About the Author
Deborah Raney’s books have won numerous awards, including the RITA, National Readers Choice Award, HOLT Medallion, and the Carol Award, and have twice been Christy Award finalists. She and her husband, Ken, recently traded small-town life in Kansas—the setting of many of Deborah’s novels—for life in the (relatively) big city of Wichita, where they enjoy gardening, antiquing, movies, and traveling to visit four children and a growing brood of grandchildren who all live much too far away.
1. How did you get started as an author? What or whom inspired you?
When I was six years old, I developed asthma after a long bout with bronchial pneumonia. That meant that while my brother and sisters were playing outside on the farm, I was stuck in the house trying to breathe. But my wonderful mom made that a special, special time for me because she introduced me to the library and books. My whole world opened up and by the time I was 11 or 12, I knew I wanted to write a book when I grew up.
2. How many books have you written and in what genres?
I just finished my 30th book. I’ve written 2 non-fiction book with my sister, Vicky Miller, and the rest are novels or novellas. I have one historical novella, and the rest are contemporary women’s fiction (with a few having a bit more mystery/suspense to them).
3. What writing projects are you currently working on? What can you tell us about these projects?
I have one more book to write in my Chicory Inn Novels series from Abingdon Press. This series tells the stories of the five adult children of Grant and Audrey Whitman, who have sunk all their retirement savings into renovating their home into a bed and breakfast. Of course, on the day of their grand opening, one of the children comes back home needing shelter…and throughout the book, each one finds need of their childhood home in some way. It’s been a blast to write!
4. What does your writing process look like?
I’m a seat-of-the-pants writer, so I just sit down with only a vague idea of where my story is going, and run with it. I struggle with the first-drafting of every book, but I love the editing process. That’s when the story really comes to life for me. It takes me about 7-9 months to write a novel, but much of that time is spent researching and “playing with” my characters in my mind to learn who they are. I usually write 1000 words a day in the early days of a manuscript, starting each day by editing what I wrote the day before. I usually need to stop often to research a certain topic, or go back and rewrite scenes that didn’t work the first time, etc. Once I get two or three months out from my deadline, then I pick up the pace and write more and more words each day. By then I know my characters and setting better, and the research is done, so I can spend more time playing with the actual words.
5. Where is your favorite place to write?
It’s a toss up between my office and our back deck:
6. How important are the names in your novels? How do you choose names for your characters? Do you have any name resources you would suggest?
When we were having our kids, I always lamented that there were so many good names we’d never get to use. Now, I get to use all my favorite names on characters I grow to love! I have several resources for names. The Scrivener writing program has a great name generator. Baby name books are nice for knowing the meaning of a name (even if the reader never knows). If I just need a “throwaway” name for a walk-on character, I just grab a newspaper and use a first name from one article and a last name from another. Obituaries are a wealth of names and you can see the age or generation of those listed and their survivors. If you’re writing a novel set in a certain area of the country, getting names from the newspaper of that area is a good way to be authentic in the surnames of a region. Just be careful you don’t use the name of a real person—especially for your villain! Another good resource, especially if you write historical novels, is from the Social Security office: http://www.ssa.gov/oact/babynames/decades/ You can see what the most popular names were in various decades through the years.
7. What authors/novels that you enjoy would you recommend?
There are so many I almost hate to start naming names, but here are a few of my absolute favorites: Susan Meissner, Tamera Alexander, Courtney Walsh, Ann Tatlock, Jan Karon, Jim Rubart, Denise Hunter… I could go on and on, but those are some of my recent favorites.
8. Where is your favorite place to read and why?
That back deck is also a favorite reading spot, but since Kansas doesn’t have a huge number of days with perfect weather, I also have an indoor favorite reading spot in the corner of our master bedroom:
9. What period of history interests you the most?
I do enjoy reading historical novels, especially post Civil War era like those my writing critique partner Tamera Alexander writers. But I’m mostly a contemporary gal. I love reading about women much like me, what makes them tick, what we have in common, how we face the crises in our lives, and how our faith utterly transforms us.
10. If you could choose someone famous to star in one of your books made to a movie, who would you choose and for which character?
For the last few novels, I’ve “cast” them as if they were movies. Not all with famous or well-known stars, but quite a few you’d recognize. I have a photo of the whole cast of the Chicory Inn novels, but there are too many spoilers there for those who’ve not yet read the books! But here are Dallas and Danae from Another Way Home.
11. What inspired the idea for the Chicory Inn novels? How many novels are you planning on having in this series?
Really, all of my novels have been informed and inspired by events in my life. But it was my friend Courtney Walsh planted the idea for the Chicory Inn Novels one evening while we sat chatting late into the night at a conference. I’d told several family stories during our visit, and at one point Courtney said, “Deb, you have so many fun family stories, you 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!
12. What other hobbies do you enjoy when you are not writing?
My husband and I love to browse in antique shops, flea markets, garage sales and Goodwill. We’ve found many a treasure there for a little bit of nothing and I think our house is cozy and interesting because of our treasure hunts. We also love going to art shows and museums. In addition we like working in our gardens. We moved to Wichita three summers ago and we’re still trying to get the flowerbeds like we want them. We’ve transplanted a bunch of roses and other flowers and bushes that were here when we moved. This year for the first time, we planted a tomato plant and it has been keeping us provided with delicious home-grown tomatoes all summer!
Check out my reviews for
HOME TO CHICORY LANE (coming soon)
TWO ROADS HOME (coming soon)
ANOTHER WAY HOME
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