In March 1981 (I don’t know the exact date), I sat down with a yellow legal pad and began writing my first novel. I wrote longhand in evenings and on weekends, and I used the office typewriter during coffee breaks and lunch hours to type the manuscript. I didn’t know much after writing a novel, but I had a great time doing it all the same.
I finished the manuscript in November 1981 and, soon after, mailed out query letters and sample chapters to publishers I found in The Writer’s Market. Most ignored me, the partials drowned in slush piles, no doubt. But I did get two requests for full manuscripts, and one of those publishers offered me a contract with an advance of a thousand dollars. Yippee! I signed the contract in May 1982 and waited to hear back from the publisher with their signature on the contract. Neither contract nor advance came, and in August 1982, I learned the publisher had gone bankrupt. By that time, I had finished writing the sequel.
Time passed while I tried to figure out what to do. I was unsure if my half of the contract still bound me. It didn’t. And, wonder of wonders, I sold both my first and second books to Leisure Books (a mass market romance publisher) in February 1983.
My first book released on January 14, 1984 — making this month my 40th anniversary! The Idaho Statesman (largest newspaper in Idaho) ran a half page article about me, and the bookstore advertised my launch autograph party in the paper. That part was an amazing three hours. Even my first grade teacher showed up for it. I hadn’t seen Miss Moncure since I was six! I sold several hundred copies at the signing that day—which gave me a skewed idea of what future autograph parties would be like. Ha! I’ve had signings in the years since where the only person who approached me wanted to know where the restroom was.
Fifteen years and thirty general market romances later, my first novel for the Christian market, The Forgiving Hour, released (January 1999). Thus, that makes this month also the 25th anniversary of my introduction to Christian fiction readers.
Since then I’ve written another 60 novels and novellas, all of them informed by my faith. My 91st book, To Marry an English Lord, will release in February (available for preorder now).
My publishing career has had both high hills and low valleys, but the Lord has been with me through all the ups and downs. I’m so grateful. But the greatest blessings have been the wonderful writers and readers He has brought into my life.
Thank you, each and every one, for being a part of the journey.
Do you have a favorite Robin Lee Hatcher book from the past 40 years?