Bobby Hutchinson was born in a small town in interior British Columbia in 1940. Her father was an underground coal miner, her mother a housewife, and both were storytellers. Learning to read was the most significant event in her early life.
She married young and had three sons. Her middle son was deaf, and he taught her patience. She divorced and worked at various odd jobs, directing traffic around construction sites, day caring challenged children, selling fabric by the pound at a remnant store.
She mortgaged her house and bought the store, took her sewing machine to work, and began to sew a dress a day. The dresses sold. The fabric didn’t, so she hired four seamstresses and turned the store into a handmade clothing boutique.
After twelve successful years, she sold the business and decided to run a marathon. Training was a huge bore, so she made up a story as she ran, about Pheiddipedes, the first marathoner. She copied it down and sent it to the Chatelaine short story contest, won first prize, finished the Vancouver marathon, and became a writer. It was a hell of a lot easier than running.
She married again and divorced again, writing all the while, mostly romances, (which she obviously needs to learn a lot about,) and now has more than fifty-five published books, a number of which she’s in the process of updating for publication on Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords and Apple.
She decided she needed something to do in the morning in her spare time, so she opened her first B&B, Blue Collar, in Vancouver, B.C. After five successful years, she moved home to the small coal-mining town of Sparwood, where she’s been running the reincarnated version of the Blue Collar. She closed it recently so she can do more writing.
She’s currently working on three or four or eight more books. She has six enchanting grandchildren. She lives alone, apart from guests, meditates, bikes, walks, reads incessantly, and writes compulsively.
She likes a quote by Dolly Parton: “Decide who you are, and then do it on purpose.”
What inspires you to write?
People’s stories are amazing. Everyone has their own unique life story, and they often tell me them. Places have their own history and feeling, and often they inspire me. My sister has an ear for drama, she’ll often phone me and say, “Guess what?” Of course I never can, and the resulting conversation is usually a book begging to be told. My own life appears in snippets in my books. So absolutely everything in life is an inspiration.
Tell us about your writing process.
Oh, blimey, my process is no process at all. I get an idea which won’t leave me alone, I see the characters who inhabit the idea, I start at the beginning, curse all through the middle, limp along to the end, always feeling that this is a huge pile of crap. Then I rewrite, and rewrite until at last it sounds not too bad. I often use an astrological guide to figure out what motivates these people, what they need to learn during the course of the book. If I hit a block, I know its because I don’t know enough about one or more of my people.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I listen to them, I talk to them, I interview them before I begin. I dream them, dream the story. Several times, friends have phoned and I’m bawling. I say, “Charlie died,” and they’re so sympathetic–until I pull myself together enough to admit that Charlie is a character in a book I’m writing.
What advice would you give other writers?
Just keep doing it. The more you do a thing the better you get at it, supposedly. Get the words down any way you can, you can always fix the thing later. And always, always–if you’re self published–hire an editor. You won’t believe the mistakes you’re capable of making.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
At first I was published by Harlequin, Leisure, Dorchester, Avon. 55 books published by the big guys. Then publishing began to change, editors couldn’t figure out what they wanted, royalties dropped, and I stopped writing for a few years and opened the Blue Collar B&B. I wrote a book about How Not To Run A B&B, self published it at great expense, and thought that was that with self publishing. But then a writing friend told me about Amazon (this was early days in the wild west of Kindle.) I managed to get the rights back to a number of my books and began scanning, formatting, and publishing them on Kindle and other platforms. Best thing I ever did!
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Sorry, big guys, but the end is in sight for the old publishing mode. Amazon is the best thing to happen to writers since Gutenberg and the first printing press. The internet and the direct contact with readers are fantastic for writers. I would never again go through the submission, agenting, revision process again. Editing, absolutely, but the rest of the middlemen are now obsolete.
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer
What genres do you write?
romance, memoir, children’s books
What formats are your books in?