Rachel Hauck Gets Stuck

award-winning author Rachel Hauck
loves a great story. With a love for teaching and mentoring, Rachel loves
to come alongside writers and help them craft their novel. She’s the Book
Therapist for My Book Therapy. Otherwise, she lives in Florida, where she is
also a worship leader, with her husband and dog.
I was stuck.
So what else is new?
Writing a novel is hard work. We are creating characters,
worlds, emotions, problems, solutions, eiphanies, black moments, grand endings…
all within the context of a readable, relatable story.
My hero, Tanner Burkhardt, in Princess Ever After, was not alive
to me. So I decided to interview him.
I asked a few standard questions: dark moment of the past,
related to the lie, wound and fear journey. Otherwise, I rambled. I asked and
let “whatever” come off my fingers.
I liked Tanner after this. I used about a third of what we
talked about but the goal was to get to know him.
Here’s a bit of our conversation.
RH: What bothers you the most when
the story opens? 
TB: That everything will change.
Regina will ruin my country. She’ll fail.
RH: Why does failure bother you?
TB: Who wants to fail? Do you? I
don’t want my country to fail or fall
into turmoil. 
RH: Did you fail at something?
TB: Excuse me?
RH: Did YOU fail at something?
TB: Yes, everything. Let my
parents down.
RH: When?
TB: When What?
RH: When did you let your parents
TB: Really, that’s where you’re going?
(Here, I found his spunk.)
RH: Yes
TB: In prep school? You happy?
Some blokes and I got into some mischief and I was “removed.” But then I was
sent to Brighton and …
RH: That’s a long way away from Hessenberg
TB: Only a 100 kilometers by boat.
RH: Did you see your parents much?
TB: Certainly. Yes. Some. More
than some boys, I’ll tell you that…
RH: When?
TB: Holidays. They sent for me. I
went home for Festive and Christmas. We always holidayed together in the spring
and summer.
RH: Birthdays?
TB: They sent money. Gifts.
RH: So you liked boarding school?
TB: I never said I liked it. I
said it was all right. Sports were fun.
RH: What would you have preferred?
TB: To not enter this conversation
with you. Just what is it you want? (Okay, I really like him now.)
RH: To know what you want?
TB: You want to know what I want?
Peace. World peace.
RH: Har, don’t be a wise guy. You want peace for yourself.
TB: Doesn’t everyone? You’re not a very smart writer are you?
RH: Actually, I’m quite brilliant. So, you want peace. Inner peace.
TB: Of course, I’m not an ogre.
RH: Why don’t you have it? What troubles you?
TB: You’re a nosey one, are you not?
RH: You’re an evasive one, are you not?
TB: Touche.
RH: So?
TB: So?
RH: What is bothering you? You
have 2 Ph.Ds. A standing in politics and in the community. A favorite
professor. A leader. What’s missing?
TB: You Americans… always want to
dig into a chaps heart and dig up all the personal stuff. Well, I won’t fall for it. Speaking out what I want won’t make it true and I’ll be sure
to regret it later.
RH: Love? Acceptance? Is that what
you want? You mentioned failure. Are you afraid to fail.
TB: Yes, you bloody know-it-all.
Who wants to fail?
RH: Some don’t mind. At least they tried.
TB: Well, they can have their try,
and the mess it created.
RH: You don’t like messes?
TB: Bloody hell, can we talk about what I do like?
RH: Sure. Go for it.
TB: I love a crisp Hessenberg
morning. I love when the snow falls in the mountains and my feet tingle in
anticipation of strapping on my skiis. I love the sound of my heels clicking on
the polished marble of the university halls. Debating the merits of supply side
economics with my students or the merits of a constitutional monarchy. Or the
new reforms in the House of Lords. I love sculling on Reems River when the sun
is cresting over the mountain. Dipping my oar into the glassy surface of the
still waters and surging forward. I love the sound of wild birds nesting. I
love racing my car over the back roads, engine at full throttle. I love a good
rugby game. I love a good wine, grilled meat with bernaise sauce. I love the
sound of rain on my balcony. The rooting of a football crowd. Dancing. The
sound of the church choir raising their voices to God in Burkhardt Cathedral.
Women with long dark hair. The soft lilt of a the female laugh. Making eye
contact when she thinks I’m not
looking. A roaring fire. A good night at the pub with my mates, discussing
everything from cars to women to the meaning of life. 
RH: Any family memories?
TB: Yes. The stiff handshake of my
father when he dropped me off at school. The quick kiss of my mother. Saturday
evening calls to see how I faired. Mother did love Christmas. She made a point
to do it up well. My brothers and I tried our best to get her the best gift we
could every year.
RH: What were some of those gifts?
