Find a Christian store

Interview With Deborah Raney

Meet Deborah Raney
Interview by Sandra Moore

Tell us a little about yourself -- age, married/single, children, how many books authored, etc.

I write as Deborah Raney, but my friends just call me Deb. My wonderful husband, Ken Raney, and I celebrated our 27th wedding anniversary in August--on our daughter's wedding day! We have four children.

I began writing on New Year's Day 1994 and now have four published novels with three more contracted to come out in the next two years. I've also co-authored two books of children's sermons with my sister, Vicky Miller; and have contributed short stories and essays to several anthologies.

Titles by Deborah Raney:
BENEATH A SOUTHERN SKY (Waterbrook Press 2001)
A VOW TO CHERISH (Bethany House 1996, winner of the 1997 Angel Award from Excellence in Media re-issued by BHP with a movie tie-in cover in 1999 now available on video and on DVD in 7 languages.
KINDRED BOND (Bethany House 1998)
IN THE STILL OF NIGHT (Bethany House 1997)

CHILDREN'S SERMONS TO GO (Abingdon Press 1998)

Contributor to:
THE STORYTELLERS' COLLECTION-Tales of Faraway Places (2000)

How did you become interested in writing?

I spent the summer I was 11 reading all the LIttle House on the Prairie books. I can still remember turning to the back of one of those books and reading something like "Laura Ingall Wilder was a little Kansas farm girl." It suddenly hit me that I was a little Kansas farm girl! And that day i tucked a dream away in my heart that someday I, too, might write a book. Little did I know that I'd be almost 40 years old before that dream came true.

What was your biggest obstacle in regards to writing and/or getting published? How did you overcome it?

To be honest, i realy can't say there were many obstacles. Because I didn't start writing until our three older children were all in school, and I was at home full-time, I never really struggled to find the time or motivation to write. I was able to write the first draft of my first novel in five months and it sold five months after I began sending it out. I realize I've been very fortunate in that respect.

What has been the highest moment of your writing career?

Career-wise, I'd have to point to the day I learned that World Wide Pictures, Billy Graham's film division, had purchased the rights to make my first novel into a movie. Spiritually speaking, it was the day I found out that my first contract would allow me to remain at home with our then-three-year-old daughter and still put our older kids through college--a miraculous answer to the most fervent prayer of my life at that point!

Who/What is your greatest inspiration to write?

When I first started writing, I was strongly motivated and inspired by my desire to remain a stay-at-home mom. I needed to make enough money to pay for the older kids' college, and writing would allow me to do that from home. My mother was probably my biggest encourager from childhood because she taught me to love literature and to hold writers in high esteem. My husband, also, was a great inspiration to me. He was rejected by more than 80 publishers before his first children's picutre book was accepted. I saw his perseverance pay off and found I coI could be patient, too. Ken is also my greatest cheerleader. I would not be where I am today without his constant encouragement and support. As far as mentors, I'd have to point to early Christian novelists Catherine Marshall and Eugenia Price.

Are you a seat-of-the-pants writer, or do you plot extensively before your fingers hit the keyboard?

Totally and completely seat-of-the-pants! I wouldn't know an outline if it hit me over the head! I just prayerfully go where the story takes me and sometimes I'm as surprised as anyone by the destination! I think plotting would take all the fun out of writing for me. I love the discovery of an unfolding story.

What's the nicest thing anyone ever said about your writing?

Well, believe it or not, it was probably Bev Huston's review of Beneath a Southern Sky in Romantic Times Magazine, which began: "I hated this book with a passion." :) Bev went on to give the novel a wonderful four-star review, calling it "a story as rich and noble as A Tale of Two Cities." Wow! Can't ask for much more than that.

Who is your favorite character in your books, and how did you come up with that character?

I think I'd have to say Jake Brighton, the husband of my Alzheimer's patient in A Vow To Cherish. I was writing from Jake's point of view, but having never been a man, it was difficult to get in his head. When I began to "re-create" him in the image of my father and my husband, the two men I know best, suddenly he came to life. I'm sure I love Jake so much because of the wonderful men who inspired his character.

How do you balance a writing career and being a mother?

Although I'm sure all women struggle to find this balance, I have to confess that I've had it very easy. I've been privileged to be a stay-at-home mom for most of my married life, I have a wonderfully supportive husband, and kids who learned early on how to do their own laundry and pitch in with the housework, etc. A few times when I've been on a tight deadline, my family has had to take the brunt of it and live on McDonald's food, and wear "recycled" socks for a couple weeks, but all in all, things have gone pretty smoothly. I credit a lot of that to the fact that I didn't even start writing until the kids were all older and in school (except for our tag-a-long baby).

If you could tell a beginner one thing, what would it be?

Be patient, and realize that if God gave you a gift and a desire to write, He wants to be Lord over the direction your writing goes. If you must wait-- either to find time to finish a manuscript, or for that manuscript to be accepted by a publisher--use the time productively. Study the craft of writing. Ours may be a God-given talent, but that doesn't mean that we don't need to fine-tune it and learn the technical aspects of the craft. I've discovered that the downside to having my first manuscripts "snapped up" almost immediately is that I go back and read those books now and see how MUCH I had to learn as a writer!

Would you like to share a MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENT you have experienced in your writing career?


About two years ago when the movie A Vow To Cherish debuted I was, frankly, pretty full of myself (or full of it...however you want to look at it!) Anyway, we were at the movie premiere in Hollywood and my publishers were shooting publicity photos of me with the stars of the movie, Barbara Babcock and Ken Howard. As I proudly posed arm in arm with Barbara, a woman was waiting impatiently to get her young daughter--who had been an extra in the film--in the pictures. Ms. Babcock okayed the girl to come up beside her and like an idiot, I stayed there, too, assuming the woman would be thrilled to have her daughter's photo taken with the likes of me. She took one shot, squinted as though something was terribly wrong with the picture in her viewfinder, then cleared her throat. "Um....could we get one without HER?" she said, motioning me vigorously out of the way. I sheepishly stepped aside, very much put in my place! Important lesson learned: It's far better to sit in the seat of humility and be asked to move up to a seat of honor, than to take the seat of honor and get kicked out! : ) Ie. Humble thyself in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up!

The other embarrassing moment happened a year or so before that (I'm a slow learner) when I was presenting workshops at a Hearts at Home conference in Illinois. I was so thrilled to find out that almost 2,000 women had signed up for my workshops. "Man!" I thought. "I am really making a name for myself." Well, my first class had 800 women in it and it went very well, so I'm walking confidently to the building where my second presentation was to take place. I was following behind a group of women and I overheard this conversation: "I just can't wait to hear this next speaker. You know who she is, don't you? It's Deborah know, Dennis Rainey's wife." !!! Suddenly it dawned on me--2,000 women signed up because they thought they were going to be hearing well-known Family Life Today author Barbara Rainey, wife of Dennis Rainey! I had to begin my next workshop with a humble apology that I was NOT Barbara Rainey! : ) (What's interesting is how much Kenneth and Deborah Raney sounds like Dennis and Barbara Rainey!)


You can find more information on books by Deborah Raney here.

For more great interviews, visit our Author Interview Archives.

ACFW Members, click here to apply for an author interview!

Developed by Camna, LLC

This is a service provided by ACFW, but does not in any way endorse any publisher, author, or work herein.