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Thursday, July 27, 2006



What a blessing to have Rachel Hauck here to chat and talk about her upcoming release, Georgia on Her Mind. I confess, I only briefly met Rachel at conference in Nashville last year, I’ve seen Rachel around on the blogs, but I’ve known very little about her. When I do an interview with someone, I like to go to their website and blog and read everything I can about that person.

That’s what I did to prepare for this interview, too. I found the usual stuff--some basic family info, pictures, news on her books, etc…what I found especially unique was her deep understanding and faith in the Lord. Her blog post for Wednesday July 26th was such a blessing to me. Every post I read gave a little insight to the true heart of this writer and I hope when this interview is done, you’ll cruise over there to take a look.

Hi, Rachel, so good to have you hear today. Rachel, for those that maybe don’t know you, tell us a little about yourself. Family, faith, what made you want to be a writer. Anything you’d like to share.

RH – It’s good to be here! Thank you for inviting me.

About me? Well, I’m a young 40-something, or so I keep telling myself. Married to the coolest guy ever. We don’t have children, (God’s choice, not ours) but we have a couple of very spoiled pets. I’m the oldest girl of five siblings – and I’m not quite as bossy as my birth order might indicate.

I graduated from Ohio State with a degree in Journalism. I was a sorority girl, and partier, but met Jesus when I was six, and never stopped loving Him. I mean, once you meet the lover of your soul, it’s hard to forget.

My husband is a pastor, and I am a worship and prayer leader - two things that are my passion. Okay, three. We can count my husband in there.

On writing – my dad always told me I was a writer. He encouraged me, even wrote me letters when I was in college telling me what a great writer I was. I bet he only read one or two things I’d ever written. He just knew. I believe parents are so key in speaking truth and destiny into their children’s lives. My dad spoke destiny over me.

I did love to write, and kept journals for years. Then learned the discipline of news writing. I finally attempted my first novel when I was in my early 30’s.

I noticed you’ve traveled quite a bit. Do you have a favorite place?

RH – If you’ve ever traveled a lot, especially for work, my answer will make sense. My favorite place is home! God answered the desire of my heart to travel while curing me of said desire at the same time. Traveling is hard work, my life was not my own. I returned from a Friday lunch one day to learn I was on a three o’clock flight to Denver. What weekend plans?

I loved Australia, despite the incredible plane ride to get there. However, my work days were so long I didn’t get to see many of the sites. On the other hand, I met a lot of real, every day people and I love Australians.

I loved the people I met in every city and every country. Spain was a lovely place, and Ireland.

As I’ve said, I read most of your blog posts. I saw one where you talked about how much writing you do every day. I was very impressed. I think it was Georgiana who said her fingers would be numb if she wrote that much. LOL. Can you take us through a typical day for you?

RH – To be honest, some days are better than others. I write a lot on when a the deadline is waiting for me at the end of the month. My typical writing day starts mid-morning and I write from five to eight hours. Depends on the day. I do a lot of staring, too.

Once the book is done, and I’m rewriting, I can easily put in a twelve or fourteen hour day. But it’s dangerous because I get tired and end up skimming or making sloppy, hasty changes. I get so close to a book, I can’t see the strengths or weaknesses objectively. That’s what editors are for.

What kind of timeline is involved in one of your novels? From concept to mailing it off.

RH – I’m just now finding my groove on starting a novel from scratch and finishing it. Most of my ideas have been birthed over time and I took months and months to think about the characters and stories while writing another book.

For example: I came up with Georgia On Her Mind’s heroine, Macy Moore in November, wrote a synopsis and three chapters, but then had some suggested changes by an agent and by the time I made those and started writing, three more months passed. I finished it the following July.

Lost In NashVegas took me six months to develop the concept of Robin McAfee, an upstart songwriter. My first attempts at her story was sent back to me by my agent with a “hum, no.” I sold the story last August, started writing in October and met a January 31st deadline.

