Robin Lee Hatcher is the author of over 80 novels and novellas with over five million copies of her books in print. She is known for her heartwarming and emotionally charged stories of faith, courage, and love. Her numerous awards include the RITA Award, the Carol Award, the Christy Award, the HOLT Medallion, the National Reader’s Choice Award, and the Faith, Hope & Love Reader’s Choice Award. Robin is also the recipient of prestigious Lifetime Achievement Awards from both American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America.
In this interview, Robin talks with us regarding her new book, Like the Wind.
FF: What inspired the story in your book?
This book’s genesis was the story found in Mark 4:35-41. Storms come into our lives, even when we are doing the right thing. The disciples were doing exactly what Jesus told them to do. And yet the storm came and threatened to destroy them. They panicked because they forgot Who was in the boat with them. They needed to trust Jesus to see them through the storm.
It was in early 2021 when that passage touched my heart in a new way, and the story that would become Like the Wind began to take shape in my mind.
FF: What can you tell us about the main characters in your book?
Before the main story opens, Olivia Ward loses custody of her beloved nine-year-old daughter, Emma, to her wealthy, powerful ex-husband who then proceeds to lie to Emma about her mother. When the ex-husband is killed in a traffic accident six years later, Emma returns to live with Olivia. It has been difficult enough for Olivia to rebuild her life but rebuilding her relationship with her daughter will be the hardest thing she has ever had to do.
Tyler Murphy, who survived less than wonderful care in the foster-care system, is an investigator for a law firm who has dedicated his life to protecting the vulnerable. He is hired by another Ward family member to learn whether Olivia will provide the best home environment for Emma. But Tyler’s interest in Olivia soon becomes something more than simply doing his job.
Emma is an angry teenager who has suddenly lost everything familiar. She was forced to leave a fancy private boarding school in Florida and is now stuck in a tiny mountain town in Idaho. Only her interest in the local theater company and an old journal she discovers among the props makes her new life bearable. Millie is the author of the journal, and readers meet her and her family as the Great Depression hands them one challenge after another. But something in Millie’s writing and the way she faces hard times challenges Emma’s heart and helps her see her own life in a new way.
FF: Which character surprised you the most?
I don’t think I was surprised by any of the characters. But getting into the mind of a teenager is always a challenge, especially one who has been traumatized and is fighting back.
FF: Why do you think storytelling is such a powerful way to share truth?
Storytelling is in our human DNA. Long before people learned to read and write as a matter of course, they sat around fires and told stories. There are certain emotions, certain experiences that cross borders and cultures and eras, and in the telling of stories we are drawn together.
There’s a reason Jesus taught in parables (stories). We relate to them. We become a part of the story as we read or listen. We can feel the emotions of the characters because those emotions are familiar to us, too.
Remember how it felt to fall in love? Remember the emotional highs and lows? Exhausting! Now imagine if you had to feel those same emotions every single day, all day long. As wonderful as falling in love is, I think it would take years off our lives if we had to live it 24/7. But when I pick up an inspirational romance, I get to vicariously experience falling in love again, only without the exhaustion part. LOL!
Storytelling moves us. It speaks to us. It can change us.
FF: What do you want readers to take away after reading your book?
I want the same takeaway from this book as I’ve wanted for every other. (1) I want to entertain the reader with a good story, and (2) I hope the reader will take one step closer to Jesus because of something in the story.
FF: What are the biggest challenges for you as an author writing in your specific genre?
Well, I write both contemporary and historical romance, and I write both contemporary and historical women’s fiction. The biggest challenge, I think, is to tap into the characters’ emotions, and then to let them tell their stories in their own voices.
FF: How has your faith or world view impacted the way you tell stories?
I wrote thirty books for the general market, but as I came into a closer walk with God during those years, I found that faith kept getting edited out of my stories by my general market publisher. That eventually led to me signing with a publisher in the Christian market. When I dedicated my writing to God, it changed everything about the way I tell stories. I had the freedom to write about characters who are like me and the people I know at church and my readers and other Christian writers. I felt free to tackle difficult topics with answers anchored in faith. I don’t know any perfect people or any perfect Christians, so I write about characters who struggle with their faith and struggle with how to navigate the world we live in.
Like the Wind
Robin Lee Hatcher
Release Date: November 29, 2022
A life in pieces. A hundred-year-old journal. And a chance for love to be reborn.
Olivia Ward arrived in Bethlehem Springs alone—with no job, no home, and no money—after her manipulative ex-husband used his power and wealth to destroy everything. Six years later, the peaceful life she rebuilt is once again turned upside down when she learns that her fifteen-year-old daughter, Emma, will be coming to live with her. The reunion should be a dream come true, but years of deception have driven a wedge between them. And Emma seems more interested in an old diary she discovered than reconciliation with her mother.
Tyler Murphy knows what it’s like to lose everything. Propelled by his history in the foster-care system, he’s determined to root out dishonesty and protect the most vulnerable through his work as an investigator. When he’s hired to investigate Olivia Ward, though, he finds himself longing to believe she’s exactly who she appears to be, and he soon realizes that his desire to learn more about her has nothing to do with his job. But how can he pursue a relationship that began with a lie?
In this latest novel from award-winning author Robin Lee Hatcher, an antique diary, a family-fueled investigation, and unexpected feelings collide to create a promise that’s worth fighting for.
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