TB: Funny, now that I think about
it. It was always perfume. The same one. Channel no 5 cause she told us she
liked it once. 
RH: Did she wear it.
TB: I believe so.
RH: What about your father?
TB: Books. Always books. The man
put a high price on education. And staying educated. When he entered the House
of Lords, he was the most knowledgable one.
RH: Did you feel pressure to be
like him?
TB: I see what you’re doing. 
RH: Pretend you don’t. Humor me.
TB: Of course, I felt pressure. As
did my brothers. We didn’t want to
let the old man down. He was one of those chaps you felt like you’d spend your whole life trying for his approval. Just one none,
one “well done” one “attaboy.”
RH: Did he ever say those words to
TB: Still waiting. Though, I think
he’s proud. Mum tells me he is. Talks
all the time about his boy with 2 Ph. Ds.
RH: Speaking of… two? Really? Kind
of overachieving, no?
TB: I’m a diverse fellow, what can I tell you. I loved politics and
economics. Figured the two go together anyway. I had a mentor who had degrees
in both.
RH: Who is this mentor?
TB: Lord Edmund. He was in some
ways like a father to me.
RH: But not your father.
TB: Does it matter?
RH: Did you please him?
TB: I think so? He said as much
when I graduated. 
RH: You know, God is not like
them? Not like any man you’ve ever
TB: I know. I understand the word
RH: Do you?
TB: Totally other than. Set apart.
Not like anything you’ve ever
encountered before. Do you really want to take me on?
RH: No, just trying to meet you.
At the end of this story, Tanner, what will you have learned. What do you hope
happens to you? What is your epiphany?
TB: I hope that I learn I don’t need man’s approval. That God’s is
enough. I hope I know in my heart that HE does approve of me. I hope above all
men that I please God. I wish to hear “good on you” from my father but if I don’t, I want my heart to be whole.
RH: What will cause you not to
hear it?
TB: If I help Regina. Father is a
Brighton man, through and through. He will not want a restarted Hessenberg. He
doesn’t believe our economy can afford
RH: But you’ll do what’s right,
won’t you.
TB: Don’t I always.
RH: Does that make you mad?
TB: Mad. No. Girl YOU are mad. It
does make me feel all too safe. I always do what’s safe. I stick to the rules. Even the self imposed rules. Some
days I just want to…
RH: Let go? Let God?
TB: If we’re quoting cliche’s yes. I just want to not be in control. To not have it all
buttoned up.
RH: You want to fall in love with
TB: I don’t know, you’re the
brainchild author. Do I?
RH: I think you do.
TB: Why?
RH: Hey, I’m the one asking the questions here.
TB: Why do you want me to love
her? What about this Felicity lass? She seems more my type.
RH: Exactly. Too buttoned up, as
you say. Regina is messy. Outside your boundaries. She scales your walls and
messes with your heart and head. You can’t contain
TB: Sounds like a challenge.
RH: And you like a challenge?
TB: Within reason. Sure. Is she
RH: No, she’s dumb. Of course she’s smart goofball.
TB: Will she love me?
RH: Ah, is that important to you?
TB: Yes. I’ve never been in love. Not that I know of and I’d kind of like the first girl I whisper love to would return the
RH: Wow, aren’t you romantic? Good grief, Tanner. You won’t even put your heart out there for love?
TB:Do you want me to get all
gobsmacked and mushy?
RH: No, but I want you to loosen
up. What about doing something completely selfless?
TB: I can do selfless.
RH: Then let’s see it. Give up everything for
TB: Is that what I do at the end I
can’t do in the beginning? Be
selfless? Give up everything  — my reputation, my desire to hear good job from
my father, my loyalty to Brighton, for her.
RH: Yes for her! For love. For the
In the end, I understood his heart. Names and situations changed
as I wrote the book but this was my introduction to Tanner Burkhardt, kind of a
brooding type with a deep heart.
Ever After
Regina Beswick
was born to be a princess. 
But she’s content
to be a small-town girl, running a classic auto restoration shop, unaware a
secret destiny awaits her. One that will leap from the pages of her
grandmother’s hand-painted book of fairytales.
Burkhardt is the stoic Minister of Culture for the Grand Duchy of Hessenberg.
When he is tasked to retrieve the long-lost princess, he must overcome his fear
of failure in order to secure his nation’s future—and his own.
Yet lurking in
the political shadows is a fierce opponent with sinister plans to abolish the
throne forever. 
with opposition, Regina must decide if she’s destined to restore old cars or an
ancient nation. Together—with a little divine intervention—Regina and
Tanner discover the truth of her heritage and the healing power of true

can be counted on for captivating, page-turning stories and sincere characters
with heart.’ —Romantic Times Review, 4 stars5