The book I’m writing now, Diva NashVegas was conceived in April and started in earnest in May. I’m rewriting and editing now. It’s due in a few weeks. So, I conceived of and wrote this book in four months. A miracle for me, and I have to say it was hard. Very hard, but I prayed and prayed, and stood on the Lord’s promise to help me. (Is 41:13.) On the other side of the story mountain, I have to admit Aubrey James is the most favorite character I’ve ever written. Something very touching about her.

Do you submit chapters to a crit partner or just wait until the book is finished for final editing?

RH - The critic process is difficult for me. Or should I say for those I’m asking to critique. “Here, can you crit an 80k word manuscript in two weeks? You don’t have a life do you?”

I write and rewrite. To be honest, I don’t think anyone’s first draft is crit worthy. So much changes in my story, a critiquers efforts would be wasted early on. I refuse to do that to anyone. However, my husband and a few others will take it during the last two weeks and read. I get good input from them.

Are you a detailed plotter or SOTP?

RH – I’m a mix of plotter and pantser. I definitely have to know my characters before the story resonates. But I also need to know the plot points. Usually they are somehow involved with the journey of the character.

The whole time I’m writing, I’m making notes, thinking things through, combing through the story in my mind. I constantly work on the story as I’m writing.

What’s the hardest part of writing? The actual plotting, proposals, marketing, etc…

RH – Getting the first draft on paper is the absolute hardest part. Figuring out the story and characters, letting it breathe and develop while trying to stick to “the plan” for the book. It’s like birth. Emotionally painful. I pray a lot.

I ask everyone this. What do you think is the biggest misconception for newbie writers and what advice would you give them?

RH – For newbie writers, it’s the idea that once they get published, they’ve arrived. Writing is the hardest work I’ve ever done. Working fifteen hours a day on a down computer system in Australia was easier.

Once a writer is published, then it’s about working with the publisher, writing the next proposal, working on craft, marketing and the ever dreaded deadline. I’ve heard new writers talk about not writing unless they feel inspired. Deadlines will change that.
Insecurity never leaves, either. All writers are insecure. There’s the dreaded idea that my publishers will wake up one day and realize, “Rachel Hauck is a fraud.” I’ve heard a lot of authors express this insecurity.

The only difference between pubbed and non-pubbed authors is track record. But insecurity is always around.

Also, I think it’s easy to think too much of ourselves. Getting published is wonderful and amazing, but we are really only legends in our own mind.

So, to all writers I say, keep it real. Keep your identity in Jesus, in who you are to Him, not what you do. If writing defines you, you’ll be crushed.

You are more than writing. You are the Beloved of the King of Kings.

One more thought here, networking! I don’t think newbies realize how important it is to network, go to conferences. I wouldn’t be where I am today without networking. (And God’s help.)

Also, treat your writing like a business, a career. Not a hobby. Invest in yourself with time and money. Very important in the process to believe you are starting a new business, and needs to be treated as such.

Is there anything you know now that you wish you had known back in the beginning of your career? Such as any profound advice for unpublished writers. No pressure. LOL

RH – Just know it’s a lot of solitary work. Missing out on TV shows, movies, friendships. It emotionally draining at times. Be ready to give of yourself. If you work at it, you will do well. Don’t let the tyranny of the urgent distract you. Get a schedule, and keep it. If you keep it 50% of the time, you’re doing well.

Also, write the first draft. Don’t keep rewriting and reworking the front of the book or chapters you’ve already written. Write the entire book no matter how much it changes, no matter how much you hate it. Write it! Then rewrite it and rewrite it again.

Most books need to be rewritten at least three or four times. Then the editor gets it and you rewrite once more.

Be teachable. Keep a willing and open heart. Though every book is a labor of love and tears, let others help you improve it.

Read, read, read. Read up, too. Classics, books on the best seller list. Listen to who others are talking about and read them.

Would you mind sharing with us the day you made your first sale and how long had you been writing before you were published?

RH- My first sale was a co-authorship with Lynn Coleman. We proposed a Heartsong series together. I met Lynn at a conference by the way. When I found out for sure HP was going to buy Lambert’s Pride, I was eating lunch in Chili’s with ACFW member Allison Wilson. Lynn called me to tell me the due date.

