Greetings, inspy romance friends. We hope this finds you well and enjoying the start of the Advent season. Today we’re excited to share an interview with a delightful author, Rachel Hauck. So grab your favorite beverage, perhaps a Christmas cookie or two, and read more about the inspiration behind her latest release, as well as what we can expect from Rachel in 2016. She’s also giving away an autographed copy of The Wedding Chapel (woot! woot!) so stay tuned for more details about how can you enter to win.
Rachel, you mentioned at the ACFW conference that The Wedding Chapel came about when an editor prompted you for the premise of your next novel and you casually mentioned a chapel you happened to be driving by. The editor said, “Great! Go with it.” Were you excited, inspired, petrified? Tell us a little more about the creative process of breathing life into this novel.
RH: The reason I mentioned the wedding chapel in the first place was I felt inspired by the sight of that chapel, up on the hill, in the glen. When the editorial team got excited about it, my thoughts started churning. I love the creative process of figuring out what a story is going to be. It’s making the ideas work that make me sweat. I was excited and inspired by a wedding chapel story, digging deep to figure out how to make it different and interesting.
I knew I wanted to write dual timelines, and a post World War 2 character was already in my mind. Though over time, he changed some and morphed some, but my original inspiration gave birth to the story you read today.
As a reader, I appreciated that the characters in this novel wrestled with the gritty, messy, challenging aspects of loving people who are imperfect. One character in particular struggles with a heap of baggage and giving up the right to be angry. Yet another “…craved the escape of being another character. Of living a life written by others.” Did you begin with these themes in the forefront of your mind or did it come about organically as you wrote?
RH: The historical characters sort of developed as I developed the story. The sisters were not part of my original inspiration but I definitely wanted to deal with unrequited love. As I created Colette, the historical heroine, her sister came to life in my mind.
As a follow-up to the previous question: what message do you hope readers take away from reading The Wedding Chapel?
RH: Love and family are the backbone of life. Are your actions today going to be the actions you regret or regard as you face the end of your life. Bitterness and jealousy bear no good fruit. Forgive. Love well. No hurt is really worth holding onto. That’s the beauty of the Cross.
One character in this novel is an award-winning soap opera actress, another a photographer. You’ve also written about royalty, cooking show hosts, country music stars … just to name a few. How do you choose your characters’ professions?
RH: Good question. I chose professions that interest me. Things I want to research or investigate. Probably all the things I wanted to be as a kid growing up.
Do you have a favorite character from a novel you’ve written that you found especially difficult to say goodbye to when the novel was finished?
RH: All characters are my favorite. There’s a certain sadness saying goodbye to them but a relief… Then joy at seeing them come to life in the final book. But Jade Benson from the Songbird Novels with Sara Evans was a really special character for me. I was really sad when I wrote The End on her story.
Your author bio mentions you write from an ivory tower? Even in the most idyllic setting for writing, how do you stay motivated to keep writing? Music? Deadlines? Consistent word count goals?
RH: I’m pragmatic about it. I treat it like a job. I simply “go to work” every day. When I’m on deadline I know how many words I have to write a day and about how long it will take me to accomplish the goal. After awhile, I learned my best approach to a novel and that becomes part of my planning and process.
I do listen to music much more than I used to but I keep it very low. I hop on Facebook or check email every now and then, okay, every minute (ha!) then get right back to work!
The big thing about meeting deadlines is not to go by how you feel. Just do the work.
What’s on the horizon for you? What can readers look forward to in 2016?
RH: Ooo, I just finished The Wedding Shop which comes out July 2016. Later in the year, A Royal Christmas Wedding in October 2016.
Just for fun: if you could have dinner with any three people living or dead, who would you invite and why?
RH: I’d love to have dinner with my grandparents again, especially my Grandpa Hayes because he died when I was one and a half. I’d like to talk to my great grandparents. I’m going to count those as one, okay? I’d also invite the apostle Paul and King Solomon.
My grandparents to learn about my family, to learn about their lives. Paul to hear first hand about his life and what it was like to be so intense and devoted to the Gospel. I’m sure I’d be convicted by his first word. King Solomon because he was the wisest man to ever live.
Thank you for visiting with us, Rachel. The Wedding Chapel is a delightful read!
A lonely wedding chapel built as a tribute to lost love just might hold the long-awaited secret to hope and reconciliation.
For sixty years, the wedding chapel has stood silent and empty. Retired football hall-of-famer Jimmy “Coach” Westbrook built the chapel by hand, stone by stone, for his beautiful and beloved Collette Greer, whom he lost so many years ago. The chapel is a sanctuary for his memories, a monument to true love, and a testament to his survival of the deepest pain and loss.
Photographer Taylor Branson left her hometown of Heart’s Bend, Tennessee to make a new life for herself in New York. Taylor had lots to run away from, not least of all a family history of broken promises and broken dreams. Love catches Taylor off guard when she falls for Jack Forester, a successful advertising executive, and their whirlwind romance leads to an elopement – and then to second guesses. Jack, in spite of his very real love for Taylor, is battling his own demons and struggles to show her his true self and the depths of his love for her.
When Taylor takes a photography assignment in Heart’s Bend, she is thrown back into her own past and encounters family secrets buried deep beneath the sands of time. And when Taylor and Coach’s journeys collide, they each rediscover the heartbeat of their own dreams as they learn that the love they long to hold is well worth waiting for.
Author Bio: Rachel Hauck is a USA Today Best Selling, and award-winning author of critically acclaimed novels such as The Wedding Dress, Love Starts with Elle, and Once Upon A Prince.
She also penned the Songbird Novels with multi-platinum recording artist, Sara Evans. Booklist named their novel, Softly and Tenderly, one of 2011 Top Ten Inspirationals.
A graduate of Ohio State University with a degree in Journalism, Rachel worked in the corporate software world before planting her backside in an uncomfortable chair to write full-time in 2004.
She serves on the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers and leads worship at their annual conference. She is a mentor and book therapist at My Book Therapy, and conference speaker.
Rachel lives in central Florida with her husband and pets, and writes from her two-story tower in an exceedingly more comfy chair. She is a huge Buckeyes football fan.
“Hauck writes with an authenticity that is hard to find.”
“Rachel Hauck’s stories are filled with twists and turns that leave the reader breathless and longing for more. She … stirs hearts for God.”
Debbie Macomber – #1 NYT bestselling author
“This is classic romance at its very best.”
Debbie Macomber – #1 NYT bestselling author of Once Upon A Prince
“I have become the biggest Rachel Hauck fan! Not only from working with her in writing my books, but just reading her stand-alone novels! She is truly so smart, witty and seems to have a direct insight to human nature and our emotions. She knows the right things to say that always confirm what I’m feeling, and I’m sure many many others too!”
Award-winning, multiplatinum recording artist Sara Evans
Giveaway details: One fortunate reader will receive an autographed copy of The Wedding Chapel. Please leave a comment below and share your favorite detail about attending a wedding. Easy peasy, right? Contest closes at midnight EST on Saturday, December 5th.