Find a Christian store

Interview with Rachel Hauck

Rachel Hauck creates sassy main characters with problems contemporary readers can easily understand. In Lost in NashVegas (2006), a gifted country song writer struggles with crippling stage fright. A dedicated software company manager’s job is assigned to a less deserving coworker in Georgia on My Mind (2006). A 2009 ACFW Book of the Year winner, Sweet Caroline (2008) follows a conscientious cafe employee who unexpectedly inherits the business from her deceased boss. Rachel’s latest novel, Dining with Joy (Thomas Nelson, November 2010) introduces cooking show host Joy Ballard. Joy’s full of confidence in front of the cameras, but a secret lurks in the wings: she can’t cook. When the secret gets out, Joy realizes something’s going to have to be done about her life’s missing ingredient.

Rachel, your books feature characters with widely different careers, in settings from New Hampshire to South Carolina. You’ve published 12 novels since 2004. That’s an average of two books a year! How do you manage to complete all the research your books require, write them, promote them, and still find time for the rest of your life?
It’s a full time job. I work it just like I worked my corporate job. Sometimes with longer and more stressful hours but certainly with more enthusiasm. I love my job. I multi-task as I work, often writing and researching at the same time. I also take time out to do promotion and social media. The author’s job is on going. But I also try to find the balance and know when “other things” like promo or social media is impacting the main thing which is writing.

As for the rest of my life, I keep it scheduled. I know when I’m needed with friends or at church. I’m a worship and prayer leader at church, and I’m also on the leadership team for a multi-church prayer ministry.

Otherwise, I say no to a lot of things, too. I like what Margaret Brownley said, “Your friends and family won’t take your writing seriously until you do.” It’s important to really carve out and guard writing times.

According to your website (, you “left the corporate world to write full time” in 2004. What advice would you give other authors who are considering a similar transition?
Know it’s God. I didn’t leave the corporate world until I had my second book contract with a third and fourth pending. I was a software project manager and brought home two-thirds of our income. But for the first time in my life, between work (and I’d gone to part time for awhile), ministry and writing, I was physically hurting from the stress. My husband and I asked the Lord to show us what I needed to give up, putting everything on the table. Nothing was sacred. Through a series of events, the Lord confirmed I was to leave my job.

Often we see the Lord’s leading and jump too soon. Really wait on Him. He’ll make sure you get where He wants you to be.

What was your biggest challenge when you began writing full time? What helped you overcome it?
The biggest challenge was getting the next contract. After I signed my third and fourth, I had to figure out where to go next. My agent was a big help to me at that time. Again, a lot of prayer went into the next book and the Lord opened the door for me to be at Thomas Nelson. I’ve been with them since 2005. I’m very grateful.

Many of your books have first person narrators. Dining with Joy is written from a third person viewpoint. What made you decide to use a third person narrator in this latest novel?
Great question. First and third person narrators still seems to be a debate in CBA. I actually switched to third with Love Starts with Elle. It was becoming clear that there was a backlash to so many first person, chicky books in the publishing world. I heard lots of writers and readers actually say they hated reading first person. Wow, big blow to my heart because I loved writing it. I felt first person was my best voice. But, when Love Starts with Elle became a romance instead of a chick lit, I knew I had to switch -- to adjust to the market – but mostly to accommodate a hero and heroine point of view. I’d written both hero and heroine point of view in first person for Diva Nashvegas, which won the Maggie Award for Excellence, but I wasn’t willing to do that a second time.

What can readers expect from a Rachel Hauck novel? What do you think makes your books unique?
I want readers to find a good, enjoyable, read with real characters and a story line that takes them on a journey. I hope they can escape into the story and find some kind of positive take away. I’m not sure what makes my books unique. My editor tells me I have a unique voice, that I’m deep, but I’m not sure how to put nuts and bolts around my specific writing voice. But I do love to look at the deeper things in life, in God and thus my characters.

You’re an active Christian and have been a long-time youth leader. How do you see the influence of your faith and your own spiritual life on your writing?
I’m not sure I can write without layering in faith. Jesus is so much a part of my every day existence I can’t imagine not wanting to write about some facet of Him in each book. As a Christian in the market place, I learned how to talk about Jesus, faith and Christianity in a real way, so I think that helps with writing genuine characters. I love to include supernatural elements as well. If I haven’t seen or experienced the supernatural elements personally, I usually know someone who has. ;)

Some ACFW readers may know you as part of the MyBookTherapy team. Has advising others about their work made your own writing easier, or has it added extra pressure?
What a great question. Working with Susie Warren at MyBookTherapy has aided my writing tremendously. My editor said to me once it was like I’d gone through a master’s course between Love Starts with Elle and The Sweet By and By. Looking back, that’s when I really started working with Susie and putting lingo and technique to my writing craft. Then, when I started working with clients, it forced me to develop my own understanding and ways to teach outside of what I’d learned from Susie. So, I’ve really enjoyed working at MyBookTherapy and with our clients.

You’ve earned a lot of wonderful recognition as a writer. You’ve been a Rita Finalist, had a book chosen as a Top Pick by the Romantic Times Book Review, and won an ACFW Book of the Year award for Sweet Caroline. What do you personally consider a highlight of your writing and publishing career?
Once I asked a very learned, wise, Godly friend of mine, “You know God has a high calling for you. How do you not get disappointed when it seems to be delayed or different that what you thought? How do you not get discouraged?”

He answered, “I try not to picture the outcome. I believe God’s called me and He’ll use me, but I don’t imagine what it will look like.”

Such wise, wise advise. I took it to heart because I’ve envisioned the outcome of my journey so many times only to be disappointed. I’d love to win a RITA. But they closed the entry deadline early this year and I missed it. I’d love to win a Christy, but entering is not under my control. I mean, there are so many things... Best seller list. Movie deals. You name it. But desiring all of those things can amount to fruitless, misspent emotion if I rest on it for validation or my identity. It’s not worth it. I’m not an award winning author, I’m a “king and priest” before the living God. I’m in the Beloved!

I’m called to write good books. That’s what I do. Jesus takes care of the rest. Believe me, resting in Him makes this writing life a blast.

Rachel, thanks for taking the time to talk with our ACFW readers!

For more great interviews, visit our Author Interview Archives.

ACFW Members, click here to apply for an author interview!

Developed by Camna, LLC

This is a service provided by ACFW, but does not in any way endorse any publisher, author, or work herein.