I wrote the story, Lynn edited and brainstormed with me. At the time of the sale, I’d written two books. One to never see the light of day, though there are some very memorable characters. The other was almost purchased by Heartsong, but they’d already contract a book with a similar plot.

I’d been writing since ’94, but not steady. I’d say I’d been writing for about four years when Lambert’s Pride sold.

How did you come up with the idea for Georgia on Her Mind?

RH – Grit and grind. I just thought and thought. Read several chick lits. Then pictured a girl on the phone with her friend, giving her the low down on her stinky work situation. I have to say Macy’s journey is an exaggeration of a few of my own corporate experiences. She is my most autobiographical character, but even that is about one percent.

The story was fun to write. I was working at the time as a software project manager, and I’d leave work, go home and write for a few hours.

Do you have a goal of how many books you'd like to write each year and do you schedule breaks?

RH – Currently, I’m writing two books a year for WestBow Press. I have three more to write for them, which I’m excited about. Breaks come when they come. I have set deadlines, and on paper it looks like I have six months to write each book, but by the time I do rewrites and then edits and galleys, I only have about four or five months to conceive of and write another book.

I’m working on getting a better plan for coming up with each book and writing while waiting for the previous book’s edits.

What are you currently working on?

RH – I’m writing a book called Diva NashVegas about a country superstar who’s life changes quite a bit one summer. I mentioned Aubrey James earlier, but I’ll say again what a great character she turned out to be. I love her.

Thanks so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to do this interview, Rachel. And I hope everyone will check out Rachel’s Website and her posts on FaithChick. May God continue to use you for His glory! And to win a copy of Georgia on Her Mind, go to Rachel's website and find the answer to this question. What is Rachel's favorite movie and her passion? Two things. Email me the answer and I will draw for the winner on Monday. Happy Sleuthing!

RH – Thank you so much for having me, Sabrina! It’s been fun. Be blessed, everyone.

Georgia on Her Mind is available August 1st. Click here to order now!

Friday, July 21, 2006


Thank you for commenting on Shirlee's interview. I had two girls who took the time to find out the answer to the trivia question. Cara Putman and Patricia Woodside. I've decided to send a book to each of you. I hope you'll all come back next week. I'm reviewing Georgia on Her Mind, followed by an interview with the author Rachel Hauck.

And again, I can't thank Shirlee enough. It's hard enough to get the writing done, but to take the time to do stuff like this...well, she's a gem! Thanks, Shirlee, and we'll be watching that blog for future lessons on writing, market and just general writing tidbits.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

p.s. Thanks, Camy, for the plug on your blog. You rock!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


I believe we (writers) have it so much better than those in years past. We have the internet for research. We have all kinds of books on craft. Writing conferences. But even more importantly, we have great published writers who give of themselves to those of us who still have so much to learn.

Having said that, most of my friends know I'm targeting Love Inspired Suspense for my Prescription for Murder book. Like most new writers, I try to read books in my chosen market as often as I can. It was after ordering Even in the Darkness and When Silence Falls, that I went in search of Shirlee McCoy's website and ultimately her blog. I've so enjoyed getting to know her through her blog. Her insight into the publishing/writing world has been very enlightening. I think it must be the teacher in her that brings out her mentoring side. =)
Thank you for being here, Shirlee. I've read on your blog you are the second of five children. Now married and the mother of four young children, who you homeschool. Sounds like your life is pretty full. And yet, you still find time write. Any tips on how you make it all work?

I always recommend that writers choose daily word count goals rather than setting a specific time or number of minutes they plan to write. This tends to work, because it forces us to meet a very specific goal. If I write for a half-hour, I may write half a page or five pages. My progress will be sporadic and I may feel that I'll never finish my project. If I commit to writing five hundred words a day, I'll make consistent progress toward finishing. That's always a good feeling!

What kind of timeline is involved in one of your novels? From conception to mailing it off.

