Sunday, 9 September 2012

SPOTLIGHT: Richard Hatcher and Toxic Relationship

Hi Richard, thanks so much for visiting with me today! I'm so-o looking foward to learning more about your writing journey, so let's get right at it.

1. How long have you been writing? What genres do you write?

First of all, thanks for inviting me to do this interview January. Sounds like you’re having lots of fun with the release of your novel, FOREVER MAN. So, how long have I been writing? I’ve been writing stories since the third grade. I’d bring them to read for show and tell. Over the years I wrote now and then, occasionally pushing a query out the door, but family and work took most of my time and energy. Then about five years ago I realized if I didn’t get on with the writing I’d miss the opportunity. So I started carving out time at night and on weekends. In 2009 I used a move from Austin to Seattle for a major shift to focus much more of my time on writing novels.

In terms of genres, the Nick Sibelius series, which TOXIC RELATIONSHIP is the first, is suspense (but with a sense of humor). I have a sci-fi fantasy that won the Texas Writers League for Sci-fi in 2011, which I will probably pull out again one of these days. And I’m writing a YA fantasy which combines elements of fantasy, speculative and historical fiction.

2. Where do you find your muse for your stories?

Place plays a big role in the development of story ideas for me. TOXIC RELATIONSHIP, rises out of Central Texas, drawing on the land, environment, people, culture, music, food -- all of it.

3. What do you like best about writing?

The total immersion in the world I’m creating. When I’m on my game, I lose track of time. I write in coffee shops quite a bit for the white noise and the energy of the place. It’s not unusual for me to look up and see that five or six hours have passed and my latte is stone cold.

4. What has your journey been like on the road to becoming a published author?

I decided awhile back before being published to start telling people I was a writer. I wanted to own it. But more importantly, I decided I needed to do my art no matter what the market wanted. Some of the greatest artist were unknown in their lifetimes. I think the best writing happens not because there’s a market for a certain kind of story and I’m going to write to it, but because the writing has to happen, whether it gets read by the masses or not. Writers have to write those stories down.

5. Any advice for newbies?

Write, write, write. Be open to feedback and criticism. Write, write, write. Be persistent. Write, write, write. Did I mention write?

6. Who is your favorite character in your novel Toxic Relationship? Why?

I’m torn between two, but I’ll go with Junior. He’s the kind of, as we say in Texas, good old boy, who means well but his actions always seem to lead to a bad end. He’s a likeable felon with a good heart and absolutely no judgement. He provides much of the comic relief for the book.

I’d have to say however, that Nick Sibelius, my protagonist, is my favourite. He’s a tough guy physically, but he definitely has a tender side. His history has been difficult -- his wife cheated on him and a drug dealer killed his police force partner right in front of him -- which has led him to a little plot of land just outside of the city limits of Pflugerville, Texas. He’s a man who would prefer peace and quiet, but keeps finding himself in the vortex of other people’s bad decisions. So he keeps going forward, hoping to create some kind of stability in the midst of chaos.

7. Do you have a favorite author?

I could give you a long list, but when I want to have a fun read, I always enjoy Carl Hiaasen’s novels.

8. What are your writing now?

Champagne Books will be publishing the second Nick Sibelius novel in June, 2013 entitled, DIRTY WATER. So I’ve started work on a third in the series with a tentative title of CHAIN REACTION. I’m also working on a YA fantasy series called INKER WARS. The first book in the series, THE FIVE PENS OF JOHANN is in the draft stage. In addition, I’m writing some short stories.

9. If you could speak to a question you have not been asked yet about your writing what would it be and how would you answer it?

How about if I tell you about TOXIC RELATIONSHIP.

After a murdered partner, a cheating wife and a lost job in Houston, Nick Sibelius sets up a private investigation business in a small Texas town hoping to find some peace and maybe, himself. When a couple disappears and a bass fisherman turns up dead, he finds himself drawn into a web of toxic relationships: MaryLou, a beautiful woman with a mysterious past; Junior, a failed farmer whose best intentions seem to always result in a dead body; Barry, a sociopathic dentist turned illegal toxic waste entrepreneur with visions of grandeur. When the felon who killed his partner in Houston joins forces with Barry, Nick must not only stop the toxic waste dumping while finding his client’s missing daughter, but keep from being killed in the process. In the end, MaryLou’s dark secret will either save him or kill him -- whichever comes first.


Sex, murder and toxic waste. Nowhere else but Texas.


Thanks so much for visiting with us today, Richard!

To purchase Richard Hacker’s fine book, Toxic Relationship, you can visit the links below.

Available Now at

 Kobo, OmniLit and Champagne Books.

 Coming soon to Barnes and Noble and other fine ebook sellers.

You can follow Richard at:

Web & Blog:

Twitter: @Richard_Hacker



  1. I love your comment about writing for five or six hours, and not even realizing the time has flown past. So true! Okay, except the stone cold coffee part, like breathing is an involuntary function, so is my autopilot of 'lift cup and drink liquid energy.' lol.

    1. Thanks, J.A. for visiting and commenting! And I know you are very busy with your own first novel, Instinct having been just released by Champangne. Instinct sounds like a wonderful read and is on my must-read list! Best, January

  2. Toxic Relationship sounds really good. I like your attitude about writing and being a writer.

  3. Thanks, Rhobin, for visiting and commenting today. It means a lot coming from such an accomplished writer. Have a great day! Best, January

  4. Lovely interview, Richard and January. Amazing how those hours seem to dissolve when you're trying to type as fast as the story it unfolding in your imagination, isn't it? And I definitely appreciate your comment about writing what needs to be put down whether it ever is read by the masses or not.
    Another book added to my TBR pile!

    1. Thanks, Jude! I find my finger are challenged to keep up too! Loved your last book so-o much, Jude. Amazing story! Best, January

  5. Nice interview! I'm reading Toxic Relationship right now...enjoying your sense of humor!

  6. Thanks for commenting Audra! Best, January