Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Interview & Book Giveaway with Deborah Raney

It's a great pleasure to introduce you to one of the sweetest gals I've ever met, author Deborah Raney!

Q:  Have you always wanted to be a writer?
A:  I’ve always written. Even before I could actually read or form letters, I drew pictures that told stories. But the summer I read all of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books was the first time I realized that being an author was a career one could aspire to. I was only 11 or 12, but I knew from that day on that someday I wanted to try my hand at writing a novel. It wasn’t until I was 38 years old that I actually sat down to write seriously.

Q:  How does your faith impact your writing?
A:  I actually wrote two versions of my first novel––one Christian and one secular. That experience told me that I simply could not write honestly or deeply unless I was allowed to explore the faith––or lack of faith––of my characters. I know it’s important not to “preach”, but from that day forward, I’ve always included a faith thread in my novels. Sometimes it’s very subtle, or present only as allegory, but it’s always there.

Q:  How long does it take you to complete a novel? How many drafts do you go through?
A:  It takes me anywhere from 6-12 months to finish a novel. The actual writing may only be 3-5 months, but when you add in research, and four different edits, including a rewrite, it’s rare that I can finish a book in less than 9 months. I always say that what my editor sees as a "first draft" is actually more like a 10th or 12th draft. That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but I go over everything at least 5 or 6 times, especially the first half of the book, which gets read more times than the second, since––as a seat-of-the-pants plotter––I'm still getting to know my characters and figuring out my plot early on.

Q:  Do you treat yourself to something special when a project is completed?
A:  We almost always go out to eat or go to a movie, or something special to celebrate me writing “the end.” But the biggest treat for me is being able to clean off my desk, and then take a week or two or three off to just read for fun, and catch up on email.

Q:  What do you think about writing contests? Have you participated in any? What’s the benefit to an unpublished writer?
A:  I wish I could say that awards mean nothing to me, but that wouldn’t be true at all. I think writers are generally very unsure about our writing until we begin to hear positive feedback from readers and professionals. (That’s why a negative review stings so much!) The awards I’ve won have reassured me that even if my books aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, several significant someones have declared my work worthy. That means the world to me.

I think I’m a little odd in one sense, concerning awards. I can’t even analyze why, but I’ve always been thrilled to the gills about finaling in a contest, but winning simply isn’t that important to me. Sure, it’s nice to win an award, but I’m every bit as pleased about my Christy finalist medallions as I am about any first place trophies and pins I’ve won.

Q:  If you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing?
A:  I’ve always been very interested in psychology, especially as it relates to family relationships. I get to “practice” that a little as a writer, but I could see myself as a counselor. I also love decorating and design, and think it would be fun to give decorating advice or stage homes for Realtors, etc.

Q:  What does your family think about your crazy career?
A:  My wonderful husband has read everything I’ve ever written. Ken has always been my biggest supporter and cheerleader. Because I began writing when our kids were 17, 13, 11 and 3, they very much took what I did for granted. Our oldest daughter served as a talented proofreader for me, but after she went out-of-state to college, she called me one day having seen my books in a Missouri library. Apparently the librarian had been impressed to learn I was her mom. Tobi called with awe in her voice. “Mom, you’re kind of famous!” Tobi is an elementary teacher now and a wonderful writer herself. She and I wrote a Marriage Perspectives column together for several years.

Our oldest son read my books in college while donating plasma twice a week (because the blood center didn’t allow donors to play video games.) And our youngest son only read one of my books because his sweet fiancée––now his wife––guilted him into it. But he, too, called to tell me how much he enjoyed the book––and how much of our family he saw in my stories. Our youngest daughter had no choice. I read one of my books aloud to her when she was ten or eleven. I feel incredibly blessed to be surrounded by supportive family, parents, in-laws, and friends, but for the most part, to them I’m “just Deb.”

Thanks, Deb. It's always a pleasure when you come to visit!

Deborah Raney's first novel, A Vow to Cherish, inspired the World Wide Pictures film of the same title and launched her writing career after 20 happy years as a stay-at-home mom. Deb's 20th novel releases June 14 from Howard. She and her husband, Ken Raney, enjoy the wildflowers and native grasses growing in the Kansas prairie garden in their large back yard. They also love traveling together to teach at conferences, and to visit four children and three little grandsons who all live much too far away.

ABOUT THE BOOK - Forever After
Lucas was a proud firefighter like his father. Now, not only has he lost his father and his best friend, Zach, in the fire at the Grove Street Homeless Shelter, but the devoted rookie can no longer do the work he loves after being crippled in the tragic event. When friendship with his buddy's beautiful widow turns into more, he wonders what he could possibly offer Jenna. Jenna is trying to grieve her husband's death like a proper widow, but the truth is, she never really loved Zach. His death feels more like a relief to her. But that relief is short-lived when she loses her home and the financial support of her in-laws. Now the secrets of her past threaten to destroy her future.