It takes me about a month to prepare a proposal (three chapters and a synopsis). Once that's approved, I usually have the book written and mailed out within two months. So, I guess that would be three months altogether.

Sheesh, woman! What kind of word count do you strive for daily? And do you take a certain amount of time off in between books

I write 2,000 words daily. I like to take a few days off when I finish a project, but that doesn't always work out. Sometimes I get really sluggish and take off more time than I should! Or, I'll play around with different ideas and not focus on any one project. Other times, I move right into the next story.

Are you a detailed plotter or SOTP?

I'm a SOTP writer, but I wouldn't say it's the best way to go. I really admire people who can do detailed plots before they write. It makes the process easier. Now that I sell my work on proposal, I write a long synopsis before I actually write the story. So, I guess I do plot some.

I've asked many writers how confident they are of their work. (since this is a big issue for me) The answers have varied. Some writers know they are writing well and it's just a matter of time before they sell that first book. Then there are published authors I know who still struggle with confidence. Do you struggle with confidence, if not, what has been the hardest thing for you as a writer to overcome?

I'm never satisfied with what I write. I always feel it could be better. However, I also realize that I could spend ten years trying to reach elusive perfection. I've had to learn to do the best work I can, and then let it go.

If you could have one book on the writing craft, what would it be and why?

Wow, that's a good question. The fact is, I've never read a book on the craft of writing, so I can't even begin to answer this. To study writing, I'd want a huge pile of published books in a variety of genres. Reading good writing teaches a person the flow of good story telling. Good story telling is key to success as a writer.

Wow, to think of all the money you've saved. Those craft books aren't cheap! LOL. Did I read you do things a little different in that you don't have a "crit" group? Can you share why that works for you and if you have your work critiqued before sending it off?

I don't have a critique group. I do have readers. And I pay a freelance editor to edit my final draft. My method is pretty simple I write the first draft on my own, revise, send the revised draft to my freelance editor, incorporate the changes she suggests, pass copies of the manuscript to four trusted readers. When they finish with it, I ask for comments and suggestions, make any further changes, and send it on to my editor at Harlequin. It's a method that works well for me. Mostly because I don't see much benefit in chapter by chapter critiquing. To be truly assessed, a story should be read in its entirety. That allows the reader to really get a handle on its strengths and weaknesses. Of course, that's only an opinion .

What do you think is the biggest misconception new writers will have to face?

That writing is controlled by muse and passion, and that being an author is somehow easier because it is something we love.

I guess that's not really a misconception so much as a dream. Writing is hard work. It only gets harder after a writer is published. The best thing any writer can do is get into good writing habits before she's published. Then when the time comes, she'll know what she's capable of & how many books a year she can produce, how long it takes her to write a first draft, how long it takes her to revise. Those things are really important when a writer is facing deadlines. I love writing. I can't imagine not doing it. But there are days when I'd rather do anything but write (even clean the bathroom!). To be successful, a writer has to be willing to write even when she doesn't feel like it. I think that's probably the hardest part of what we do.

Great point! I often wonder how much I could write if I was on a deadline. Good writing habits would make that much less scary.

On a more fun note, tell us about the day you found out you sold Still Waters. How did you celebrate and have you ever had a fabulous "Author" moment?

Selling STILL WATERS was such an awesome moment. It was my parents' anniversary. They'd gone on a trip. My husband had just startehomeschooling Things were pretty typical homeshooling kids, cleaning, feeling tired. Then the phone rang. I looked at the caller ID, saw Harlequin's name and number, and almost didn't answer. I was that nervous! I'd been hoping to sell the book. I'd spoken to Melissa Endlich on the phone a few months before and she'd told me she loved the story and the writing. I assumed that if they were calling, they wanted to buy it, but I was so afraid I was wrong, that maybe Melissa was calling me because she felt so bad about having to say no. I finally managed to pick up the phone, and was blown away when I was told Harlequin didn't just want to buy STILL WATERS, they wanted to offer me a two book contract. Wow! What an awesome moment. Of course, I tried calling everyone I knew and no one answered. LOL. I finally got in touch with my husband after several tries. He brought home dinner and flowers and a beautiful card that I still have.

