In September, more than 500 like-minded people will gather in Indianapolis, Indiana, for the American Christian Fiction Writers conference. If this is your first year to attend, you will be thrilled and amazed at the immediate kinship you share with other attendees. It’s a bit like discovering long lost family, i.e. hundreds of siblings separated at birth and reunited around the common love of writing and spiritual commitment.
I met Rachel Hauck at the ACFW conference five years ago. Although she was much further along in her writing journey, I felt an immediate connection. Many of my characters walk the streets of Nashville’s music district, and at that time she was working on her NashVegas series for Thomas Nelson. She is now the author of a dozen books, and her writing has taken exciting turns, including co-writing with country star Sara Evans. It was fun to reconnect with Rachel this week to talk about the 2010 ACFW conference.
Rachel, you’re a past president of American Christian Fiction Writers, and currently serve as an advisor for the organization. Please tell us about the ACFW. How did you first become involved?
I’d met DiAnn Mills at Write to Publish in ’97 and she was a founding member of ACFW, then ACRW. She encouraged me to join, which I finally did. Then I met Lynn Coleman, founding member and president, at the Blue Ridge writer’s conference. She suckered me into being, I mean, she invited me to run for the Board but I was really busy. Then after the first conference in 2002, the Vice President resigned and the board asked me to step in the position. I agreed. Which also meant I was coordinator and conference chair of the 2003 conference. It was a wild year. I was writing my first book, managing the road warriors for a software company, and leading worship at my church, as well as working in youth ministry with my pastor husband.
The 2010 ACFW writer’s conference is scheduled for September 17-20, in Indianapolis, Indiana. If a writer has never attended an ACFW conference, what can they expect?
A great, warm, Holy Spirit infused atmosphere. They can expect to learn, to network, to see what goes on in the life of the writer. There will be good moments and ones with regret and sorrow. It’s all part of the process. A new conferencee can expect to feel overwhelmed and confused, but also excited and envisioned. If you want to be a novelist, you have no choice but to attend ACFW’s conference.
Are you teaching this year?
I am. Susan May Warren and I are teaching a continuing education class on scene structure. And I’m teaching a single workshop on metaphors and symbolism in our work. Come on out. Should be fun.
You’re the author of twelve books—with more on the way. How did you get started as a writer?
I always wanted to be a writer. I kept journals for 17 years. I doodle. I like words. My father always encouraged me to be a writer. After I was married, I left my corporate job for a season and was a stay-at-home wife. In the calm and quiet, I started writing. Christian fiction was just coming of age so I was reading Gilbert Morris, Lori Wick, and the Thoenes.
Was there an a-ha moment when you decided to turn your passion for writing into a career?
There were probably more “oh no” moments where I thought I wouldn’t make it as a writer. I suppose that question is still up for debate, but I’m writing novels for now and I love it. It’s been the dream from the time I was ten.
For the rest of this great interview, pop over to Divine Detours, Kathy Harris’ blog.