Rachel Hauck

Best-selling author and award winning author Rachel Hauck lives in central Florida with her husband and loving pets. She earned a B.A. degree in Journalism from Ohio State University and spent seventeen years in the corporate software world before leaving to write full time. Rachel loves to teach and mentor writers.

She is a Book Therapist at www.MyBookTherapy.com, a daily craft blog and community for writers. In the past, Rachel is the president of American Christian Fiction Writers and now servers on the Advisor Board. Visit her blog and web site at www.rachelhauck.com.

The Golden Nuggets of Fiction

I’ll be transparent here for a second and disclose one of my pet peeves. Well, I’m not really sure it’s a “pet” but it’s definitely a peeve.

I bristle when I read a review with these words, “it was a fast read” or “great for a light summer read.”

Unless the read is a novella, how can it be a fast? Unless the book weights an ounce, how can it be light?

Wait a minute, I know what you’re thinking, “Rachel, I read really fast. I can put away two trade fictions a week.”

I hear you. I believe you.

My concern is not about the time it takes for a reader to complete a book, but the manner in which it is completed.

Did the reader slow down long enough to pick out the universal truth woven in by the author?

Most authors I know never set out to write a book that is completely surface, airy or light. Even those of us who write with humor.

Kristin Billerbeck considered the plight of Christian single women over thirty in her Ashley Stockingdale series. For many women, this is a painful predicament. The thing they want most, eludes them. Billerbeck wanted to give them a stage, share their pain, but wrap it in the humor of Ashley.

Almost every book idea begins with a darker theme. A life observation or experience that was painful.

In my book, Sweet Caroline, the ending is not the typical Happily Ever After (HEA) of a romance or chickmance novel.

A reviewer loved the book but dinged me for the end.

Yet, there was a reason for my madness. The conclusion of Caroline’s journey, the answer to her story question, was not determined by a genre rule or reader expectation. The ending was determined by Caroline. The choice she made was right for her, ending a life of indecision, and beginning a new phase of adventure and self-discovery.

Is it possible as readers we move so fast through a novel we don’t pause to see the beauty and wisdom the author is conveying? Do we gloss over the tone and underlying themes of truth without pause?

Fiction is full of golden nuggets. Why else would we still read Jane Austin and Tolstoy, Dickens and James?

We look for something of the human condition in those stories. We want to feel the heart of the characters, and cheer for them when the succeed, or even if they fail.

Characters in a book reflect the circle of life. Characters we don’t identify with can open our hearts and minds to new experiences.

I wrote a book about a women dealing with infertility. I didn’t identify with her until I slowed down and let my heart beat in rhythm with hers, until I let her thoughts become mine.

So, this November, slow down for the “nuggets” hidden in the books you plan to read. Consider the character. Don’t expect them to do what you want, expect them to do what they want. Let the character ring true to themselves!

Remember the author spent a lot of hours with “backside in chair” to deliver the best possible story to you.

Read and be blessed.

Love Starts With Elle