I think my most fabulous author moment was signing at the D.C book expo in June. There were thousands of people there. I think it's the first time I've really felt like an author. Most days I just feel like me.

Can you tell us about any new projects you're working on?

I've just finished writing, VALLEY OF SHADOWS. It's the story of a character who appears in EVEN IN THE DARKNESS. In it, I take a very sweet, unassuming and rather mousy woman and throw her together with a dark, angst-ridden hero. They make a great couple. It just takes them a while to realize it! That will be out in July 2007. I've also got a book coming out in February 2007. LITTLE GIRL LOST is the second in the Secret of Stoneley continuity. My other project still needs to be approved by my editor, so I won't give any details.

Wow, sounds like you're going to have a very busy 2007. As always, Shirlee, you've been such a blessing. Thank you for being here and for all the help and encouragement you give to newbies like myself! Please check out http://www.shirleemccoy.comfor more great information on Shirlee and to keep posted on her future projects. And if you haven't checked out When Silence Falls, here's the link to order.

Finally, if you'd like to enter to win one of Shirlee's books from my own reading library, please go to Shirlee's blog and email me the answer to this question...In Shirlee's opinion, what are the three secrets to success? I will put the names in a drawing and let you know on Friday who the winner is. Happy searching.

Friday, July 14, 2006


Hey, all! I just wanted to send a quick reminder to peek in on the Scenes and Beans gang. You'll remember, Brandilyn Collins launched her character blog for the Kanner Lake series. I'm fortunate enough to be writing for one of her fab characters, Carla Radling. My first post was up yesterday, July 13th. I was out most of the day and forgot to post a reminder. Sigh. Hope you'll still stop by and chat with the other characters. Have a great weekend.

p.s. Shirlee McCoy's interview should be up Monday! Please stop by to see why she's one of my favorite writers.

Monday, July 03, 2006


Since I sometimes struggle with things to blog about, I've decided to blog about you all. =) I'd like to showcase some great future Christian fiction authors. There are so many out there that are SOOO close. I thought it would be fun to learn a little bit about them before they're so famous they don't have time to do blog interviews. LOL.

I'll be sending out emails in the next week or so to invite writers to participate. I'm also going to be doing a few author interviews in the next few weeks. I hope you will stop by regularly to support the talented writers of our future.

Also, Shirlee McCoy has some great info on her blog. She gives great insight not only to writing, but also publishing and marketing. She talks today about paying for critiques and editing services. On that note I'd like to let you all in on Camy Tang's fabulous Story Sensei Summer Sale.

The Story Sensei Summer Sale - A writers' summer event!

From now until July 15th, she will be holding a fabulous contest for her Story Sensei critique service.

She will draw the names of TWO lucky winners! They will each receive:

A free synopsis critique - up to 10 pages single-spaced, a $40 value!


A coupon for 25% OFF any manuscript critique - whether full or partial manuscript, any number of words. For a 100,000 word manuscript, that's a savings of $250!

In addition, EVERYONE WHO ENTERS will receive a 10% OFF coupon for any service, whether synopsis, query letter, or manuscript critique (full or partial). For a 100,000 word manuscript, that's a savings of $100, just for entering.

Go to my Story Sensei blog and post a comment to enter the contest!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Where are you at?

I'm one of those people who become paralyzed when I leave things undone. I feel like I need to work on Rock Bottom and finish it. However, until I feel finished with Prescription for Murder, I don't think I'll be able to progress with RB. I'm to the point I'm going to send off Prescription for Murder just to wash my hands of it. I think I'm at a place where it's sink or swim. I keep reworking the same scenes over and over until they no longer resemble the same story I started long ago. I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing. =)

That being said, I thought it would be fun to commiserate together. Where are you all at with your current WIP? Are you feeling great? Are you stressed? Overwhelmed? Relieved to be done with your current project. Or maybe you got some great news you'd like to share. No matter where you are feel free to share.