Hey Seekervillians! I’m so thrilled to be here again. Thanks to Tina and the amazing bloggers here for welcoming me in.
And to all you readers!
I blog a lot about craft and the writer’s life, but I’ve never focused much on the most important part of books—the readers! The life-blood of the writer’s life!
I mean, where would we be without readers? Readers are the reason books exist.
Or maybe it’s a catch twenty-two: readers exist because there are writers.
I love readers. I love being a reader. Reading inspires our hearts in a way television, movies and music can’t because books allow us to imagine ourselves right into the story.
When I’m writing, I try to “leave space” for the reader to become a part of the story. I don’t have to fill in every little detail, overwrite, over tell, even over show because the reader’s imagination can take the smallest description and turn it into what ever he or she wants.
I imagine if the Holy Spirit is writing through me, helping me tell the story then maybe He’s helping the readers.
Reading is the only sport in which the “consumer” can become a participant. Where elements of their own heart or experience can become part of the story.
Now that can be good or bad… It might inspire the reader to something good, giving them hope. Or it might stir up old memories, pain or fear.
When writing How To Catch A Prince, I encountered an unexpected physical issue.
I write pretty close to deadline but this time, the book wasn’t working and six weeks before the book was due, I found myself starting over.
Then wham! An expected physical set back. I felt very cracked and broken as I stumbled up to my office every day after a sleepless night to hammer out 5000 words.
By the grace of God, the book came together. But it always felt kind of incomplete to me. Like it had cracks. A few months later I was preparing for worship one Sunday morning and had an impression that God would fill the cracks in my story with His own message for the reader.
That moment expanded my understanding of what a book could be.
Sometimes readers don’t know why they really love, or really hate, a book. That’s the beauty of reading, and of being readers.
Sometimes God speaks to or hearts through fictional characters. All we have to do is pause and ask.
As a writer, my reading is hampered by my own ideas of what makes up good fiction, by my understanding of craft, by spending the last 11 years writing full time, swimming in a world of words, plot lines and craft lanes.
But readers… ah beautiful readers… have the ability to see beyond the craft and words and
love the story.
I learned early on that books readers love stories that ring true. Stories that connected with their hearts.
I love that readers read. I love their embracing, forgiving hearts. I love that they read for the pure enjoyment without being overly critical of well… everything.
Last year, I discovered a book that completely swept me away.
From the opening line to the last, I was enthralled. I loved everything about this story. The 1930s time line which alternated between 1931 and 1938. The Rhode Island and New York setting. The story line of a young woman in college falling in love. Seeing her life in 1931 and again in 1938.
There were secrets. Twists. Surprises. A spunky aunt. A handsome hero.
For once I wasn’t a writer reading but a reader reading!
I loved the story and writing so much I wrote to my editor and said, “I want to write like this!” She, oh sweet Becky Philpott, read the book to see what stirred me so much. She also loved it.
Now that’s a good sign for a writer—that her editor “gets her.”
Having that experience made me a reader again. When I need inspiration as a writer, I pick up that book and return to being a reader.
If I could create the experience I had with A Hundred Summers for my readers, I’d be the happiest writer on earth.
It’s funny how when starting out, most writers are so scared to show their work to anyone. Will anyone like it? Can they take the criticism? What if they're horrible? What if they don’t know how to fix what’s wrong?
I can’t wait for readers to read my stories. I want to them to join me on the journey. I hope they love the characters, setting and experience as much as I did.
Then I hope they write to me and remind me why I loved the story in the beginning.
By the end of the book, most writers are sick of a story. “What kind of mess is this?” Ha! I call it “the weeds.” We’re so bogged down with details like word choice and phrasing we can’t see the beautiful forest of the story.
I love hearing from readers. I love when they tell me how God spoke to them, or how they felt His presence. Or how the story reminded them of something or someone they love.
I am so honored to share the world of words with people all over the world.
Last year I heard from a woman in Poland who thought the Gospels didn’t have anything for her anymore until she read The Wedding Dress.
A few weeks later I received an email from a teenage girl in Brazil who was so excited Christian romances existed. She wrote, “Tonight I’m going to pray for you.” Had me in tears.
Those moments remind me this writing thing is bigger than me. So thank you readers! You are all beautiful!
Now let's talk about you. Share when a line from a book that impacted you as a reader. If you're a writer, what particular line or scene impacted you AS a reader while you were writing.
Today is release day for The Wedding Chapel. To celebrate, Rachel is giving away a print copy to a commenter. Seekerville wants to join the fun by giving away an ecopy. Winners announced in the Weekend Edition!
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.
Download a sample chapter here.
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.
|Photo by Rachel Savage|