Friday, December 14, 2007
The 12 Authors of Christmas -- Rachel Hauck
I've 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 '93, I started an epic WW2 novel with two plots. It was well rejected. After that ordeal, I took a break and put efforts into my job as a software project manager. But, I missed writing and in late ' 99, I took up the craft again.
With a little help from my friends, my first book was published in ' 04, Lambert's Pride, a romance novel. I love writing chick lit and romance. I love writing. What an honor. My current release is Diva NashVegas, May 2007 from Thomas Nelson. To learn more about Rachel visit her website and blog!
Tell us about your first Christmas memory?
I have memories before this one, but it's the most vivid. We'd gone to my grandparent's house in Columbus, Ohio and it was Christmas Eve. My older brother and I slept upstairs in my grandparent's room. It was late, but I was awake, freaked out, because I imagined hearing Santa's reindeer on the roof top!
My mom and grandma slipped into the room to see if we were asleep, and I think I must have asked if Santa had come. Cause I was sure I'd heard him.
Growing up, did your family have Christmas traditions? Tell us how you incorporated them into your family life. Or, how you created new ones.
My dad always wanted to wait until close to Christmas to put up the tree. I'd beg and beg to get one right away. Dad and my older brother would string colored lights, the kind that screwed into the light string, then mom and I with the rest of the kids would hang the ornaments.
We didn't have a lot of traditions other than being with family and eating a great dinner. My grandma and mom makes the best rolls.
There was always a lot of love, joy and laughter at Christmas time and those traditions are as much a part of me as the color of my eyes. Tony and I carry on those qualities each Christmas season.
When do you put up your tree?
When I became a teenager, I bought my own iddy-bitty Christmas tree and I put it up in my room Thanksgiving day. It was fun. Now, as an adult, I do the same. Tree goes up right after Thanksgiving. Or when my kids' begging is louder than my procrastination (around December 1). My husband assembles my prelighted tree. I do the rest.
What is your favorite Christmas song or album? I recently bought Unexpected Gifts and I love it! They are old favorites sung in a new way. It includes "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" (Bethany Dillon); "Do You Hear What I Hear" (Nichole Nordeman); "O Little Town of Bethlehem" (Steven Curtis Chapman); and "Silent Night" (Sanctus Real).
Growing up we listened to Johnny Mathis, Ray Coniff singers, and Andy William Christmas albums. We had one instrumental recording for the Philadelphia Orchestra. The vinyl disc was red. The kids always liked that one. Now, I have a few added favorites. Amy Grant's Christmas albums, Bryan Duncan, Martina McBride, and a collection of old favorites sung by Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and Mel Torme.
I also had a Wayne Newton album, "Merry Christmas To You." My sister and I searched for it, but it's hard to find. I finally bought a CD, probably copied from the album, off of eBay this year.
Christmas morning, my parents, brother and I would head over to my grandparents' house and open all our presents there. Or they'd come to our house ... so we didn't open them until we were up, dressed, showered and fed. Relive your childhood Christmas mornings for us.
We couldn't go out to the tree until my parents plugged in the lights. We'd wake up early, around five a.m.and bang on the floor to wake them. Then, we'd sit on the stairs waiting for their call. The anticipation of it all is half the excitement of Christmas.
Seems to me snow and Christmas go together, and in Montana that's almost a given! Tell us about your Christmas setting?
While I was born in Ohio, I've lived most of my life in the south. I'm a Florida girl. My first sunny Christmas with 80 degree temperatures was a shocker.
It didn't feel like Christmas, but now, sunshine and balmy breezes on a blue Christmas morning is the perfect Christmas day to me.
It's Christmas Eve. Describe your day and evening.
Growing up, Christmas Eve was thick with excitement. Grandparents visiting, or the family visiting them. We'd go to church, then come home to wait for the big day. There was always a lot of excitement and laughter. We'd play games or sit around talking.
Now, if my husband and I aren't visiting family, we attend Christmas Eve service at church. He's one of three staff pastors, and I'm the worship leader, so we are working. But, it's a fun kind of work.
After service, we might visit friends or come home to our own traditions like egg nog and watching a Christmas movie like It's A Wonderful Life or White Christmas.
Since we don't have children, we lose some of the laughter and joy, but we take advantage of sleeping in Christmas morning and leisurely open gifts.
Confession time. Shop on line or at the mall?
Both! Who doesn't? Mostly online, though.
Christmas grows more and more commercial every year. Setting the hustle and bustle aside, what does Christmas really mean to you?
It is about celebrating Jesus. While I strive to do that all year, it is one thing I keep near to my heart at the Christmas season. But it's also about remembering peace, remembering those we love.
Christmas is a great time to lay down offenses and love one another. Jesus came to demonstrate love. What a great birthday present to Him if we reach out to someone in love.
It's Christmas day. what's for dinner? Do you make cookies or other traditional foods?
Since it's just my husband and I, cooking is not a priority for me. But Christmas day, I love to make a meal, even if it's just the two of us. I make turkey and potatoes, and carry on the tradition of home made rolls.
I do make cookies, too. I love peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies. But this year, I asked mom for her Christmas cookie recipe and think I'll take a stab at making those!
Tell us about your favorite Christmas memory.
One Christmas Eve when we lived in Lexington, KY, we were waiting for my grandparents to arrive from Columbus. It must have been a balmy season, cause the windows were open and my siblings and I were running around, laughing and playing.
Somehow, I talked my dad into playing a girl's hand game with me. He'd mess up half way through, laugh and tell me, "I can't do this."
We laughed a lot. And I remember the freezer was full of frozen mini Snickers bars! My Dad loved those frozen treats. In fact, that is another small tradition I continue to this day.
Another memory was in the '90s. The family had gathered at my home and during the Christmas Eve service, the pastor gave an invitation to accept Jesus as our Savior. He asked people who were not save and wanted to be, to stand and say, "I embrace the Cross."
The presence of God was so strong. People were popping up all over the candle lit sanctuary. My heart pounded knowing the Holy Spirit was moving over my sister-in-law.
Finally, she stood. "I embrace the Cross." Even now, it brings tears to my eyes. It was an amazing night.
What are you plans for this season?
We try to spend one holiday with family and one at home. We were gone for Thanksgiving, so will be home for Christmas.
One of our "daughters" from youth church days in on her way to Israel with her husband and children. But, they are in town until January, so I think we're going to have dinner with them, and her Dad and his wife.
I'm looking forward to it.
And, I'm on a deadline, so I'll be writing. :)
Any final thoughts on Christmas?
Just blessings to everyone. Remember, Jesus is the Prince of Peace. If you need peace or hope, run to Jesus.
Thanks to all the readers and fans of fiction out there, too. I really appreciate you, as does Tricia and all the writer's we know!
Merry Christmas! Happy New Year!
You too, thanks Rachel!