All About Deborah
Deborah Raney’s thirty-plus books have garnered multiple industry awards, including the RITA, the Carol, the HOLT Medallion, National Readers’ Choice Award, and Silver Angel from Excellence in Media, and have three times been Christy Award finalists. Her first novel, A Vow to Cherish, which shed light on the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease and inspired the highly acclaimed World Wide Pictures film of the same title, continues to be a tool for Alzheimer’s families and caregivers. Deborah is on faculty for several national writers’ conferences, and serves on the executive board of the 2,700-member American Christian Fiction Writers organization. She and her husband, Ken Raney, traded small-town life in Kansas—the setting of many of Deb’s novels—for life in the city of Wichita. They have four children and seven precious grandchildren who all live much too far away. Visit Deb on the Web at www.deborahraney.com.
How to Connect with Deborah
The Friday Five with Deb:
1. What inspired your latest story?
My writer friend Courtney Walsh planted the idea for the Chicory Inn Novels series one evening a few years ago while we sat in a hotel lobby talking late into the night after a conference. I’d told several family stories during our visit, and at one point Courtney said, “Deb, you have such a great family and so many stories about them, you really ought to write a book about a big extended family like yours! Or better yet, a series!” That got my wheels turning, and I’ve been excited about the people who live on Chicory Lane ever since! Home at Last is the love story between Link Whitman, the “last man standing“ in the Whitman family as far as marriage is concerned. When he falls hard for a biracial woman and the young niece she is raising, things get a little complicated. But Link and Shayla‘s love—and God‘s love—win in the end.
2. What is your writing process like?
I spend weeks thinking about my story, finding images of what my characters look like, mulling over the storyline, and toying with opening and closing scenes. Once I finally start writing, I can finish the book fairly quickly…about 3 months for an 85,000-word novel. But those months of writing are intense and my poor husband suffers by eating lots of carry-out and getting ignored by me more than he’d like. (Poor guy! He’s a great sport and super supportive, including reading everything I write—once it’s published!)
I start each day editing what I wrote the day before, then diving into the next scene. I try to write chronologically because it’s very difficult for me to write the “bridges” if I write scenes out of order! I use a “leap-frog” method where I stop and read through the whole manuscript at 30,000 words, and again at 60,000. I love rewriting and totally look forward to hearing feedback from my critique partner and again from my editor(s).
3. What is the hardest thing about being a writer?
For me, I think the hardest thing is also the best thing: working from home. I love that I can make my own hours and schedule my deadlines around important events in my kids’ lives, etc., but I’m also not very self-disciplined and tend to be a terrible procrastinator, so that means I’m often feeling stressed and rushed close to deadline. It’s also hard to convince friends and family that even though I’m always home and have the privilege of making my own hours, I still work almost full-time, and must say “no” to a lot of fun things.
(Preslaysa Here: But Deborah writes in a beautiful office! Look at her lovely space where she creates.)
4. Who would you cast as the hero and heroine of your latest release?
I picture Link as Will Estes from TV’s Blue Bloods. I don’t know the names of the models I’ve cast as Shayla and her niece Portia, but when I found these images, I knew they were just right. Readers can see the entire cast of the Chicory Inn Novels on my Pinterest board here: https://www.pinterest.com/deborahraney/the-chicory-inn-novels-series/
The Dutch editions did a great job of portraying my heroines in each of the novels!
5. How do you balance writing and the rest of life?
It’s much, much easier now that our four kids are grown and we live in an empty nest! It also helps (sad as it makes me) that our kids and seven grandkids all live out of state—from Houston to Seattle to Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Of course, that’s where the Chicory Inn novels are set, so I’ve often had to take research trips as I was writing. 😉
Probably the most important thing I do to keep balanced is to observe a Sabbath day—Sunday for us, since that’s when we attend church services. Since I love my job, it can be tempting to work 7 days a week. But I find that I need that time away from my desk (though I do still “play’ online with Facebook, etc. on Sunday). But it’s important to come back to my desk rested and refreshed from the Lord’s Day and a mini-sabbatical from my work. In addition, I try very hard to take several weeks or even a month off between books. I think I would quickly get burned out if I turned in one book and had to start immediately on another!