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Finding My Voice–Rachel Hauck & Lena Nelson Dooley

Monday, February 26, 2007

Today, I’m thrilled to have Rachel Hauck and Lena Nelson Dooley, two of my writing godmothers, as my guests talking about voice.

Rachel Hauck is an alumna of Ohio State University and has traveled the States and the world with her job as a software trainer. Rachel always wanted to be a writer. “My dad used to tell me, ‘You’re a writer.’ I have letters he wrote me post college, exhorting me to write. In this, I believe he had the heart of God.” In 1993, Rachel started “an epic WW2 novel with two plots.” When it was rejected, she took a break and focused on her work. But the siren of writing beckoned, and in 1999, she took her pen up again and started writing. With encouragement, help and prayer support from friends, Rachel’s first book, Lambert’s Pride—a HeartSong romance—was published in 2004. Since then, Rachel has published several romances and has recently broken ground in the new “red-neck” branch of chick lit with Georgia on Her Mind, Lost in NashVegas and Diva NashVegas.

Lena Nelson Dooley has been a professional writer with a free-lance writing and editing business since 1984. In that time, Lena has written curriculum for public schools, private schools, and three different denominations—including working on a team that developed a two-year American History course for at-risk students. She has also written material for a Christian comedian as well as editing and designing training materials for an airline. Lena’s first novel was published by HeartSong Presents in 1992, her second in 2002. Four books came out in 2004, and one in August 2005. Lena had five releases in 2006, with another four already scheduled for 2007. Information on her titles can be found on the BOOKS page of her website.

WPWT: How did you find your unique writing voice? Did you struggle to find it or did it come easily to you?

RH: Great question. I wasn’t very aware of voice when I started writing. I tried to simply create authentic characters who sounded “real.” But when I started writing chick lit, I knew I’d found my voice. First person in particular. I sort of stumbled into finding my voice, but I know it is a struggle for many writers. I suggest keep writing, keep a journal, speak on the page from your heart, to hone your voice.

LD: I write what I feel, with my emotions as well as my thoughts. My writing style has evolved over time, because of being on a learning curve. I believe that we all should be constantly on a learning curve.

WPWT:How would you describe your unique writing voice? What is it that you do to make sure your writing “sounds like” you?

RH: I’m a quirky, snappy dialog sort of writer. My voice is most felt in dialog and musings of the protag. And my characters have to be someone witty or sarcastic, they see the irony in life. They catch the inconsistencies around them and comment.

LD: I use descriptive snippets to ground the reader into the setting. I love description, but I’ve learned how to use it better. Word choices and the rhythm of sentences and transitions are a part of the voice. I do believe that the Lord helps me with the creative process that becomes my voice.

WPWT:What advice would you give to beginning/intermediate writers to help them find and develop their unique writing voice?

RH: Read a lot. Read books you love in the style or genre you want to write. Be real in your writing. Don’t try to conform to what you think the reader will want or like, or even the editors. Follow publisher or industry guidelines, but try to speak truth through your characters. Go deep. Look below the surface. Really mull over your characters. Pray about them. Also, write the first draft, then read with a critical eye. I never hit my true voice on the first draft, often not the second. Don’t be in too much of a hurry. Write and rewrite.

LD: Study the writing of other authors that you like to read. Learn from them, but never . . . never try to imitate any of them. Pray a lot and let the Lord help you find your unique voice. He created each of us as a unique person, so He’ll help us find that voice that works best for us.

  1. Erica Vetsch permalink
    Monday, February 26, 2007 8:33 am

    Ya think I will EVER get the part about bathing my work in prayer BEFORE I set down to write?

    Terrific answers!


  2. Rachel Hauck permalink
    Monday, February 26, 2007 9:39 am


    Thanks for having us. It’s so fun to talk writng!



  3. Georgiana D permalink
    Tuesday, February 27, 2007 10:55 am

    Great answers! And I have to say that I love Rachel’s voice–very distinct.

    Thanks for this series Kaye!


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