If you’d like to be entered to win a copy of Forever After, just leave a comment on this blog. (PLEASE NOTE: Continental US only on this one, folks.)  I’ll pick a winner at random on Friday, June 13th. Please leave an email address so I can contact you if you're the winner. (To prevent spammers from trolling for your email, please use this format with the brackets--you [at] yourmail [dot] com--or something similar.) Good luck!


Gabrielle said...

Sounds like a neat book!
I am a teen who just started a blog at www.projectpaperie.blogspot.com.
I love your books and am thinking about writing a review for the "Pastor's Wife" on it. Would that be ok? I would be honored if you would check out my blog and consider becoming a follower. Thank you and God bless!

Tamika: said...

Great interview ladies, thanks! I found my passion for writing from reading. Every since I was in fifth grade books have been a constant companion.

I pray my children will be proud of my stories one day, Lord willing:)

Jan Marie said...

Great interview! I have always enjoyed reading Deborah Raney's books - thanks for the opportunity to win this one.


by Pegg Thomas said...

Oh, wow... interesting twist there! Sounds like a great story.

twinwillowsfarm at gmail dot com

Jo said...

Great interview. The book sounds wonderful and one that is going on my wish list right now. Very different twist to it.


Deanne said...

I'm inspired by the interview. Thanks! And, I love the book cover. I'll read it whether I win a copy or not. :o)

Sue Maley said...

Deb writes like we all live. It is easy to relate to her stories. I've enjoyed her books for several years. Looking forward to reading this one.

She is also a very kind and thoughtful person and takes time to help others. Good interview.

Sue Maley

Linda said...

So glad you chose to write Christian novels. People need more of these novels.

Your book is a twist from what I normally read. Definitely interested. Please enter me.

desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Jennifer said...

I love Deb's stories! The characters are always someone I can relate to (not necessarily their circumstances). Thank you for sharing this interview!

Sherry Kyle said...

Wonderful interview! I love Deb's books and would love to win a copy of Forever After and pass it on to a relative who I loaned Almost Forever. Word of mouth is the best marketing tool, right? :)


Blessings on your day!

Ann Lee Miller said...

This sounds fascinating! As a writer with four children, I really enjoyed reading about Deb's kids and what they think of her writing.


Beverly Nault said...

I was honored to sit with Deb and Ken at several meals at Mt Hermon Writer's Conference this year (I really wasn't stalking you, Deb! Just enjoyed your company so much) and admire your work as well. God's blessings to you both!

misskallie2000 said...

Hi Deborah, I read "Almost Forever" and "Leaving November" and really loved them. Thanks for the great books you write for us readers and thank you for stopping by to chat and share with us.

Please enter my name in drawing.


Lisa Carter said...

I love Deb's books and have recently put a few reader friends onto her books. Her characters resonate with me and live on long after I close the covers of her books. Please include me in the opportunity to win this book.

Deborah Raney said...

Thanks so much for all the great comments and for entering to win a copy of Forever After.

Beverly, you can "stalk" me ANY time! We enjoyed our visits with you so much!

And yes, Sherry! Word of mouth is the best! Jen, thanks so much for giving me just that with this interview! :)

Peggy Blann Phifer said...

Oh, I want to read this book! I loved it's predecessor "Almost Forever." Deb is one of those writers I love to turn to when I want a break from my own writing. I have every one of her books . . . I think. Would love to add this one to my collection. :)

Peg {at} peggyblannphifer [dot] com.

windycindy said...

I really enjoy reading author
interviews...It gives me insight
to their lives and writings!
Many thanks, Cindi

CarolM said...

I'm looking forward to this one - set it my neck of the woods! =D

Come to think of it... I never did get my copy of the first one back from my friend who lives near Seymour...

I'll have to rectify that... ;)

carol at carolmoncado dot com

Pam K. said...

Thanks for the interview with Deb and the opportunity to win her new book. I've read the first book so am looking forward to continuing with the series. I've had the privilege of meeting Deb several times and can tell you she is a very sweet, down to earth lady who lives the faith she writes about.

Merry said...

Deb sounds like an awesome lady, I enjoyed hearing about her writing journey. Please add me for her newest book, thanks!
worthy2bpraised at gmail dot com

Deborah Raney said...

Just want to stop by one more time before Jen draws a winner. Thanks again for all the encouraging words. And thanks, Jen, for helping get the word out about FOREVER AFTER!

Penelope Powell said...

I have read several of your books and I love your less than perfect characters. Thanks for your contribution, your style of writing is my cup of tea. Looking forward to reading this book.

Jennifer AlLee said...

And the winner is... Misskallie2000! Thanks to all who stopped by, and a big thanks to Deb Raney :+}

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