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 twenty happy years as a stay-at-home mom. She is currently writing a new five-book series, the The Chicory Inn Novels. Deb and her husband, Ken Raney, recently traded small-town life in Kansas––the setting of many of Deb's novels––for life in the (relatively) big city of Wichita. They love traveling to visit four children and five grandchildren who all live much too far away.
Connect with Deborah...
Novelists and their garden spots: http://novelgarden.blogspot.com
Purchase: Another Way Home
Author Interview | Deborah Raney
You and Writing
Do you have a favorite book or work that you’ve written? If so, why?
...For a long time, I felt guilty choosing one of my “babies” over another, but now that I’ve written 30 books, a few have risen in my mind as my favorites:
- A Vow to Cherish because it was my first, and the one that inspired the World Wide Pictures film of the same title.
- A Nest of Sparrows because despite being the very hardest book I ever wrote (because of research, deadline, length, obstacles, etc.) it turned out to be a wonderful, touching story that won a ton of awards.
- The Chicory Inn Novels series because there is so much of the essence of my own wonderful family in it. Both the family I grew up in, and the family my husband and I raised.
...The easiest thing is “having written.” I love having a book newly released. It means there’s no more editing, no more deadline, no more stress. At least for a few months.
...The hardest thing about publishing is first drafting. The blank page terrifies me. (Although not enough to start outlining. LOL! I’m a seat-of-the-pants writer through and through.) But until the story starts “living in me” I sit with my laptop in a state of mild panic, wondering if the story will ever reveal itself to me. It always does. After 30 books I should trust that it will. But I’d far rather rewrite, edit, or even market than write that dreaded first draft.
Tell us a little bit about what you’re working on currently.
...I’m just getting started on the fifth and final novel of the Chicory Inn series. Book #4, Close to Home, just released this week and I’m so excited for readers to learn Bree Whitman’s story. Each of the novels tells the story of one of the children of Grant and Audrey Whitman, empty nesters who’ve turned their large family home into a bed and breakfast.
What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with?
...That family can be messy, but that messes can be truly wonderful. I wanted to write about a normal, loving Christian family who live close enough together to sometimes drive each other crazy, yet who would defend any family member to the death, and would truly give their life for each other if necessary. That’s a lot like my family. The Bible says God places the lonely in families, and I can’t think of a more wonderful place to be loved and nurtured. I treasure my family more and more the older I get, and I also adore the family I married into. Ken and I are each the oldest of five children. His family had four boys and one girl; mine had four girls and one boy. It’s been a fun dynamic and gave us a great background for raising our own two sons and two daughters. Now that grandkids are coming along (five already, and two on the way! Yay!) we feel like we’re living the very best part of life!
When you write, what is your overall intention with your stories?
...I want first of all to entertain. Most people read novels to escape and relax. I want my books to make people FEEL—to laugh or cry or even get angry. And to explore what they would do should they ever find themselves in my characters’ shoes. Of course, I want my novels to reflect my faith in Christ and my biblical worldview, but I hope that is simply an outgrowth of writing about characters who are mostly already Christians when the story opens.
In honor of the fall, what’s your favorite fall treat?
...Treat for eating/drinking: pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and hot apple cider or pumpkin spice coffee.
...Treat for the eyes: those miniature white pumpkins and autumn leaves. I LOVE fall!
When you were a child, what did you dream of growing up to be?
...My mom was a stay-at-home mom who made that look like the best job in the whole wide world. When I was 12 years old, I decided I wanted to give birth to 6 children and adopt 6 more. (Ha! After having 3 of my own, I decided 3 seemed like a dozen…of course that’s when, for good measure, the Lord blessed us with one more. Sort of my “baker’s dozen” and miraculous, given that I was told by several doctors that I probably would never be able to conceive.) It was that same summer when I was 12 that I made the connection between the wonderful books I read, and the fact that someone had to write those books! I knew then that someday (likely after my 12 kids were grown ;) ) I wanted to be an author. I’ve gotten to live both of those dreams.
Will you participate in National Novel Writing Month? If so, what’s your plan to keep your writing on track?
I’ve never participated before. I can see how it would be a great way to jump-start a book, but I’ve never been in quite the right place in the writing process to make that work. And alas, I’m a very slow writer. I write one book a year, sometimes a novella or short story in addition to that. But although I can write a first draft in 3 or 4 months, now, it takes me several months of letting the story marinate, and of course, the editing takes additional time once y editors have worked their magic. I’m blown away by people who write multiple books a year!
I love hearing you're a "pantser" (seat-of-the-pants writer). And wow...30 books? Just incredible! I love the purpose behind your books. It's the most incredible thing that the written word can draw out such strong emotions.
A resounding YES to all of your favorite fall things - I'm right there with you. And I love that you wanted 12 kids - WOW! But how amazing the God's blessed you to "achieve" both of your dreams of being a mother and an author.
Thanks again so much Deb! Readers, be sure to comment below for a chance to win a copy of this awesome book.
Last week we chatted with Pepper about her historical fiction novel The Horn Bearer and she graciously offered a digital copy of it. Our winner is...
Congrats Kim! Contact me so we can get you your copy :)