Today we have the exciting opportunity to get to know DEBORAH RANEY. She is a bestselling novelist whose books have garnered multiple industry awards including the RITA Award, HOLT Medallion, National Readers’ Choice Award, Silver Angel from Excellence in Media, and have twice been Christy Award finalists.
Her first novel, A Vow to Cherish, shed light on the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease. The novel inspired the highly acclaimed World Wide Pictures film of the same title and continues to be a tool for Alzheimer’s families and caregivers. Deborah is on faculty for several national writers’ conferences and serves on the advisory board of the 2500-member American Christian Fiction Writers organization. She has written more than 20 novels, and her recent Hanover Falls Novels series is published by Howard/Simon & Schuster. Deb and her husband, Ken Raney, enjoy small-town life in Kansas.
I met Deborah through the ACFW and am so honored to have her on my blog today and tomorrow. She is giving away a free copy of After All to a chosen winner within the continental U.S. Please leave a comment with your email address below for a chance to win. As always, we must have at least ten comments.
Thank you, Deb, for joining me. Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m the oldest of five children, 4 girls and a boy, who married the oldest of 4 boys and a girl! One of my sisters even dated one of Ken’s brothers for a while. Ken and I both grew up in churched homes, but we both gave our lives fully to the Lord after short periods of teenage rebellion and our “reward” was each other!
What a wonderful way God has blessed your lives! I am sure you had quite an adventurous life with that many siblings. Tell us three things about you that would surprise our readers.
1. I play the piano by ear. I wouldn’t win any awards, but give me a few hours and I can work out a song I’ve heard on the radio. I play only for my own enjoyment and tell my husband that I’ve saved him millions in psychiatric fees because I have my piano outlet.
2. In five years, Ken and I will have kids in their 20s, 30s and 40s! (Boy does THAT make me feel old!)
3. I have a bit of a temper. The Lord has it pretty well under control now, PTL, but I’ve kicked a few doors in my day, and said some things in the heat of anger (mostly to my poor kids!) that I’m not proud of.
Haven’t we all done things we regret? But kids grow up and mostly forget our little imperfections. Speaking of childhood, were you an avid reader as a child? What did you read?
I had asthma as a child, and growing up on a farm where wheat and hay were the main things that triggered asthma attacks, I spent a lot of time indoors. Which, once my mom introduced me to books, wasn’t nearly such an awful sentence. I loved Nancy Drew, all the Little House books and even some Hardy Boys when the Nancy Drews were all checked out of the library. I was reading my mom’s books by the time I was in 5th grade and loved Catherine Marshall’s Christy, Eugenia Price’s novels, and many other adult novels.
What is your favorite genre now?
I read a wide variety of books, but my favorite genre is the one I write: contemporary women’s fiction.
As a child or teenager, did you ever dream of being an author?
When I turned to the back of one of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books and read that she was a little Kansas farm girl who grew up to write the stories of her life, I think that was the first time it struck me that being an author could be a career! From that day forward I wanted to someday, somehow be an author myself!
Oh, what a wonderful story! That touches my heart. When did you first begin writing, and why do you write still?
I started my first novel when I was 12. It was a blatant rip-off of the Little House books except I set mine in the 1700s since Laura’s books were set in the 1800s. Only problem was, I put airplanes in my story––set before the Wright brothers had even been born. Oops. I was so disgusted with my error that I ripped my manuscript to shreds (that temper, you know) and I was 38 years old before I started another novel. That one turned out okay and went on to become A Vow to Cherish––which inspired the World Wide Pictures film of the same title.
You know, I got so angry with my first novel that I burned it in the fireplace!
How many books do you have published?
I’ve written over 25 books and have several more contracted.
I love this picture from your office that shows your book covers.
Tell us about your latest book.
The third and final novel in my Hanover Falls Novels series from Howard/Simon & Schuster releases in May. The series follows the survivors of a tragic fire which took the lives of five firefighters.
What inspired you to write this particular book?
My husband is always on the lookout for story ideas for me and it’s not uncommon for me to find a newspaper article he’s clipped out and put on my desk. One morning in June 2007, the article I found waiting was the tragic news of the horrific fire that killed nine firefighters in South Carolina. Even as we prayed for the families of those heroic men that morning, the fictional stories began to form in my mind and the Hanover Falls Novels were born. Though my novels are not based on the South Carolina fire in any way, those heroes were certainly the inspiration for my stories.
That is so precious about your husband clipping articles out of the newspaper for you! What are you working on right now?
I’m currently working on a standalone novel––my first standalone in six years! Face of the Earth will release next year from Howard/Simon & Schuster.
Where do you get ideas for your books?
Everywhere! It took me so long to come up with the ideas for my first two novels that I feared they would be my only books, but once I learned how a tiny seed of an idea could grow into a full-length novel, I started finding stories everywhere I looked. My husband is wonderful about keeping his eye open for great stories from the news headlines or on TV. He’s one of my favorite people to brainstorm new ideas with.
Eighteen months after the tragic Grove Street Fire took the life of her husband and four other heroic firefighters, Susan Marlowe thinks she’s finally beginning to heal. But then she discovers that David carried a secret to his grave-a secret that changes everything she thought about their marriage. For the sake of their sons, can Susan forgive the unforgivable?
Andrea Morley lost her closest friend in the fire. But she has no right to mourn him. Instead, she must forever grieve in silence-for someone else’s husband. Peter Brennan carries the weight of the world on his shoulders. As Hanover Falls fire chief, he was responsible for the brave firefighters who lost their lives that awful November night. Can he ever shake the feeling that he could have somehow prevented the tragedy? And now it seems he might find comfort in the arms of the woman he least expected.
After All, the third and final Hanover Falls novel will be in bookstores and libraries soon! May 1 is the release date (some booksellers say late April) and I hope you will enjoy one last visit to Hanover Falls!
We’re going to come back tomorrow for the second half of the interview. But until then, where can fans find you or your books on the Internet?
Thank you again for blessing us today.
Okay folks, leave a comment with your email address for a chance to win and come back tomorrow for more with Deborah.