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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Spotlight on Deb Raney and Within this Circle

If you have been an avid reader of contemporary fiction over the past decade, you know doubt would have heard about this author. Not only did her debut novel get selected to be made into a movie, but it had a worldwide release and DVD production followed recently by a republication of that first book. All of this in preparation for the sequel to that beloved novel, A Vow to Cherish. Now, Deb is back with another heartfelt story of love and commitment in today's spotlight.


Deborah Raney is at work on her seventeenth novel. Her books have won the RITA Award, the HOLT Medallion, the National Readers' Choice Award and the Silver Angel from Excellence in Media. Deborah's first novel, A Vow to Cherish, inspired the World Wide Pictures film of the same title. Deb also serves on the advisory board of American Christian Fiction Writers. She and her husband, Ken Raney, have four children and enjoy small-town life in Kansas.

By Deborah Raney
Published by Steeple Hill


1. This is the sequel to your much-loved debut novel, A Vow to Cherish, a book that went on to be made into a world-renowned beloved movie. Now, you've got John and Julia with a new lease on life. What gave you the inspiration for this story?

It's always hard to let my characters go, so as I near the end of a book I'm always thinking about where the characters will go after the epilogue. More than once, I've realized that my characters' story wasn't quite finished. That was the case with Within This Circle. I wanted to explore how Ellen's death from early-onset Alzheimer's disease might affect her daughter.

2. How much of your own experiences influenced the characters of John and Julia?

John and Julia's marriage is definitely very much like my husband and mine--the affectionate teasing and the enjoyment of each other. Even some of the things that cause tension in their marriage. But we've never dealt with many of the challenges my fictional couple deals with--loss of a spouse, a second marriage, raising grandchildren, etc.

3. What themes exist in Within this Circle that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?

Probably the main theme--the seed that inspired the story--was the issue of grandparents raising their grandchildren. It seemed that everywhere I turned I was reading an article, or hearing of a situation where couples were finding themselves--long after the empty nest--as guardians of their grandchildren. How difficult it would be, after you've raised your kids, to, in effect, start the parenting task all over again. The novel also explores depression, and how it can paralyze us. Other themes include workaholism and its effect on families, depression, and the importance of extended family.

4. What were your most difficult parts to write? Your favorite?

Without giving too much away, the scenes of Jana in Colorado required the most research, and I'm not crazy about research. I drew from several vacations spent in an A-frame cabin in the Colorado mountains. That cabin was the model for the one in my book, but there were still many things I had to research to make those scenes credible. My favorite scene to write was the happy ending. It was so gratifying to walk my characters through their difficulties and bring their story to a satisfying resolution.

5. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?

Coming December 1 is my novella "Finally Home" in the Missouri Memories anthology from Barbour, about a vietnam vet who falls in love with a war protester. My next full-length book is the second Clayburn novel coming in March from Howard/Simon & Schuster. Leaving November follows artist Jackson Linder (readers will remember him as the gallery owner from Remember to Forget). Jack is fresh out of rehab and determined to get his life back on track. But he hasn't counted on falling in love with Vienne Kenney, who's back in Clayburn after failing the bar exam--twice. I'm at work on the third Clayburn novel and thoroughly enjoying "living" in my fictional little Kansas town (which is much like the real Kansas town I live in.)

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Thank you, Deb, for being in the spotlight. Readers, leave a comment for your chance to be entered in the drawing for a FREE, autographed copy of Within this Circle. If you don't wish to be entered, but still wish to comment, say so when you post. This week, the contest is open to US/Canada residents only.


Kim said...

Tiff, I feel compelled to enter this drawing. My family is dealing first hand with many of the issues this book addresses. Interested to see how it is handled in fiction. Thanks!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for a great interview. I've enjoyed many of Deb's books and look forward to reading this one. Thanks for entering me in the drawing.

ChristyJan said...

Great interview. This sequel sounds like a wonderful read. Please enter me to win a copy of WITHIN THIS CIRCLE.

Angela said...

Defently enter me to win a copy!

Unknown said...

I'd love to win this.


Deborah Raney said...

Tiff, thanks so much for a great interview. I wish everyone could win a copy of Within This Circle, but I look forward to sending my new book out to one of you.

Blessings on the coming weekend!


tetewa said...

This sounds great, I'd like to be entered!

Miralee Ferrell said...

I don't know if Deb's contest is closed yet, but if not, please enter me? I've been wanting to read Deb's books and just haven't picked on up yet. This one sounds like an excellent place to start.

Angela said...

Id love to win this book! Sign me up

Tiffany Amber Stockton said...

Thanks to everyone for your comments and support. Unfortunately, there can only be one winner and that is:


Congratulations! I have a Kim F. and a Kim L. If you're one of those, I have your mailing information. If not, send it to me, and I'll see that Deb gets the book right out to you.

Everyone else, check the other spotlights to see if you've won!

Kim said...


I sent you an email with my contact information using the link on your site. Let me know if you don't get it.


I can't wait to read this!!