Deb Raney is at work on her seventeenth novel. Her books have won the RITA Award, the HOLT Medallion, the National Readers’ Choice Award and the Silver Angel from Excellence in Media. Playing by Heart was also a finalist for the Christy Award. Deb’s first novel, A Vow to Cherish, inspired the World Wide Pictures film of the same title. She also serves on the advisory board of American Christian Fiction Writers.
Nikki: Hi, Deb. Welcome. When did you first feel “called” to write, and how did that evolve into the writing life?
Deb: The summer I was 11 or 12, I read the entire Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. From that moment, I knew that I one day wanted to write a book. Throughout my school years and into college, teachers confirmed that I had a gift for writing, so that helped keep the dream alive even as my time became consumed with raising our four children. When the time came for me to go back to work to help put our oldest son through college, the Lord blessed us with a surprise baby and I started praying God would make a way for me to stay home with her while still earning enough to pay college tuition. The Lord answered that prayer in an amazing way when my first two-book contract covered—to the penny—four years of room, board and tuition to the college of our son’s choice. Those first books launched my career—and it’s still putting kids through college. Three down, one to go! : )
Nikki: How has writing deepened your spiritual journey?
Deb: It always amazes me how much like worship writing feels. I think when we employ the creative gifts with which God has endowed us, we can’t help but feel connected to the Giver. Add to that research that keeps me digging in the Word on behalf of my characters, and you have a pretty good formula for spiritual growth. I’m so grateful I get to work at a career that is also a ministry—and one that ministers to me every day.
Nikki: Tell us something most people don’t know about you and would be surprised to learn.
Deb: I was offered my first book contract by a New York publisher the day after I witnessed a murder in our local grocery store. I ended up going with a different publisher, but I’ll never forget the extreme highs and lows of that week! And of course, I’ve used the emotions and horror of that experience numerous times in my novels. Even in that awful experience, the Lord plunked me down in the midst of a rich research field.
Nikki: What is it about your writing style that readers tell you draws them to your books?
Deb: Probably the thing I hear most often from readers is that my characters and setting seem so real. Just last week, I heard from a reader who said, “I got so caught up in this story… I just finished it about a half hour ago and cried so hard I couldn’t answer my husband’s questions about how the book ended. Wow!! What an incredible story… I won’t stop thinking about this one for a long, long time.” I consider it a real honor that the characters I’ve grown to love have wormed their way into the hearts of my readers as well.
Nikki: Tell us one of the high points of your career and what it meant to you?
Deb: Finding out my first novel was being made into a film (A Vow to Cherish from World Wide Pictures) was certainly a high point..
Nikki: If people want to follow your writing journey, where are you on the Internet and what appearances do you have scheduled this year?
Deb: More and more I’m limiting my speaking to teaching at writers conferences. I’ll be at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference in North Carolina later this month (May), in Dallas at the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference in September, and back in North Carolina in October for an advanced novelists conference. You can see my schedule and more about my books on my website/blog at www.deborahraney.com. There’s a link to contact me there as well. I love hearing from my readers!
Thanks so much for inviting me to be interviewed, Nikki. I enjoyed our “visit” very much!
Deb’s latest release: Remember to Forget
Sneak Peek -
Stranded a hundred miles away from her abusive New York City boyfriend after a terrifying car-jacking, graphic designer Maggie Anderson impulsively heads west. Stumbling upon tiny Clayton, Kansas, she arrives without cash or a past—or so she thinks. As she begins a new relationship with Trevor Ashlock, will she be able to tell him the truth—before it tells on her?
(In October, the expanded version of her first novel, A Vow to Cherish will be released in mass market format. Then in November, the sequel, Within This Circle will also come out in mass market format.)
|About the Author:
Nikki Arana is an award-winning author living in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. She is the recipient of the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year Award for Women’s Fiction, The Beacon Award, nd the Jessie Cameron Alison Writer of the Year Award.