book two of my Rogue Hearts Series, The Guise of a Gentleman is in the final edit stage and I hope it will be out by the end of 2009.
To celebrate her book release, Donna Hatch is offering a free e-book of The Stranger She Married to one lucky commenter on today's blog. She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...(Please make sure we have away to contact you if you win)
Donna has had a passion for writing since the age of 8 when she wrote her first short story. During her sophomore year in high school, she wrote her first full-length novel, a science fiction romance. She wrote her second novel during her senior year, a fantasy romance. Needless to say, English and Creative Writing were always her favorite subjects. In between caring for six children, (7 counting her husband) she manages to carve out time to indulge in her writing obsession, with varying degrees of success, although she writes most often late at night instead of sleeping. A native of Arizona, she is currently a member of Desert Rose RWA and is a member of Beau Monde, a Regency Chapter of RWA. She is the winner of two RWA Chapter contests and has finaled in several others. And yes, all of her heroes are patterned after her husband of 20 years, who continues to prove that there really is a happily ever after.
Check out author's website at www.donnahatch.com