A Visit with Deborah Raney
This past month, I’ve been featuring authors who contributed tips to my book, Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors. This week award-winning author Deborah Raney joins us.
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Let’s start by sharing with my followers how the two of us know each other. What are your recollections of when, where, and/or how we first met?
I honestly don’t remember! Probably at ACFW or Mount Hermon. That seems to be where we connect now.
I love connecting with people at writers’ conferences!
Tell something about yourself as a person and as a writer.
I’m a small-town girl living in the city. I’m a happy empty-nester wife to Ken, mom of four, “Mimi” to five, and working on my 30th novel.
Sounds like a full and fun life.
What genre(s) do you write in, and why?
I write women’s fiction, usually with a strong thread of romance. Women’s fiction because I love exploring social issues and how our faith impacts our decisions. Romance because love just makes the world go ’round!
Do you have a story of a writing setback or failure?
Like nearly every author, I’ve had setbacks in my career—times when my book didn’t sell as well as we’d hoped, or when a publisher folded just as my book was released. After more than twenty years in the publishing industry, I’ve come to realize that this is normal. It’s likely this way for almost any career, and you just have to learn to let God carry you through those times. I’m learning that He often uses these “setbacks” to redirect my career or to teach me something I need to know to succeed in another area of my life.
That’s a very healthy perspective, Deb.
Tell me about your current work-in-progress.
For the last few years, I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the writing of a five-book series for Abingdon Press. The Chicory Inn Novels series tells the stories of five children of the Whitman family, along with their empty-nest parents. (Sound a bit familiar?) I’m trying to not make these stories too much like my own family and life, but anyone who knows us will tell you that bits and pieces of our lives have managed to slip in.
What do you love most about writing?
I love that I’m able to use my God-given talent as a way to contribute to our family’s income. I love that I’m able to work from home and have the freedom to rearrange my work schedule to visit our children and grandchildren on a whim, and to travel to teach at writers’ conferences.
Describe your proudest writing success.
Early in my career, my first novel, A Vow to Cherish, was the inspiration for the World Wide Pictures award-winning film of the same title. It’s been pretty hard to top that in the years since!
Describe your writing space.
Although my first few novels were written at our kitchen table (our only table at that time!) and the next few were written from a corner of our living room, I now—in our empty nest—have a dedicated space that is my dream office. A slant-shelved reference bookshelf that my dad built sits beside a comfy chair, and across the room is our old kitchen table that now serves as my home coffee bar and holds my Keurig coffeemaker along with my collection of seventy-plus mugs. My husband’s artwork decorates the walls, and a comfy love seat provides a spot for him to perch while we brainstorm one of my books or talk about the latest illustration project he’s working on.
What one piece of advice would you share with aspiring writers?
Study the craft and hone your skills the way any professional must do. Then write what you enjoy reading, what you feel passionate about, and what you can’t not write.
Thanks, Deb, for sharing with us!
Deborah Raney’s 25+ 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 twice 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, recently traded small-town life in Kansas—the setting of many of Deb’s novels—for life in the (relatively) big city of Wichita. They have four children and five precious grandchildren who all live much too far away. Visit Deb at www.deborahraney.com.