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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!


Cara Putman said...

What a great interview. Rachel, thanks for sharing your heart. The more I see pieces of it in your blog and interviews, the more I know you are right where God wants you. Isn't that a great feeling.

I emailed Sabrina the answers, but here are mine:

Fav Movie: Gone With the Wind, hands down. Love the book, love the movie. THere are several in close second place, but I can always go back to GWTW.

Fav Passion: God followed closely by family. There's just so much of Him I don't know yet, and He's reminding me almost daily that there is so much more to following Him and knowing Him. What a great adventure!

Diann Hunt said...

Great interview, Sabrina and Rachel!! With all those travels, Rachel, you probably have a ton of ideas floating around in that brain of yours! ;-)

Can't wait to read your book!!!


Sabrina L. Fox said...

Already have a few girls down for the contest. Some have emailed without leaving a comment. Which is fine. Keep'em coming.

Alison Strobel Morrow said...

Wow, what a fantastic interview. Rachel, what you said about writing as a career really spoke to me. You said a lot of things I needed to hear. Thank you so much for taking the time to put so much thought and energy into answering those questions. God used you today! :)


Jennifer Tiszai said...

Great interview! It was so nice to get to know Rachel better. Rachel, I love your blog and how sold out to Jesus you and your husband are. It's an encouragement to me.

Heather Diane Tipton said...

Great interview, Sabrina and Rachel!!

Rachel, you of course know I'm a big fan of you and your blog... I'm also a big fan of Georgia! It's one of the best books I've read this year!

Jenny said...

Sabrina, wonderful interview!
Rachel, your heart rang true all the way through. I got to meet you in Denver and this interview only reinforces what I saw there. You are so right about the assets of conferences--ACFW especially. Plus, Isaiah 41:13 is one of my two favorite verses (the other is 1 Peter 1:3). Congratulations on Geargia on Her Mind. Can't wait to see you again in Dallas!
Abundant blessings,
Jenny Cary

Rachel Hauck said...

Hi Everyone,

What fun! Thanks for stopping by and saying hi! Good to see you all today.

See you in Dallas if you're coming, if not, see you in Cyberspace.

Love, Rachel

michael snyder said...

Good stuff, ladies. Especially like the reminders to actually do the work. There really are no shortcuts. I know. I've looked.

Malia Spencer said...

What a fantastic interview! Rachel some of the things you said spoke to me about things I've been struggling with. Thank you for Rachel for doing the interview and Sabrina for posting it.

You're both a blessing.

Crystal said...

I met Rachel the first time at Houston ACFW--she was president then (and now!again...) and it was my first ACFW conference. She was not published at that time. (I had just made a turn in my writing from nonfiction to fiction.) Her Sunday morning "sermon" that year conveyed these same principles and the message in this interview. She has a fresh, strong, voice, but it still astounds me that she is in her 40s. She seemed so much younger than me...

Rachel Hauck said...

Hey you guys, do any of you get RWR magazine?

There's a conversation with Nora Roberts - and it's hilarious!

She basically says what we've been talking about here. "Sit down and do it!"

Michael, you're right. No short cuts.

Blessings, Rachel

Sabrina L. Fox said...

Man, a girl leaves her blog for a couple days and look how busy she gets. (My uncle passed away this week and I've been very busy)

Thanks everybody for taking the time to get to know Rachel. What an inspiration her faith in God has been to me. Remember to check out her Blog. She has some great stuff there. Including the answer to the trivia question. You still have time to email me the answer if you'd like to register for a copy of Georgia on her Mind.

I'll post the winner tomorrow afternoon. Then this week I'm hoping to post one of my first prepubbed writer interviews. So be sure to stop back next week.

Rachel Hauck said...

Sabrina, sorry to hear about your uncle. Prayers for grace and peace for the family.

Thanks for giving to me on your blogspot!


Camy Tang said...

Great interview! Thanks, Sabrina and Rachel!

I loved Lambert's Code and I'm looking forward to Georgia On Her Mind (it's staring at me from my TBR pile). It's so neat learning more about Rachel!


Lynette Sowell said...

Great interview, Sabrina (new buddy) and Rachel (longtime-but-not-old buddy). :) Awesome reminders of how to do what we do. Just do it. :)

Sabrina L. Fox said...

Congratulations to Tina Helmuth, the winner of Georgia on Her Mind!

Happy reading, Tina. And thank you everybody else for making Rachel feel so welcome.