Nashville’s population of creative thinkers and writers has gotten a little bit bigger in recent months, thanks to the presence of noted author Rebecca Wells! A New York Times bestselling author, Wells is the creator of the novels that feature the Ya-Yas, the group of fast friends who comprise the cast of characters made famous in her works The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood and others.
A native of Louisiana, Wells has recently moved to Nashville and has quickly made it her home. Also a playwright and trained stage actor, Wells has lived in the Seattle area and New York City in years past, but we are proud that she now calls Nashville home.
With years of experience as an actor and playwright, Wells turned her hand to writing novels with Little Altars Everywhere, which began the story of the Ya-Yas when it was first published in 1992. It was a New York Times bestseller and began what has become a series of well-loved books featuring the Walker family and their close-knit friends. It was followed by the smash hit, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, which was published in 1996 and adapted into the successful 2002 film, starring Sandra Bullock, Ashley Judd and Ellen Burstyn among a celebrated cast. The novel Ya-Yas in Bloom was published in 2005 and told the early beginnings of the Ya-Yas in their childhood. All set in the landscape of Louisiana, Wells has continued with novels set in her homeplace with her most recent work, The Crowning Glory of Calla Lilly Ponder, published in 2009.
Wells’ works are notable in many regards, but she has been heralded for her ability to breathe life into her novels through the setting of the piece. The places she describes and the locations where her characters live and breathe become almost characters themselves. Her characters become as if you’ve know them for years, and the setting becomes as familiar as if you spent a lazy summer in Louisiana with them.
That ability to infuse her stories with an honest realism while still maintaining a dreamy gaze into the future sets Wells apart. Her stories contain a gripping portrayal of life that can make you wince with the honesty, but they also hold a hallowed, misty, almost reverential recall of the past at the same time. Her stories are larger than life, and her characters feel as if they are friends. Nashville is becoming aware that Wells must have painted a bit of herself into her works, because she too seems to be someone who stares reality in the face while still holding onto hope for the future.
Thomas Jefferson said, “I prefer the dreams of the future to the history of the past.” Wells balances the two beautifully, with her gift for portraying the honesty of life while exuding care, concern and a welcoming spirit for all of God’s children. Since putting down roots in Nashville, Wells has become a model citizen, volunteering with A Room in the Inn and encouraging others to join the push for ensuring that all Nashvillians have a home to call their own. Her tender heart is big enough for the whole world to fit inside, and we are glad that she calls us home! Welcome, Rebecca Wells! Nashville is proud as punch that you are here.