Today I’d like to welcome Rachel Hauck, a friend and mentor. She is the author of several novels including her most recent, The Wedding Dress. Accomplished writer and speaker, Rachel mentors writer’s through My Book Therapy and other venues. Last year Rachel spoke at my local ACFW chapter’s Great Lakes Get Away and our authors are still excited about how much we learned. I am delighted to have Rachel visiting my blog today!
Thanks so much to Michelle for having me on her blog to talk about The Wedding Dress. This is my fifteenth novel and the first time a book kind of flowed out of me. I got the idea while on a girl’s weekend in Nashville – a first get together with woman who barely knew each other, but came to adore one another.
Once the idea of a hundred year old wedding gown story started to sink into my heart, I couldn’t shake it. However, I thought it’d be a story for another time but a week later, I stood in Wal-Mart shopping for TVs with my husband, unable to shake the idea of The Wedding Dress.
While he sized up LED screens, I called and pitched the idea to my editor. She caught the vision and here we are, almost two years later. Books do take time to write, edit, prepare and promote.
But I know this book is out in the right time, in the right season for the right reader.
The writing came easy, though I’m had to do a lot of research. No book ever comes out the tips of my fingers how it feels in my heart, how I see it in my head. But that’s the “working it out” part of being a writer.
Eventually, the story forms the image and idea I want and need it to be, often by the process changing me first!
I’m not so much a romantic but one who likes to understand how we are all connected. This book is really about three women who thought they lived through an isolated incident discovering a thread of connectedness they never knew existed.
And it’s about one woman following her heart, overcoming odds, and impacting generations she never knew.
This story has lots of layers but it’s also very fun on the surface. A good ole romance across a century.
Since Michelle focuses on writing on her blog, I’ll add a few things I learned while writing this book.
- Be sure to keep the tone of your book consistent. I ran into a Birmingham practice in 1912 with black convict leasing and wanted to deal with this through the historical heroine’s story. But it was a heavy issue and not fitting in tone with a wedding dress and the women who wore it. So, I observed and spoke into the social issue from afar. It worked well.
- The dress had to become a character. So, I had the heroine see “life” in the dress through it’s texture and threads. I had her talk to the dress. As she discovers the other brides and their stories, the gown became more alive. So, if you have an object that’s key to the story, remember it has to come “alive” to the reader.
- Since I had four women to write about, I decided to have the 1912 heroine, Emily – the originator of the dress – and the 2012 heroine, Charlotte – the last women to wear the dress – be the main story tellers. Then I wove in the story of the other brides through them. The goal in a large cast story is to keep it all very simple. Stay on target with the theme and goal of the book. This book was about the women who wore the dress. Period. James Rubart wrote about a chair made by Jesus. So the story must be about the chair and those it impacted.
- Trust my instincts. I tend to second guess myself but this time, I let it flow. If something didn’t feel right, I backed out of it. If something felt right, like dropping into a unique point of view for one scene, then I went with it.
- There are lots of layers to this story. But in the end, I put my main spiritual theme right up on the table. I usually leave symbolism to be discovered by the reader – and there is several things for the reader to uncover in this book – but the symbol of the dress being the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I stated in a clear way. I felt it was right for this story. Again, trusted my instincts. Trust yours, too.
Hope this helps! And keep visiting Michelle’s blog. You’ll learn a lot about books and writing. Blessings to all!