Saturday, August 25, 2012

Meet Author, James Hatch

Interview Questions for James Hatch:

What would you like your readers to know about you?

First, thank you for inviting me here, Sarah. I’ve always admired your work and encouraging words for other authors, so I’m especially flattered to be here.

Relative to me, I would say I am a passionate person. When I write, I write. When I work, I work. I am highly focused, to the exclusion of almost everything except what I’m working on at the time. I throw myself at projects until I complete them, regardless of the frustration. I think a lot of Ph.D.s are that way. You have to have stamina to get through school, all the way, just as you need stamina to complete a 300-page novel. If a person is not passionate, he or she won’t get anything done. I am passionate, but also somewhat frivolous. I dance, fish, write, review works by others, collect art, build things, work in the yard and occasionally tend grandchildren. None of these things make the world a better place, but I justify that by repeating to myself, You’ve already paid your dues. Changing the world is for the young. At this time of life, I cherish my vote … and never waste an opportunity to use it.

How has your writing impacted –or significantly changed—other aspects of your life?

I am very lucky in this regard. I have retired three times, and choose to never work again. Unlike many authors who struggle to fit writing into their busy schedules, I have the luxury of scheduling other activities around my writing. There are times, however, when conflicts at home arise – mostly when my wife has some computer issue or mechanical problem. My cat can also be a distraction. We have all gradually come to a compromise. When I write, I begin very early in the morning and continue until around noon. The cat gets to go outside when it is still dark and my wife gets to sleep in as long as she likes. This works for both of them. It also works for me.  

How do you market or generate a mainstream, typical reader’s interest in your books?

This is the million dollar question, isn’t it? The short answer is that I haven’t found the key yet. I use Facebook (personal and professional), Goodreads, Amazon author’s page, Myspace, and Blogger, but have only recently passed the one thousand friend level on my personal page and my professional page only has a couple hundred “likers.” I have attended book fairs, submit to at least three blogs per month on various sites, won local writing competitions, placed third in a cover competition, presented at area book clubs, managed to get a half-page spread in our local newspaper, and will be included in a central Texas magazine (Tex-Appeal) soon, but reaching large numbers of people is almost impossible. All I can say is I have faith in my novels, especially the comedies (The Substitute, Oh, Heavens, Miss Havana! and The Training Bra). When people read those books, they love them and laugh until they cry. That is my motivation to keep trying. People need to know what they are missing. The whole world needs a good laugh.

Please share some of the ways in which you have found most effective to promote your work.

I believe my two most effective promotion approaches are jokes and reviews, but I could be wrong. I try to post one of my book covers with relatively clean jokes on Facebook at least three to four times per week. The jokes are funny and I receive lots of feedback from all over the world relative to them from my Facebook friends. I believe I have a lot of followers associated with the jokes, and my covers are always “out there” for people to see. I have probably sold more books because of jokes than anything else. On a serious side, I read a lot. I review books written by other authors and post the reviews on my site at The reviews garner the attention of the individuals who follow the authors I review, and I try to ensure the reviews are (1) fair, (2) flawlessly written and (3) include a reference to one of my own books in the “Reviewed By” title. The reviews also get posted on Amazon and Goodreads, so others see the by-line as well. 

Your paranormal novels are unique, even the titles are very different. So, James, tell us from where you get your quirky story ideas.

Quirky? The living dead are quirky. My heroes are just plain dead. The concept for Miss Havana came to me in a dream. I had recently finished a romantic novel called Aftermath Horizon, which I still consider one of my best, and wondered what I’d write next as I drifted off to sleep. It hit me about 1 a.m. I woke up laughing and literally ran to my computer to begin writing The Substitute. The characters took on a life of their own, and I laughed all the way through writing the book, even becoming light headed at times. The novel took only two months to complete, and is my most successful work to date. I think that will change when The Training Bra is released. The Training Bra is drop dead hilarious … in the literal sense … even more so, in my editor’s opinion, than The Substitute.

If you could choose an animal that best represents your inner spirit, what animal would you choose? What characteristics do you share with your animal mascot?

Oh, I don’t know. Maybe one of those strange looking little dogs that hot Hollywood actresses carry everywhere in their oversized purses – even into their dressing rooms. That might be fun. I could be pampered, and I find women fascinating. That’s probably the reason I often write as Miss Havana. Now you know the reason we never show her face on my book covers. I am also one of the Sweet ‘n Sexy Divas and write for that blog once each month. My 84-year-old beta reader says I write better as a woman than as a man. I’m not sure what to make of that, since I lack many of the basic qualifications for being female.

Tell us about your current and past projects.

I have written eight novels and one short story so far, with my first publishing contract being awarded in November 2009. Three novels are Sci-Fi (The Judge, Infinity Quest and The Empress of Tridon), two novels and one short story are contemporary fiction (Kill Zone, “The Final Experiment” and Aftermath Horizon), and three novels are paranormal comedy (The Substitute, Oh, Heavens, Miss Havana! and The Training Bra). I suspect I have been searching for a genre that fits me well, and I think I’ve found it in paranormal comedy.

What’s up next for you? Any upcoming releases and/or WIPs on your desk?

I am currently editing The Training Bra in conjunction with my editor at Solstice Publishing, Cheryl Nichols. I have also begun the fourth Miss Havana novel called The Trophy Wife. In all Miss Havana novels, the heroine is a different physical woman, but has the same name (for different reasons). More important, she has the same spirit … mostly evil. Her nefarious nature gets her murdered early in each book, but there are afterlife lessons to be learned, and, as slow as she is to change, she makes progress toward being a better spirit. In The Trophy Wife, I want her to make the “good spirit” transition … and become God’s main squeeze. Just as she had a child with Lucifer in The Substitute (Lilith), I expect she will have one with God as well … Angel. That will lead to the fifth novel called Sisters, which should be throat-slitting funny.  

