I can't get my hands on Rachel Hauck's books quickly enough! Rachel writes books with spiritual integrity, authentic and engaging characters and that are entertaining, challenging and funny :) What more could you want?
Her latest, Love Starts with Elle, has just hit the shelves in the US and will be available in Australia soon.
All those qualities are evidenced in Rachel herself and it has been one of the special delights of this reviewing caper that I have been able to correspond with her.
Have some fun of your own getting to know this lovely lady ~ over to you, Rachel:~
RH: Well, now I love the name Rachel, but hated it as a kid because in the '70s, the decade of the Brady Bunch, every girl seemed to be named Lisa, or Jennifer or Marsha.
I think my parents did a good job naming me. JRel: My girls are loving The Brady Bunch on DVD just like I did as a kid ;-)
Your first pet's name?
RH: Very first? Bonnie. My parents bought the family a Sheltie when I was about one or two years old. We loved her. She was a great dog.
RH: Hmm, the first one I can think of is Tina Rogers, third grade. We lived in a little town called Trapp, Kentucky. Her parents owned the local grocery store. It was so cool cause they lived above the store, and when I spent the night, we could just wander around and take what we wanted to eat.
Rel: So I know the school building you grew up in burnt down but here's what Trapp Elementary looks like now!
Did you have a special toy that went everywhere with you when you were young? Please describe.
RH: Not much on toys as a kid. One of my nieces always leaves the house with “my stuff!” a doll or stuffed animal under each arm.
As an adult, I love my toys - iPod, Shuffle, phone. They go with me everywhere.
If you could meet a famous person, who would it be?
RH: Ooo, that's hard. Dead or alive? Dead, I'd like to meet Shakespeare or Solomon.
If you were stranded on a desert island what one object would you want with you? (Besides your Bible of course)
RH: iPod. And pray the battery lasts.
Now, if you want a practical item, I want to be stranded with a ham radio or a satellite cell phone.
What's your favourite ice cream flavour?
RH: Rel, really now. I'm a girl! Chocolate, of course. Actually, vanilla with chocolate syrup!
Rel: At last - an American with normal ice cream taste buds!!!!!
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
RH: Believe it or not, a writer!
RH: I've traveled a lot in my life, so it has very little appeal to me, but if I had the time and money, I'd go Down Under, or to a south Pacific Island like Fiji. I love Australia, and have been down twice. I feel a kindred spirit with the Australians.
Besides God, who has influenced you the most?
RH: My parents. They are true believers. I watched them go through many difficult ministry situations and never ever did they get bitter or blame God. My dad was an incredible servant and friend. At his funeral, one of the men who spoke about him said John Hayes never let a broken relationship go. The only person he was not reconciled with was a man who refused Dad's overtures. So, I learned a lot about self-sacrifice and taking the higher road from my parents.
What's your favourite book?
RH: I have a lot of books I love, but I think the Little House books are my all-time favorite.
What part of your daily routine do you enjoy most?
RH: Eating. LOL. Okay, serious, I love emailing, writing blogs, working on a novel, going to Spinning class at the gym, sleeping, watching Gilmore Girl DVDs. Being with my husband, hanging out with Jesus. Going to McDonald's for a Diet Coke and taking my little dog Lola with me. She loves to ride in the car. My older dog, not so much. He goes spastic on me.
I have a nice life.
RH: Remember the Titans. I love that movie.
Rel: My hubby and I love watching this one too :)
Where's the most interesting place you have been?
RH: I've been to a lot of places, so … that's a hard question. Israel, I guess. The history, the people, so incredible.
What's your most fervent prayer?
RH: “God, end abortion and send revival to America!”
What's the bravest thing you've ever done?
RH: Right when I graduated from college, I found myself in a fear/panic/anxiety battle. My job required flying, and being on a plane made me feel claustrophobic. I'd be 35,000 in the air and get hit with a wave of panic and “I want off, now!”
Facing the 15 hour flight from LA to Sydney didn't give me warm fuzzies. But I said, “God, I will not surrender to fear.”
So, I got on the plan. I had a few tense seconds, but most of the flight was lovely. I had to learn to face my fear, and even in the midst of it, push past it.
It's molded me ever since. And, btw, I no longer have fear/panic/anxiety. Prayer and standing on the Word WORK!!
Rel: But seeing Australia was so worth it (I hope!)
What gift have you received that you will always treasure?
RH: The friendship and redemption of Jesus.
What is your favourite Bible verse (or "one" of your favourites) and what does it mean to you?
RH: Song of Solomon 4:9, “You've captured my heart, my sister my bride with a single glance of your eyes.”
This is Jesus talking to the individual believer. He loves us that much! A single glance of our eyes captures Him.
What was your most embarrassing moment in High School?
RH: Ha! And you want me to put it here, for all the world to see? Well, okay. Some how, dirty laundry (a pair of worn knickers) got caught up in my school stuff and went with me. Someone found them on the floor. THANK goodness no one knew they were mine!
How did your husband propose to you?
RH: Long, long story, but we'd gone to visit friends and when we arrived home, he was acting strange. He insisted I do all his errands with him. Not a normal move for him. Then he took me to this retention pond, yes, retention pond, and proposed because it was at the same pond he told me he didn't think we'd ever be more than friends.
It was sweet, really.
What was the best advice you received on marriage before you were married?
RH: Die to self!
Love Starts with Elle
How did Elle come to be?
RH: Elle was a great, funny, beautiful, funny character in Sweet Caroline. She had a small story line going and I saw that she was strong enough to carry her own novel. So, I proposed her as the next book and my editor loved it.
How much of you is there in Elle? Your husband in Heath?
RH: I think there's some of us in each of the characters. Tony's strength and confidence in Heath, my love of prayer in Elle. She is more controlled and goal oriented than I am, but I am one who looks a head like Elle.
What was your favourite scene to write?
RH: I had a few favorite scenes. I think the scene with Julianne and Elle in prayer chapel is one of my favs. And almost all the scenes with Elle and Heath. Oh, I love, love the first scene with Heath after he's moved to Beaufort!
Rel: Pure torment - my book needs to arrive soon - LOL!
What do you hope readers take away from this story?
RH: There's something you discover about yourself in meditative, concentrative prayer you cannot discover any other way or place.
What is in your writing pipeline? A sneak peek?
RH: Look for something in the spring! ;) How's that for sneaky!
Rel: Ummm....a little too sneaky!
Rel, thanks for having me! I so appreciate you, friend.
Rel: Thanks for being had! A little Aussie humour for you :) The pleasure has been all mine - thanks, Rach!
Relz Reviewz Extras
When I post my review of Love Starts with Elle, Rachel is graciously offering a signed copy to be won by one of my readers! This contest will be open to ALL my readers so check back soon!
My book hasn't arrived yet, so be patient! I will be diving into it as soon as it appears!