DEBORAH RANEY joins us again today for part two of our interview. Remember 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 addresss. As always, we must have at least ten comments.
Now for part two!
Deborah, yesterday you told us about your writing history. Now tell us a little about your writing style. Are you a plotter, a pantster, or somewhere in between, and can you elaborate on your answer?
Definitely a seat-of-the-pantster––or, I prefer author Alton Gansky’s term: I’m an intuitive writer. I write much as I’d read a novel, with the story unfolding like it does in a dream, and me sometimes being as surprised as I hope the reader will be when certain things happen. Unfortunately, writing by the seat of my pants means that sometimes, as in a dream, the story makes no sense at all, and I end up having to go back and rewrite several chapters.
But I’ve learned that’s simply part of my process, and the time I “waste” fixing that, plotters have “wasted” in outlining, so neither is superior. It’s a question of what works best for you. I have tried various methods of plotting, and sometimes plot 3 or 4 chapters ahead, but for me, the whole process of writing is more fun if I’m discovering as I go right along with the reader.
I do an outline but then I tend to stray away from it as the writing mood hits me. What is your writing schedule and where do you write?
I wrote my first few books in a corner of our living room in the small duplex where we raised our four kids. Now that they are grown and we have a house big enough for them and their families to come home to, I have a lovely dedicated office with a window that looks out onto our quiet rural street. And I do write there, but some of my best writing happens on the back deck, in several small-town coffee shops, or in the car on trips to visit our grandkids. Something about writing away from the distractions of home seems to be the secret for me.
Are there ever scenes in your books that came from a real-life happening?
All the time! Our youngest son had never read one of my novels until his fianceé “guilted” him into it. But he called me one day, laughing, and saying that he’d just finished A Nest of Sparrows, and loved it. Partly because he saw so many scenes that were inspired by our family. If you read A Nest of Sparrows, the scene where the children are fighting over the blue cup comes straight from the Raney family of Kansas! ; )
What is the bravest thing you have ever done?
This may sound silly, but the bravest thing I ever did was swim across a lake cove––not much more than the length of a football field––but for someone who almost drowned at 17 and was never a strong swimmer because of my asthma, I was very proud of myself. It happened when I was dating my husband and wanted to impress him. His family are all FISH, and know no fear, so I didn’t want to get labeled a chicken. I just plunged in and kept swimming. I’m so thrilled that all our kids were on swim team and worked as life guards and swimming teachers during high school.
That definitely is a very brave thing to do! But it’s obvious you’re not a chicken because you’ve managed to get 20 books published! Now for a little bit of fun, if you could travel to anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
I love to travel, but outside the U.S., I’ve gone no farther than Jamaica, Grand Cayman and stepping my toe over the California border into Tijuana, Mexican. All my great-great grandparents came from England and Germany, and now our oldest son lives in Germany so Europe is my dream trip. I hope with all my heart to get to go there while he’s still living there.
What is your number one spiritual gift?
I think I’m an encourager. I have a feeling that comes from being a big sister to my siblings. And having parents, especially my mom, who modeled encouragement for me.
I can tell you are an encourager and you give back so much to the writing world. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us? Maybe a writing tip or advice for aspiring authors?
My advice for aspiring authors is something I wrote a few years ago for a collection one of my writers groups produced called What the Wind Picked Up:
The most valuable lesson I’ve learned about the writer’s life is that it is full of ups and downs. In your own eyes, you will never, ever “arrive.” Some months you’ll be on top and feel wonderful about how things are going; other months you’ll be sure your career is over. The sooner you accept that this is normal––and just show up at your desk anyway, day after day after day––the more likely you are to start having more ups than downs. Besides, it’s not about you anyway. Though the act of writing may be therapeutic for the writer, a book doesn’t really come to life until it’s read by someone else. If God uses your story to bring joy or comfort or reproof or wisdom to even one other life, you are a success in the eyes of the only One who matters.
Wow! That blessed me and I know it will bless our readers. I don’t know how to thank you enough for joining us.
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!
Thank you again for blessing us for this interview.
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