How did a magazine editor, a male magazine editor—the executive editor of Guideposts - become a romance writer? According to Rick Hamlin, it had something to do with his wife, her Georgette Heyer novels, and, most likely, a romantic spirit.
Writing a romance is quite a departure from editing Guideposts magazine. You are truly a multi-talented writer. What inspired you to write Reading Between the Lines?
I work most of my days with true inspiring stories from real people, so I guess it seemed natural to imagine what some fictional characters would do in a situation I dreamed up. Most of the book takes place in New York City where I work and live, and it's fun to put yourself on familiar turf with some imaginary characters.
Many men who attempt to write romance aren't able to incorporate the emotional aspects of the love relationship that are so important to women, but you've done this beautifully! To what do you attribute your ability?
How very flattering. Thank you. Maybe it comes from working with a lot of female writers at the magazine or maybe it's from reading books my wife recommends. But maybe it's also because I don't think men are that different from women. We all have the same desire to be understood and loved.
Reading your bio, we see that vocal music has always been an important part of your life. In Reading Between the Lines, the musical talent that Elizabeth Ash possesses is instrumental. Do you also play musical instruments, and, if not, how did you convey the passion and love of Elizabeth's talent so convincingly?
I play the piano really badly. But I have a lot of friends who are professional musicians. I like hearing about their lives.
One senses that the prayer that sustains Jim Lockhart through the loss of his wife and the grief that follows is one that resonates with you personally. Is that true? If so, explain.
It's a prayer I say everyday. Many times a day. It's an anchor for me. When I find my self distracted from what's really important - pulled in a million different directions - I use the prayer to get centered again. As executive editor of Guideposts, you focus on the editing and organizational aspects of writing and publishing daily. Was it difficult for you to shift and write from the creative well of fiction?
I wrote the book at night. Ten o'clock at night. It was so relaxing to go into that imaginative part of my brain. Regenerative. You never know what's going to come out.
Editing a major national magazine, living in New York, teaching Sunday school, singing in a local Gilbert and Sullivan troupe, enjoying your close relationship with your wife, Carol - you are a very busy man. How do you find time to write novels? Where and when do you write?
As I said, I write at night and on weekends. I've got a laptop and I put it on the dining room table and open it up. There is this bad idea floating around that you're supposed to wait for your creative juices to flow. Well, I think you can put your creativity on a schedule. Expect it to show up. Put it to work. The imagination is like any muscle. It responds well to regular exercise.
Carol is also a talented writer. Do you ask her to read your manuscript in progress, assist you in the plotting process? What part do you play in her writing endeavors?
We talk about writing a lot, but we never talk much about plots or the details of a character. Somehow it's better to put all that energy in the writing itself. When I've finished a draft I'll talk about something, but I'm usually feeling so vulnerable in the middle of the creative process I don't want to babble on. Where Carol is really helpful is when I have a question about what a woman might wear. Some stuff I don't know at all. Generally we don't read each other's manuscripts, but we support each other in the process.
Between the Lines begs for film adaptation. If you were going to cast the book as a movie, what actors would you cast in the lead roles?
Julianne Moore for the hair color and Aaron Eckhart...Does that seem right?
After reading the deeply poignant Between the Lines, romance fans are going to want a second story from Rick Hamlin. Is there a second romance in progress? If so, will you please tell us something about the story?
Sure there is. There's always something in the lap top. Like I said, I don't like to talk too much about plots while I'm plotting them, but if I told you that it's set in Florence, Italy, and it involves a singer and a film critic I suppose I'm not giving too much away...
What do you wish your readers knew about you?
When I was writing the book I was thinking a lot about how necessary a fantasy life is. It helps us hatch our dreams. As long as you don't read too much between the lines!
How can your readers contact you, Rick?
Email me at Rick.Hamlin@att.net