Donna Hatch, author of the best-selling “Rogue Hearts Series," is a hopeless romantic and adventurer at heart. A music lover, she sings and plays the harp. She is a multi-award winner, a sought-after workshop presenter, and juggles multiple volunteer positions as well as her six children. A native of Arizona who recently transplanted to the Pacific Northwest, she and her husband of over twenty years are living proof that there really is a happily ever after.
Welcome to my blog. Please tell us about your novel: Heart Strings.
Gently bred young ladies don’t run away from home to find employment, but when forced to choose between marrying a brutish oaf or becoming another man’s mistress, Susanna makes an unconventional decision. Following her passion for music, she flees to London with dreams of securing a position as a harpist. Becoming entangled with a handsome violinist who calls himself Kit, but who seems too aristocratic for a working-class musician, may be more problematic than sleeping in the streets. Kit's attention is captured by Susanna’s breath-taking talent, admirable grace, and winsome smiles…until a lawman exposes the new harpist as a runaway bride and a thief. With peril lurking in the shadows, Susanna’s imminent danger not only forces Kit to choose between his better judgment and his heart, but he must also embrace the life to which he swore he would never return.
This sounds like an intriguing book. Where did you get your inspiration for this story?
I am a harpist, and I mention a harp or a harpist in almost all of my stories. However, I wanted to write a plot that centered around the heroine being a harpist—not just for fun, but for her livelihood—which created some fun predicaments.
I’m so impressed. I love listening to the harp. I have a CD with harp music that I go to sleep with. I love it. What kind of research did you do?
Since I’m a harpist and my daughter is a violinist, I already knew all I needed about that aspect of the plot. However, I did some research regarding how professional orchestras were run. When I was unable to learn much about how they operated in England during the Regency, I had to rely upon orchestras of today. So, I contacted a friend who is a professional musician with an orchestra. She offered a few guidelines to help me. I also researched the Watermen’s Stairs in Wapping—I can’t wait to see that in person someday.
Tell me about one of the main characters and what you love about him or her?
I love both of my main characters! However, Kit was especially fun to write because he’s such a happy, kind person, yet still has some room for character growth. Writing his relationship with his sister was a delight.
You love to write regency romances. Why is that?
As a child, my most beloved books were historicals. My favorites were the Laura Ingalls Wilder series, and Frances Hodgson Burnett’s A Little Princess and The Secret Garden. I read those books over and over. Later, I discovered other historicals like Little Women, Jane Eyre, and Anne of Green Gables. So my love for historicals grew at an early age.
Historicals are like a whole new world, totally different from the modern world in which I live. Regency in particular is fun because the manners of society are so formal and lavish (unlike my reality). Besides what’s not to love about men who can dance? Not to mention that there are few things as manly as riding horseback or fencing or being willing to engage in a dual to protect his honor. Mostly, I love Regency because of the men. Or at least, my perception of the men. They were gentlemen. They were committed to duty and were so wrapped up in honor that they were willing to die for it. And that is a character trait I find immensely attractive.
I totally agree. Historical fiction not only helps us to understand what our ancestors’ lives must have been like, but for some reason it feels so much more romantic. Hahaha. Women who fought for their rights, for equality and respect…and men who were swashbuckling heroes intrigue me. Here is my review of this Regency Romance below.
“Heart Strings is a tale of a young woman treated cruelly by her relations after the death of her parents. This story reminds me a lot of Cinderella. Susanna’s aunt dressed her in rags, half starved her, and locked her in her bedroom if she felt inclined to do so. The aunt reminded me of the “evil step mother” in Cinderella. The difference between the two stories is that Susanna would not put up with the abuse of her aunt any longer and decided to run away. The harp lessons that her parents gave her would now help her to escape the cruelty of her aunt. Dressed in threadbare clothes, she searches for a job as a musician. Kit, a wealthy man incognito, comes to her rescue and helps her to audition as a harpist in an orchestra. I was touched by his kindness and sympathy towards her. Susanna doesn’t find out he’s wealthy until towards the end of the story. This love story is lovely and I really enjoyed it.” –Written by Linda Weaver Clarke