Update: congrats to Susan G. who was randomly chosen as our winner! Susan has been notified via email.
Six months before The Wedding Dress release date, I sat behind a one-way glass and watched as my publisher and marketing director surveyed readers about the stories they read.
They held up book covers and asked which ones they liked or disliked and why.
I leaned forward in my chair when my publisher held up my book cover.
“What do you think of this cover?”
The women nodded in this particular group nodded. They liked it. Then one of them flicked her hand toward the image and said, “Ah, it’s about some dress passed down through the years, probably mother to daughter.”
She shrugged as if to say, “Boring, I’ve read that story a 101 times.”
I sat back. Thinking. Instead of walk around the glass and tell her she was wrong. Was her point valid? Was it a same-ole, same-ole story?
The story is about a gown passed down through time, but not mother to daughter, not even friend to friend.
It’s about the journey of a wedding gown, but it’s also about the women who wear the gown and what the gown represents.
It’s about each woman’s discovery about herself, finding the gown, trying it on to find it perfectly fit. It’s about a hundred year old gown that never wore out. And always looked classy and in style.
The women who seem disconnected and ages apart discover they have a common bond as the story unfolds. I called them “The Sisterhood of the Dress.”
The idea for this story came to me while on a girl’s weekend in Nashville. Our hosting friend had recently married off her daughter and we started talking about finding the perfect wedding dress, how a woman “just knows” when she tries it on.
We also talked about how some women don’t get to have the perfect gown. Or how some wear their mother’s or grandmother’s wedding dress.
Suddenly in the midst of the conversation, I took a right turn and got lost in story world.
I’m not exactly sure what snagged my imagination, but looking back I think it was a divine moment.
I left that weekend with a shell of an idea. I shared it with my family, who loved it. Of course.
But I thought it was a book for another time. I’d already contracted a new idea with my publisher and thought I’d forge ahead with that one.
But after a few days, The Wedding Dress wouldn’t leave me alone. I called my editor and pitched it to her. She loved it. Of course.
Stories to me are about making sense of life. About trying to understand the incomprehensible. About taking what little knowledge I have of a vast God and showing how He might break in and help a weak soul trying to find her way.
The Wedding Dress is really about four women being impacted by the Divine and three of them not really knowing it until one woman discovers the hundred year old gown in a battered trunk.
It’s about resolving issues, finding closure and discovering personal history.
As an author, I like to think readers can take away their own personal message from the book’s they read, but the message that resonated with me as I wrote The Wedding Dress is we are all connected in more ways than we could possibly imagine.
And that a little piece of Heaven might just be standing on the street corner wearing a purple ascot.
I hope this book is an entertaining and inspiring read. I’m so grateful to She Reads for letting me stop by and have a few minutes of their grand cyber space.
Want to read The Wedding Dress? Rachel is giving away a copy to one lucky winner today. Just leave a comment on this post!
About Ariel Lawhon
Ariel Lawhon is the co-founder of She Reads, novelist, blogger, storyteller, and life-long reader. She lives in Texas with her husband and four young sons (aka The Wild Rumpus). Ariel believes that Story is the shortest distance to the human heart.