Pardon me a moment while I shed my normal professional persona and indulge in a moment of FANGIRL SQUEALING. Why? Well, because the one and only Deborah Raney has stopped by the blog for a chat today!
Deborah Raney‘s first novel, A Vow to Cherish, inspired the World Wide Pictures film of the same title and launched her writing career after twenty happy years as a stay-at-home mom. She has since written over 30 books, including novels for Random House, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, and Harlequin. Deb is on the board of the 2600-member American Christian Fiction Writers, and teaches at writers conferences around the country. Deb and husband, Ken Raney, traded small-town life in Kansas––the setting of many of Deb’s novels––for life in the friendly city of Wichita. They love traveling to visit four children and a growing brood of grandchildren who all live much too far away. Visit Deb on the Web at www.deborahraney.com.
Her latest novel, Home at Last, released February 21st from Abingdon Press.
Why did their differences matter so much?
Link Whitman has settled into the role of bachelor without ever intending to. Now he’s stuck in a dead-end job and, as the next Whitman wedding fast approaches, he is the last one standing. The pressure from his sisters’ efforts to play matchmaker is getting hard to bear as Link pulls extra shifts at work, and helps his parents at the Chicory Inn.
All her life, Shayla Michaels has felt as if she straddled two worlds. Her mother’s white family labeled her African American father with names Shayla didn’t repeat in polite–well, in any company. Her father’s family disapproved as well, though they eventually embraced Shayla as their own. After the death of her mother, and her brother Jerry’s incarceration, life has left Shayla’s father bitter, her niece, Portia, an orphan, and Shayla responsible for them all. She knows God loves them all, but why couldn’t people accept each other for what was on the inside? For their hearts?
Everything changes one icy morning when a child runs into the street and Link nearly hits her with his pickup. Soon he is falling in love with the little girl’s aunt, Shayla, the beautiful woman who runs Coffee’s On, the bakery in Langhorne. Can Shayla and Link overcome society’s view of their differences and find true love? Is there hope of changing the sometimes-ugly world around them into something better for them all?
Hi Deborah. I’m so honored to be chatting with you today! I start all of my guests out with a fast four:
Deb: Apples, because they don’t have to be peeled.
Carrie: Truth. Plus, they’re tastier
Deb: Winter, because I can’t stand being hot!
Carrie: A woman after my own heart!
Deb: Cats, because they are independent and don’t have to be walked.
Carrie: Here is where we part ways 😉 Dogs, always dogs. Because they’re cute and cuddly and so loving.
Deb: I like both, but coffee is my usual. Love the whole process of choosing a mug, brewing, doctoring (half-and-half, no sugar, please), and sipping.
Carrie: That’s how I feel about hot chocolate! It’s such a comforting process, isn’t it?
Around here I like to say that reading is my superpower. If YOU had a superpower, what would it be?
Deb: I would love to be invisible. It would be a great way to research on the sly for my novels!
Carrie: Wouldn’t that be great?!?
Other than the Bible, what are five of your most cherished books?
- A copy of Angels:God’s Secret Agents by Billy Graham that belonged to my granddad. (I also have his tattered Bible.)
- My husband’s children’s picture book, It’s Probably Good Dinosaurs Are Extinct (by Ken Raney), which is almost extinct itself.
- A copy of Heidi just like the one my mother read to us one winter when I was a little girl. Such a warm memory!
- A copy of one of my favorite childhood books, The Village That Slept. I bought it used/rare on amazon with a $30 gift certificate from a writer friend and a half-off offer from the bookseller.
- My set (is that cheating?) of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books that inspired my dream of being a writer.
Carrie: Oh what treasures from your granddad! I love how treasured all these books clearly are in your life. And, of course I’ll allow the Little House books to count as one unit. I mean, have you seen my Top Ten Tuesday posts? I use “ten” as a healthy suggestion 😉
Writing spaces are as diverse as authors and books. Where is your favorite space to write?
Deb: I love my office, but if I had my pick, my favorite place to write is out on our back deck when the Kansas wind is still and the weather is a balmy 70 degrees. With the geese squawking, the birds singing, and the squirrels doing acrobatics in the trees overhead, it’s a little piece of paradise, and a wonderful place to get lost in my story.
Carrie: You had me until you brought in the geese. #birdphobia
Describe your main characters in one sentence each, and tell me who you would cast in their roles if Hollywood wanted to produce Home at Last as a movie!
Deb: Link Whitman is funny and cute and, according to his sisters, the most eligible bachelor in town. I would cast Will Estes (from Bluebloods) as Link.
Not quite sure which world she fits in, Shayla Michaels wishes she had her white mother’s straight blond hair, instead of the curly Afro she inherited from her father. I would cast Jurnee Smollett (from Friday Night Lights and Underground) as Shay.
Carrie: I can definitely see Link and Shayla in these casting choices!
What surprised you about Home at Last as you wrote the story?
Deb: The truth is, my stories always surprise me! As a seat-of-the-pants writer, I love being as surprised as my readers are by what my characters do. I think in this book, it was the secondary characters who surprised me more than anything. There’s a scene between the fathers of my hero and heroine in Home at Last that I just love, and that surprised me in a way that made me smile!
Carrie: That is a great scene!
What do you most want readers to take away from Home at Last?
Deb: My novel has themes of racial reconciliation and my hope is that after reading Home at Last, readers will be compelled to be more compassionate, more understanding, less judgmental, and more full of God’s grace to each other—even when we disagree on some matters.
Carrie: Ohhhhh our world needs a lot more of all of those things, especially His grace!
Deborah, thank you so much for taking time to talk with me! 🙂 Before we say goodbye for today, tell us what‘s coming up next for you.
Deb: I’m currently working on a novella that’s a collaboration with two other authors who are favorites of mine. We’re excited about this indie project and readers should be hearing news about it yet this spring!
Conclude Deborah Raney’s Chicory Inn novels with the final book, Home at Last, a story of acceptance, trying to overcome differences, and love.
Everything changes for bachelor Link Whitman one icy morning when a child runs into the street and he nearly hits her with his pickup-and then the girl’s aunt Shayla enters Link’s life. Can Shayla and Link overcome society’s view of their differences and find true love? Is there hope of changing the sometimes-ugly world around them into something better for them all?
Join Deborah on Thursday, March 23, for a live author chat party in her Facebook group with fun prizes to be won! Click the graphic below for more details and to RSVP. Hope to see you there-bring a friend or two who loves to read!