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Davis Journal

Local author shares life lessons in East Winds

LAYTON—When Rachel Rueckert met her husband and got engaged she panicked. Not because she didn’t love him but because she wondered if she would lose her identity. So she decided to go on a quest to understand what marriage meant to her and to see what other cultures' concepts were. Rueckert and her husband Austin set off for a yearlong adventure. Rueckert’s new book East Winds is about her journey.

“I met some wonderful people in Europe, Asia and South America,” said Rueckert. “There’s not a universal answer. It’s deeply personal.”

Rueckert will be talking about her book at the Layton Library on Nov. 30. “I grew up in Layton,” she said. “I went to Layton High. I moved when I was 15 but I’m a Lancer at heart. I was always reading and writing and my mother took me to the library. It’s an exciting thing to come back to the library. It's very meaningful.”

There was a culture of writing in my home, said Rueckert. “My mom always encouraged me to keep a journal. I would draw a picture before I could write. I always documented my life. I’ve always done it.”

After graduating from BYU in writing and anthropology, Rueckert started teaching in English curriculum development. “I didn’t know if writing was a ligament career,” she said. “I really wanted to write so I decided I had to take this seriously. I took a leap and moved to New York and went to Columbia to get a degree in writing. East Winds was my thesis.”

The book’s title East Winds comes from the east wind canyon storms that go through Davis County, said Rueckert. “I’ve written other things but this book is about my whole life. Like when I was little holding my pigtails at the mailbox because I was afraid they'd blow away.”

Rueckert said she was always processing life. “I was an overthinker, anxious and wanting to make sure I was doing the right thing. I was a good student and a good girl but when I got engaged I was worried my sense of identity would die.”

The couple got married and took off for a year to find the answers she was seeking. “My husband is delightful, curious and loves to explore so he was up for it,” said Rueckert. “It was good for him to step away. It was fun, funny and hard at times.”

Rueckert said she didn’t understand how much work it takes to write a book. “I was doing 15 hours a day contacting bookstores, arranging events, reaching out for pre-orders. I didn’t realize those are so important. It goes to the release rankings. I have a box of 50 books of advance copies to get out into various hands to spark interest.”

Although she’s written other books, East Winds is the most meaningful, she said. “It’s taken eight years to write. I learned that I’m still me. I have agency and I always have a choice.”

It’s coming to terms with a sense of authority, said Rueckert. “I can choose what my marriage and life will be. I’m literally the author of my life. I’m not trapped in a story. It’s a day-to-day partnership.”

The Layton Library is located at 155 Wasatch Drive. The program begins at 7:30 p.m. Copies of her book East Winds will be available for purchase. λ