Was there a particular reason why you set it in New York City?
I do love the city, but my stories are usually set in the south. For this one, I wanted a rich, historic setting for the society. When I thought of the library being the remains of a gilded age mansion, I knew I had to go to Fifth Avenue.
Were there challenges when you wrote the story?
Oh, where to begin. The original draft had seven characters. After my initial editorial letter, we decided to cut it down to five. I also had in mind to keep this a short, literary kind of story and in doing so, cheated myself and the reader out of many story elements.
It wasn’t until the second rewrite that I expanded the book to be what it is today. Juggling five characters was a bit more taxing than I imagined. I also had three romances going in a Breakfast Club sort of setting. Finding the balance there was a bit tricky. This was probably the hardest book I’ve ever written but I’m proud of the results. Many thanks to my editor and my writing partner for rolling up their sleeves to help me out.
What are your goals with writing the story—are there spiritual themes you’re touching on?
While all five characters had a story arc and happy conclusion, not all five could have a spiritual epiphany. I was in our church prayer room one morning when the Lord clearly spoke to me, “I only want this.” And it was Coral’s journey. I was a bit surprised but as I meditated on the idea and envisioned where the story would go, I knew it was right. The Lord’s wisdom never fails!
My goal was to really show how we help each other find truth. Find the story within. Not every story needs to be a book, but every story needs to be told, even if it’s just to family.
What would you like readers to take away after reading The Fifth Avenue Story Society?
First, I’d like them to be entertained with a dash of hope. Second to know that they are valued, and that God is writing their story. Also, that facing the truth about your past can bring a lot of healing. All of the characters in Fifth Avenue had to confront the lies they believed about themselves, and others, and when they did, they turned a corner.
Visit Rachel Hauck’s Author Page:
The Fifth Avenue Story Society
Executive assistant Lexa is eager for a much-deserved promotion, but her boss is determined to keep her underemployed.
Literature professor Jett is dealing with a broken heart, as well as a nagging suspicion his literary idol, Gordon Phipps Roth, might be a fraud.
Uber driver Chuck just wants a second chance with his kids.
Aging widower Ed is eager to write the true story of his incredible marriage.
Coral, queen of the cosmetics industry, has broken her engagement and is on the verge of losing her great grandmother’s multimillion-dollar empire.
When all five New Yorkers receive an anonymous, mysterious invitation to the Fifth Avenue Story Society, they suspect they’re victims of a practical joke. No one knows who sent the invitations or why. No one has heard of the literary society. And no one is prepared to reveal their deepest secrets to a roomful of strangers.
Yet curiosity and loneliness bring them back week after week to the old library. And it’s there they discover the stories of their hearts, and the kind of friendship and love that heals their souls.