Saturday, April 6, 2013

Featured Author Interview: Deborah Raney

Deborah Raney is the author of A Vow to Cherish, which inspired the World Wide Pictures film of the same title.

Her books have since won the RITA Award, ACFW Carol Award, HOLT Medallion, National Readers' Choice Award, Silver Angel, and have twice been Christy Award finalists.

Deborah has written more than twenty books. Her most recent series is the Hanover Falls novels, published by Howard/Simon & Schuster. 

The following is an April 2013 interview with Deborah.

Tell us a little about yourself. 

I'm wife of 38 years to Ken, my hero. I'm mom of four grown kids, and mother-in-law to 3 more. I'm "Mimi" to three little brothers and their little girl cousin––and hopefully many more babies-to-be in the years to come. I grew up on a farm, raised my kids in a small town, and recently moved to the city with my husband. We're small-town people at heart, but really enjoying this new adventure.

How did you become a novelist, and did you always want to write? 

The summer I was eleven years old I read and fell in love with all the Little House on the Prairie books. I think it was the first time I made the connection that books had authors…that writing books was something you could do when you grew up. From that summer on, I knew I someday wanted to give people the same pleasure with the books I wrote that Laura Ingalls Wilder had given me with her stories.

What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?

I don't think I could be a writer if the genre of Christian fiction didn't exist because I've found the answers to life's issues through my faith in Christ, and to write about characters who have the same struggles with sin and grief and relationships as I do, but not have any hope to offer, would be futile. To me, Christian fiction allows me to write truth into my fiction, and to share stories of redemption with my readers.

How do you hope your readers react to the stories you write?

I love it when my readers "chew me out" for keeping them up all night. So first of all, I hope readers are enthralled and entertained by what I write. I hope when they turn that final page, they have a feeling of satisfaction and hope. And I hope they've seen a bit of their own lives reflected back at them through my characters.

Hanover Falls

What responses to your novels have affected you the most and why?

If I'm honest, the most memorable responses have been the hurtful ones. The readers who hated my books, who thought what I wrote was unrealistic or too simplistic. Readers might be surprised to know that I've shed tears over some of the reviews my books have received. I've grown a thicker skin now that I have over two dozen books under my belt. But a negative review still stings. But I take heart that most of the feedback I get is positive and affirms what I feel God has gifted me to do––write stories that echo God's redemption story.

How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ?

There is a huge responsibility in being a writer whose characters make decisions based on their faith, or lack thereof. I nearly always must, via my characters, draw conclusions about God's will and about living out one's faith. And doing so makes me a theologist of sorts. I don't want to ever get something wrong or lead someone astray. So being a writer, I feel obligated to stay grounded in God's Word, to seek wise counsel, to study to show myself approved unto God, and to rightly divide the word of truth.

Other than writing great novels, what other goals do you have for your life? 

I want to be the best wife, best mother and mother-in-law, best grandmother, best daughter, sister, aunt, etc., to my family that I can possibly be. I want to live out my faith every day, grow in love and grace every year, and always, always reflect God's truth in all I say and do. Beyond that, I sure would love to spend a month in Europe with my hubby! :)

What do you like to do in your spare time?

These are the things I love to do when my time is my own: read great novels; walk or work in our flower gardens with my husband; explore antique stores, libraries, and museums; decorate our home; make good things to eat in our kitchen; spend time with our kids and grandkids, and with the wonderful collection of friends and family God has blessed me with.

Almost Forever (Hanover Falls #1)
[Purchase: | Amazon Kindle]

Forever After (Hanover Falls #2)
: | Amazon Kindle]

After All (Hanover Falls #3)
[Purchase: | Amazon Kindle]

The Face of the Earth
What can you tell us about your latest novels?

I have two novels coming out this year and I must say I'm excited about both!

The Face of the Earth comes out in May. It's a stand-alone novel from Howard/Simon & Schuster with an element of mystery woven in with family drama and a story of love and devotion. My three brothers-in-law helped me brainstorm this story at a family reunion two years ago, and wow did they ever have some great ideas!

When Mitchell Brannon’s beloved wife of twenty years kisses him goodbye one morning, he has little idea that his life is about to change forever. Mitch returns from work early that evening, surprised Jill’s car isn’t in the garage. But her voice on the answering machine makes him smile. “Hey, babe, I’m just now checking out of the hotel, but I’ll stop and pick up something for dinner. Love you.” Hours later, Jill still hasn’t returned, and Mitch’s irritation turns to dread.

When the police come up empty, Mitch enlists the help of their next-door neighbor, Jill’s best friend, Shelley, to help search. As days turn into weeks and weeks into months, Mitch and Shelley’s friendship grows ever closer––and decidedly more complicated. Every lead seems to be a dead end, and Mitch wonders how he can honor the vows he made to a woman who has seemingly disappeared off the face of the earth.

The Face of the Earth
[Pre-Order: | Amazon Kindle]

Silver Bells

My other novel comes out in October with Summerside Press. Silver Bells is a lighthearted Christmas romance set in the early 1970s. What fun it was to rediscover the music and culture and simplicity of my own high school and college years!

As Elvis croons from the radio and Christmas descends upon a small Kansas town, two people find the miracle of love.

Michelle Penn has dropped out of college to work as a reporter for a tiny weekly newspaper. The boss’s son, Robert Merrick III, is quickly making her forget all about her former sweetheart, Kevin, who has shipped out to Vietnam. Rob loves the newspaper business but feels trapped working for his father. He dreams of having his own newspaper, but now that he’s met Michelle, she is what he wants most of all. Rob is forbidden by office policy to date Michelle, but if he were to quit his job, he’d have nothing to offer her.

As snow blankets the town, it seems that the gifts Rob and Michelle most desire—each other—are out of reach. But then, they didn't count on a small Christmas miracle.

Silver Bells

What stories can your fans expect from you in the days ahead? 

I recently signed a five-book contract with Abingdon Press Fiction for The Chicory Lane Novels series, about an empty nest couple and their five children, who each have a wonderful love story to tell. As I've begun work on these new books, I've been reminded what a wonderful heritage I have in the godly parents and grandparents who shaped my life and gave me a wonderful inheritance of faith and common sense and joy in the simple things of life.

What would you like to say to your fans in New Zealand, and others worldwide?

Thank you so much for reading my stories and bringing them to life through your enjoyment of them! I would love the opportunity some day to get a chance to meet you in person and visit your beautiful part of the world.

Do you have any parting words?
Thank you SO much, Ellie, for all you do to promote Christian fiction not just in your own part of the world, but the world over via the World Wide Web. We authors appreciate you more than we can say!

Buy Deborah's Books at The Book Depository

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