Where can readers find you?

Thank you, Sara, for allowing me to visit your blog, and to all of you who waded through this interview, thanks for reading!


James L. Hatch
Author for Eternal Press, Solstice Publishing and
The Training Bra
To be published by Solstice Publishing
Hilarious Comedy that follows "The Substitute" and "Oh, Heavens, Miss Havana!"

Oh Heavens, Miss Havana
Buy link at
Publisher: Solstice Publishing Printer: Createspace Having performed a single selfless act, Miss Havana finds herself on probation in heaven. After many missteps, she discovers she still retains the powers she had as The Queen of Darkness, and realizes she’s on probation as much to keep her from joining forces with her daughter, The Princess of Darkness, as anything else. The Brazilian, a large black man with a dreadlocks beard who waxes regularly, is her “guide”, but she ignores his advice until he’s taken off her case. Guideless and in a foreign environment, she consorts with evil spirits from her former realm, especially Waldo, a shadow creature so named because he’s so hard to find. She acquires a copy of “The Angels Guide to Earth”, comes to believe she is the Angel of Death, and returns to the surface as an advice columnist and assassin. She wreaks havoc before God intervenes for a final showdown...which, as it turns out, isn’t as final as most would hope.

The Substitute:
Buy link:
Miss Havana’s public persona was far from the truth because, in her capacity as substitute teacher, the small community where she lived knew her as the breathtakingly beautiful young woman who demanded every student learn, but in her private life, ostensibly caring for aging parents in Chicago, she raced through the lives of powerful men, leaving a wake of destruction…and a deep desire for revenge. Little did she realize her conflicted life would end in a chaotic death at an early age, and to an eternal conflict with the devil.


Sarah J. McNeal said...

It's wonderful to have you on the blog today, James. Like you, I'm retired from my day job now and I can finally do what I really want to do. I can write in the middle of the night if I want to.
I like how your inspiration to write The Substitute hit you in the middle of the night and made you laugh.
There aren't that many paranormal comedies out there so your work is unique.
It's such a pleasure to have you here today. I wish you huge success with The Training Bra when it's released.

Unknown said...

I agree with Sarah, I've never read a paranormal comedy. Looking forward to trying one out! Great interview.

James L. Hatch said...

Hi Sarah. Thank you for allowing me to be here. As you know, I look to you for inspiration on a regular basis. I also love your writing! Remember, we still have a review exchange in the works.

James L. Hatch said...

Hello J.A.:

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you do try "The Substitute." People who have read it, even the really straight-laced ones, tell me they laughed all the way through. If I can bring one moment of laughter into the world, then the entire effort has been worthwhile.

Penny's Tales said...

Dang James....Look at you all dapper in your suit! Who knew you were such a hunk!!! I have not read one of your stories, but I am going to now. Really good interview!

Penny Estelle

James L. Hatch said...

Thanks Penny ... "The Substitute" will keep you giggling.

Yes, the suit. I try to avoid that, but my neighbor is a professional photographer and caught my wife and I as we prepared for a formal dance last year. The shoot only took about five minutes, but the result was a great author picture ... and I didn't even need Photoshop!

Thanks for stopping by.

Tami W. said...

Your Miss Havana books are intriguing my brain cells right now. Nice to get to know you and hear some promo suggestions. Getting ready to post a 10 part thing on promo, so this has kicked my brain back into writing mode. :) Thanks.

James L. Hatch said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
James L. Hatch said...

Hi Tami:

There is probably no better gift to give an author than to say he or she intrigued your brain cells. I am truly flattered, and delighted you stopped by. You are right -- Miss Havana is an enigma ... even to me. She is so much fun when she's evil, and she just can't help herself. I just love writing from her perspective. Hope your writing juices flow like a river!

Kathryn Meyer Griffith said...

you are a man of many talents, interests and your picture is classy...and you have found the secret to life and happiness. Being retired! I can't wait until my husband is retired in 3 1/2 years. Sigh.
Nice to read more about you, your author friend, Kathryn Meyer Griffith

James L. Hatch said...

Hi Kathryn. You are totally correct. Being retired is the best time of life. I know so many people who fear it after a life of hard work, but they shouldn't. The feeling that one "needs" to be making money passes in a year or so, and it's all great after that. My advice to new retirees: (1) don't loan anyone any money (especially family) and (2) don't take another job of any kind. Just relax. Thanks for stopping by, Kathryn. You are an amazing author.

Kathryn Meyer Griffith said...

Thank you James for the compliment. I might be a good writer in your eyes...but not, apparently, in the world's. Oh well.
Oh, my husband, who hates his time-demanding and petty job, is counting the minutes until he can retire...we have all sorts of plans and can hardly wait. RV and travel. I might even stop writing.
I stopped working full time (as a graphic artist) 11 years ago...and it took me until now, because I start getting SS in October, to stop "feeling guilty" for not making money. Even with all my books out my funneled down royalties are very, very small. Sigh. I get great reviews but sales are low. I'm self-publishing my 16th novel, though! DINOSAUR LAKE. Wish me luck. Have a great day, James. Keep writing! Kathryn

Sarah J. McNeal said...

James, I want to thank you for allowing me to host your blog. Your blogs are always interesting and entertaining.
I wish you every success with your upcoming release, The Training Bra. You're the best.