Bio: 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 20 happy years as a stay-at-home mom. Since then, her books have won numerous awards including the RITA, National Readers Choice Award, HOLT Medallion, the Carol Award, and have twice been Christy Award finalists. Deb's 23rd novel, The Face of the Earth, released from Howard/Simon & Schuster in May and her new Christmas novel, Silver Bells, just came out from Guideposts. She is currently working on a five-book series for Abingdon Press Fiction. Deb enjoys teaching at writers' conferences across the country. She and her husband, Ken Raney, recently traded small-town life in Kansas––the setting of many of Deb'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.
Welcome back, Deborah. Tell us about the book’s cover and what makes it unique.
I had a vision for this cover––and it wasn’t the traditional red/green Christmas book cover. I sent a photo of a couple crossing a bridge in the snow to the designers and they took it from there. They captured my vision so well and I couldn’t be more pleased with the final cover!
How much research did you have to do for this book?
Since I grew up in the sixties and seventies, my research was reaching back to my own childhood years! But it took more research than I expected just because I had to be careful that if I mentioned a song it had actually become popular by the month my scene was set.
What inspired and surprised you while you were writing the book?
It really struck me how drastically our world has changed in the last 40-50 years! Technology has made a vast difference in how we live––connected minute by minute by cell phones and iPads and GPS and a myriad of other gadgets. And yet in some ways, things haven’t changed at all! It’s still relationships that make the world go ’round. It’s still people who are most important. And of course, God has never changed. He is still there, loving us and showering His grace on us.
What is the next project you’re working on?
I’m working on a five-book series for Abingdon Press, The Chicory Inn novels. The first title, Home to Chicory Lane, will release next summer. And I’m working on Book 2 now. These books follow the members of the Whitman family––an empty-nest couple who spend their retirement savings to renovate their family home into a bed-and-breakfast inn, and their five grown children who return home in various ways.
What do you do when you have to get away from the story for a while?
I love working in the yard with my husband. We moved to a new home in the (relatively) big city of Wichita––quite a change from the small towns we’ve lived in most of our marriage. But we are enjoying the adventure and being outside has been a good way to meet our neighbors. I’m also a lover of antiques and enjoy hunting for great finds at antique shops, garage sales, Goodwill, flea markets...anywhere they might be found.
Please give us the first page of the book.
The radio scratched out static over deejay Kris Kristiansen’s lilting baritone.
“Keepin’ cool on another hot, hot August day. Thanks for waking up to KGRV. . .
music to get you in the groove and out the door.”
Out the door? Michelle Penn squinted at the clock on her nightstand. Six thirty. She flopped onto her belly and covered her head with the plump feather pillow. Too early. And she’d thought Mom’s “Yoo-hoos” were bad, floating up the farmhouse stairs at the crack of dawn every morning. Now, while she was glad to have her own place in town, no deejay could serve up the aromas of bacon and French toast that had always come with Mom’s wake-up calls.
Outside the third-story window of her apartment, the leaves of the locust tree brushed the window screens and some sort of yellow-breasted bird sang his heart out. Already it was so hot that she was tempted to turn on the air cooler propped in the window of her kitchenette. But by the time the cool air made it back to her bedroom, she’d be out the door. Besides, her landlord had warned her to watch her electric bill if she ran the cooler. And her budget didn’t leave much room for error. At least not until her first payday.
But it was all worth having her own place, and she did love her cozy apartment over the
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Thank you, Deborah, for sharing this lovely book with us.
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Silver Bells - Christianbook.com
Silver Bells (Songs of the Season series) - Amazon.com
Silver Bells (Songs of the season™) - Kindle
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