Friday, March 25, 2011

Guest Interview with James Hatch

Interview Questions for James L. Hatch, Author of The Substitute and Oh, Heaves, Miss Havana

1. Tell us what inspired you to write The Substitute and a little about the plot.

I was between novels when a hilarious dream woke me laughing. I immediately dashed to my computer to begin writing a book that could rival the dream. The plot is complex. Miss Havana, a beautiful substitute teacher, leads such a shady double life that three of her enemies kill her one evening, two not knowing she had already been murdered. Everyone associated with her death is comically killed, and Miss Havana is called before Lucifer with her killers in tow. Lucifer is charmed by her beauty and evil nature, leading to his downfall, but not before they have a child, Lilith. More evil than Miss Havana, Lilith moves to displace them both in a side-splitting, double-dealing tale of beguilement heaped on deception.

2. Do you have a favorite character you have written?

Oh, yes. Miss Havana, hands down. I did not set out to have a pseudonym, but she is rapidly becoming one.

3. What are you currently working on?

Solstice Publishing is currently editing my novel, Oh, Heavens, Miss Havana!, the sequel to The Substitute. I am working on the third novel in that trilogy called, The Training Bra. All are paranormal comedies.

4. How long have you been writing? What influenced you to start?

I’ve been writing seriously for about five years, but started eight years ago. The events of 9/11 got me going, as a vent for internal anger as much as anything. I spent three years venting my 9/11 rage on the only novel I’ve not published, Kill Zone. I’m still softening Kill Zone, but plan to submit it for publication consideration later this year.

5. How do your family and friends feel about your writing?

Friends and extended family: great. Wife: mixed. Writing takes a lot of time. Conflict between household chores and writing is inevitable. When I’m hot on an idea, I tend to lock out the rest of the world, including my wife. That causes trouble at times. Reaching an acceptable balance can be difficult.

6. Where do you hope to be in five years?

I’d like to have a best seller. I believe The Substitute has potential, as do the follow-on paranormal comedies. The genre is new, and the novel has received several five-star reviews. The world needs to laugh. The Substitute and the remainder of the trilogy can help.

7. Do you have any advice for new or aspiring author?

I consider myself in this category, so anything I say should be taken with circumspection. First, believe in your work. Then make it so good an editor won’t reject it. Everything matters. Spelling, punctuation, present tense, show vs. tell, and non-attributed dialog to name a few. Once the work is accepted, the publisher’s editors will help improve it, but the author must make the writing professional enough to pass the initial Editor in Chief review.

8. What is your favorite book and why?

I liked Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz because it’s a great paranormal story written in first person. I write almost everything using first person point of view because I was so impressed with Odd Thomas.

9. On the fun side, what is your favorite television show and why?

Dancing with the Stars! My wife and I ballroom dance. We know how difficult it is. I enjoy seeing others try to perfect their skill, and try to learn steps from the dancers on the show as well.

10. Where can readers find you? (Web page with blurbs and excerpts) (Five-star review) (Miss Havana advice column)


  1. The Substitute sounds as if it would make a great movie.

    I also loved Odd Thomas - the end made me cry. I thought about it for days. IMHO, that's the mark of a great book.

  2. It is tricky spending time with family when you're hot into a novel. You forget about everything except what you're writing until someone in the family hits you with a frying pan. I can so relate to that.
    I love Dancing With The Stars, too. Every year I say I'm not going to watch it and then they'll have someone on I just have to watch. I'm betting on Ralph Macchio this season.
    I love your hilarious excerpts. I wish you luck and hope you do end up with a best seller, James.

  3. Tina and Sarah: I don't know how you girls keep up. It's all I can do on busy days just to answer all the emails and read everything I want to read. I just finished a review of "Winter's Spirit" too, and am trying to respond to the Solstice editor. I whine, but I know you guys have a ton more stuff to keep up with than I do. My hats off to you both. You encourage new people more than anyone else out there. It must be a burden, but we all appreciate it. And, for what it's worth, I am sorry I seem to be the one who has blog trouble more often than the others. Some of us must be inherently slower. What can I say except thank you both.


  4. James, I'm a Dean Koontz fan ever since Whispers. I haven't read Odd Thomas, though (shame on me), so I'll have to add it to my list post haste to read.

    Love your Miss Havana excerpts! Best wishes and much success to you!