Monday, June 27, 2011

Southern-Style Meet & Greet with Deborah Raney

It gives me the most ENORMOUS pleasure to have Deborah Raney as the first featured author on Southern-Style Meet & Greet!  I have been a fan of Deb's stories since I found her books on my local library's bookshelves, and she gets better and better with every single novel she writes.  If you've not had the chance to read any of her books, just pick one (doesn't even matter which one you choose) and discover one of the true gems in the world of Christian fiction.

I hope y'all enjoy our first Meet & Greet!

When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

The summer I was 12 and read all of Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House books. That's the first time I realized that "novelist" could be a career aspiration!

If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be and why? (This is, of course, assuming that writing IS your dream job!)  :o)

I love decorating my home and office, so (NOT including the painting, refinishing, wallpapering, hard-work part LOL!) I might choose to be a decorator or designer. Or a psychologist. I know, I know, BIG difference between those two. And that's why I love being a writer. I get to decorate my character's homes and offices, and play psychologist to them––AND I get to work in my jammies. Talk about the best of all worlds!

The best of all worlds is right!  LOL!  What genre do you most like to write?

Women's fiction, because not only can I explore a social issues, but I can add in elements of romance or mystery or suspense and satisfy my desire to write in various genres under one "brand."  

Do your own personal experiences, or those of family and friends, ever find their way into one your stories?

Almost everything that has ever happened to me has found its way into a novel––just not necessarily in a way that readers would recognize. For instance, the heroine in my first novel is sending her youngest son off to college and facing the empty nest. It was written at a time when I was sending my oldest off to college, but I still had three kids at home, including a 3-year-old, so I was projecting how that empty nest time would feel. I witnessed a murder the day before my very first book contract was offered. In several of my novels when someone has witnessed a murder or other shocking event, I was certainly drawing on my own experience! More subtle ways that my personal experiences make it into my books are based more on "what ifs" than actual happenings. For instance, if my teenagers were WAY past curfew, I start imagining what could be wrong, and how I would deal with it, etc. My "what if?" makes it into the book, but that doesn't mean it really happened. 

What is your latest book release?

Forever After is the second book in Deborah Raney's Hanover Falls Novels series from Howard/Simon & Schuster. Book 1, Almost Forever, is the winner of the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, as well as an Award of Merit for the HOLT Medallion.

Lucas Vermontez was a proud firefighter like his father. Now, not only has he lost his father and his best friend, Zach, in the fire at the Grove Street Homeless Shelter, but the devoted rookie can no longer do the work he loves after being crippled in the tragic event. When friendship with his buddy's beautiful widow turns into more, he wonders what he could possibly offer Jenna.

Jenna Morgan is trying to grieve her husband's death like a proper widow, but the truth is, she never really loved Zach. His death feels more like a relief to her. But that relief is short-lived when she loses her home and the financial support of her in-laws. Now the secrets of her past threaten to destroy her future.

Almost Forever, Book 1 in the Hanover Falls Novels series, won the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence in 2011.

Are you currently working on another novel, and if so, can you give us a snippet about it?

I'm working on my first novel for Summerside Press's When I Fall in Love line. My book, We've Only Just Begun, is set in 1971 in a small-town newspaper office. I'm having a blast remembering a time when cell phones and laptops didn't exist. Boy, does it change the way my plot evolves!

I bet it does!  Seems like you've changed your mind about not writing another historical...  :o)  Where can readers find you on the web?  I also have a great blog featuring CBA authors and their garden spots:

And now it's time for the fun stuff!  :o)
If you could visit anywhere down South, where would it be and why?

Does North Carolina count? I've gotten to know tons of wonderful Southerners while teaching at various conferences at Ridgecrest Conference Center near Asheville, NC. People in Kansas are wonderful and friendly and kind, but Southerners are downright sweet!

Yes, North Carolina does indeed count!  I've only gotten to visit there once myself, and that was on a trip to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC.  It truly was one of the most beautiful places I've ever been, and I'd love the chance to go back some day. Maybe you'll find your way there, too, if you pop in again for another conference.  :o)

Iced Tea—sweet or un-sweet? 

Most Kansans don't sweeten their tea, but my husband and I always have a delicious mix of brewed tea with a packet of Crystal Light Peach Tea mixed in at half strength in our fridge. Not too sweet and zero calories. 

BBQ Pork or BBQ Beef?

Pulled pork is a guilty pleasure, but BBQ chicken is probably my favorite. Can I choose C?

(Deb, I won't hold the chicken against you, although nothing will do but pulled pork for this girl!)

Potluck dinner or restaurant dinner?

Potluck ANY day! LOVE all the salads and desserts!

Summer or Winter? (because we really only have 2 seasons down here)

Winter! I love spring and fall best of all, but can't stand to be hot in the summer, and love cozying up by a fire in a sweater and socks in the winter. 

Country gal or city gal?

Country gal. I was raised on a farm and totally enjoy small-town life now. Cities are great to visit, but wouldn't want to call one home!

You, you all, or y’all?

You. Even though I was born in Texas, my parents returned to their native Kansas when I was just 5 months old, so I never learned y'all. : )

Well, that about wraps it up!  Deb, you could fit in with us Southerners down here real easy...but you may have to put up with sweet tea bein' on the menu.  :o)  Thank you so much for sharing a little bit about yourself today, as well as the scoop on your upcoming novel.  I hope you'll come back to   "meet & greet" with us again sometime soon!


Be sure to come back next time to meet another fantastic Christian fiction author!  I'll bring the sweet bring the conversation!  :o)

If you'd like to check out my review of Deb's new book, Forever After, click here.


  1. I love your new feature!

    I feel like I can hear the Southern twang in your voice through your questions. I've got the Southern twang, so I say that with love!! ;)

    Great interview, though!

  2. Aww, thanks, Tammy! I actually used to get a little offended when people said they loved my country accent. Now, I wouldn't trade it for anything! :o)

  3. I always WANTED a Southern twang and alas, I grew up in Kansas and got nuthin'! Just wanted to stop by and say how pleased I am to be on your beautiful blog, Christy! Thanks so much for the interview and for the wonderful review of FOREVER AFTER. You are such an encourager to me!

  4. Great interview ladies! Deborah's book seems to be getting great reviews on the blogs I follow. I'm off to check out her novel garden blog, sounds like fun.

  5. Joy, enjoy your visit to the novel garden blog I love "strolling" through there myself. Some beautiful gardens that my writer friends have allowed me to share through the blog.

    And again, thank you, Christy. It's wonderful to be a part of your blog this week!

  6. Joy,

    I've checked out the Novel Garden's beautiful! Makes me wish my green thumb was half as good as those ladies'! :o)


    You are most welcome! I'll let you borrow my Southern twang anytime you need it! :o)

  7. What a fun interview Christy and Deborah; I really enjoyed it! I haven't read any of your books Deborah . . . yet! It looks like I'll have to add your books to my TBR list. : )

  8. Loved the interview Christy and Deb! Sorry I'm so late stopping by but I just got back from the Outer Banks (yeah Deb, I agree with your answer, NC is a great southern place to visit. ;-)) I have to say though I do not agree with your summer vs. winter answer LOL! Give me hot sunny days!!!!

    XOXO~ Renee

  9. Michelle,

    Thank you so much for coming by!! You cannot go wrong with any of Deb's books...just make sure you read the series books in order. :o)


    Hope you had a blast on your vacation! And oh, what I wouldn't give for a cold, arctic blast right now...we're steadily in the 90's lately with some days getting over 100 with the heat index...blegh!


I love your comments!! They make me happier than cold sweet tea on a hot summer day! :o)