Sunday, June 13, 2010

Interview with Deb Raney

Interview questions for Deb Raney

1. Where did you get the idea for your idea for this new story?

My husband is always clipping stories out of the newspaper that he thinks I’ll find interesting––that he thinks might hold the seed of an idea for a future novel. One day he placed the story of nine heroic firefighters who were killed in a fire in Charleston, SC. That story and the career of my firefighter nephew, got me thinking about the lives of the survivors and how they find the will to go on after such a tragedy. The Hanover Falls novels explore the questions I encountered that day.

2. The cover states that it’s a Hanover Falls novel. Will this be a new series? If so, what are some of the ideas for future books?

Yes, the three-book series will follow the lives of several of the survivors of fallen firefighters as they try to piece their lives back together after a tragic fire at a homeless shelter in Hanover Falls.

3. What was the most difficult thing about writing this story?

The research! Because part of the storyline of The Hanover Falls Novels revolves around events in a homeless shelter, when our church asked for volunteers at our local shelter, I knew the Lord was prompting me to answer the call.
My first night on duty was a Sunday and I was told to bring something to read since usually the hours were quiet and uneventful. I thought it strange when I arrived that no one else from my church was there yet. But I introduced myself to the volunteers from another church, and we began our evening serving supper to about twenty residents who had checked into the overnight-only shelter.
Not once the entire night was there so much as a minute to sit and read. According to the other volunteers, this was the craziest and most eventful night they'd ever experienced at the shelter.
As the night unfolded, we dealt with a suicide watch, a new fresh-out-of-jail admittance who turned out to be on the no-admit list, a bottle of Vodka discovered in the hallway that meant administering a (thankfully negative) Breathalyzer test on the main suspect, a mild altercation between a resident and a volunteer (not me!) and a phone that rang the entire 5-11 shift. Before the evening was over, I'd had some fascinating conversations with residents, and had the privilege of praying with a suicidal man.
I went home with my brain brimming with ideas and information for my novel. Only after I arrived home after 11 p.m. did I glance at my calendar and do a double take. I had looked at my schedule wrong! I wasn't supposed to show up for my shift until the following Sunday night!
Nights like that one give me a fresh appreciation of how God often turns research into ministry––and of how He never wastes an experience in the life of a writer.

4. What advice would you give to those desiring to write suspense and romance?
Though this is sometimes labeled suspense, I really hesitate to call it that. It definitely has some suspenseful moments, and the romance thread is strong, but it falls more in the drama/women’s fiction category than true suspense.
My advice to those wanting to write either of those genres is the same as any writing: Paint the story in vivid SHOWN scenes, and leave me guessing at the end of every chapter. Dare me NOT to turn the page!

5. What is your favorite thing about writing?
I love that my work feels like play. That I’m using the gift of creativity that God has given me when I write. That I can make my own hours, and therefore have more time for my family. And I love that my stories have touched the hearts of readers and that once in a while I get to hear all about it!

6. How long have you been writing?
16 years! It doesn’t seem possible. I started writing New Years Day 1994 as part of a lifelong dream and, that year, part of a New Years resolution. One of the few I’ve ever kept!

7. How long did it take to get your first book published?
I finished the first draft of my manuscript about 5 months after I started writing, and immediately started sending it out to publishers. (Remember, this was in the day before publishing houses had closed their doors to unagented writers.) In September I got my first contract offer; by November, I was entertaining three offers, and my book was released from Bethany House in January 1996. Two years from writing the first word to seeing my book on the shelf. And that was really quite speedy. Publishing is a S-L-O-W process.

8. A Vow to Cherish has been around for a long time. What is it about this book that keeps it on the bookshelves of the stores?
I think the staying power of that book has much to do with its portrayal of family loyalties, commitment in marriage and the meaning of true love. I think those qualities are something every person desires, whether they realize it or not.

9. How many books do you have in circulation now?
I’m working on my 20th novel and I’ve co-written or contributed to several non-fiction projects as well. I haven’t done the math recently, but at last count I was approaching half a million books in print.

10. Do you have a favorite among your books? Why or why not?
Now that I’ve written almost 20 books, a few have risen to the status of “favorite.” A Nest of Sparrows is one, and Beneath a Southern Sky. Both were RITA Award finalists, and Beneath a Southern Sky won the RITA. I’m also very fond of Playing by Heart and Remember to Forget, and both were Christy Award finalists, so apparently readers agree with my choice of favorites.

11. What type of books do you like to read?
I usually read the kind of books I write––women’s fiction with a strong element of romance. But I’m learning to expand my horizons and read some different genres. I’ve read a few suspense novels recently and enjoyed them (when I wasn’t hiding my eyes and quaking in my boots!) Right now I’m thoroughly enjoying Dr. Richard Mabry’s romantic suspense novels with a medical theme.

12. Any words of wisdom for new writers?
Don’t rush the process. We don’t expect pianists to play Carnegie Hall after a year of lessons, or a first-year med student to do brain surgery. Likewise, it usually takes years of study and practice to write a novel that is ready for publication. Hone your craft, read books in the genre you’d like to write, and enjoy the journey, whatever it brings!
Thank you, Deb, for telling us about your books. Please leave a comment and let us know why you'd like to have this book.
(This book was provided by the publisher for review and marketing purposes.)


Jan Marie said...

I really enjoyed this interview with Deb Randy! I first read a book by Deb Raney in June of 1997. (I keep a list of every single book I read). Since that time, I have enjoyed many of her books and would be thrilled to be the winner of this one!


Pain SUX said...

I loved the interview. I really like Inspirational fiction and this story being about firefighters should be great.


Unknown said...

I would love to be entered in this giveaway:) Thanks!


Wendy said...

I would love to read this book. I love Deborah's books and have read most of them. It sounds different to me too.

misskallie2000 said...

Loved the interview Deb and Martha.
I love stories about firefighters, police, military, FBI, Coast Guard and all the others that protect and save us, even from ourselves at times. They are such a brave group of people and deserve praise and thanks daily. I would love to win so I can read now instead of waiting to get later. The reviews I have read tell me I will not be disappointed.

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

Jo said...

What a terrific interview that was. This book really sounds like a fascinating book and would love to read it.


Martha A. said...

That was a really good interview! Wow, that sounds like a crazy night at the shelter! incredible! I cannot wait to read the book! martha(at)lclink(dot)com

Martha A. said...

Oh, and I forgot to say why I would like to have this book! Probably because it sounds like a really wonderful read......but I also like Deborah Raney's other books! They are great martha(at)lclink(dot)com

Linda said...

Sounds like a powerful story. Please enter me.
desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Trinity Rose said...

Books like this I love. When people overcome their struggles.
Thanks for the giveaway.
Trinity Rose

wandaelaine at gmail dot com

Peggy Blann Phifer said...

Well, I left a comment under the "review" post but maybe I should have put it here? Either way, please enter me in the drawing, Martha. Deb's books are amazing.