Sometimes God’s ways are not at all what we expect… and exactly what we need. Grant and Audrey are adding grandchildren to their family left and right, but middle daughter, Danae, and her husband, Dallas Brooks, have been trying for years with no baby in sight. Though Danae is ready to consider adoption, Dallas will not even discuss it. Despairing of ever having a family of her own, Danae decides to pour her passion and energies into volunteer work with a newly opened women’s shelter in town. Looking for a good cause to fill her lonely days, she never expects to give her heart to the hurting women she meets there. She’s finally learning to live her life with gratitude, but then heart-wrenching events on Thanksgiving weekend threaten to pull the entire Whitman clan into turmoil—and leave them all forever changed. Read our story spotlight on Deborah Raney with Another Way Home to learn more, and enter to win a copy here.
Story Behind Another Way Home
Tell us a bit about the story behind your latest novel. Where did you find inspiration?
My writer friend Courtney Walsh planted the idea for the Chicory Inn Novels one evening a few years ago while we sat in a hotel lobby talking late into the night after a conference. I’d told several family stories during our visit, and at one point Courtney said, “Deb, you have so many fun family stories, you really ought to write a book about a big extended family like yours! Or better yet, a series!” That got my wheels turning, and I’ve been excited about the people who live on Chicory Lane ever since!
What was the hardest part about writing your novel: Getting started? Keeping it going? Finding the perfect ending?
For me, it’s always writing the first draft (which I’d classify as “keeping it going” since I usually have fun with the idea, with creating the characters, living in the setting in my head. But that first draft kills me. Once I near the end, I almost always find the perfect ending. Unlike many authors, I love the editing process, too.
What trait do you love most about your main character?
I love the way Danae loves her husband. She’s not perfect, and she sometimes gets too self-absorbed, but she loves Dallas unabashedly, and would do anything for him. She loves her extended family the same way, and she loves that Dallas also loves her family.
When readers get to the last page, what do you hope they take away from the story?
I hope readers will think of difficult situations in their own lives, and realize that God already knows the ending to their story. He already has a plan for redeeming their toughest situation. And He will get them through!
What are you working on next?
I’ve just finished the fourth novel, Close to Home, which will release next spring. And then there is one final novel in the Chicory Inn series—Whitman son Link’s story, Home at Last—and I can’t wait to write it. I’ve already started on the research for an issue that will be key in the story. But it’s still a secret. 🙂 🙂
Deborah Raney’s Writing Favorites
What are your ideal writing conditions?
Clean house, perfect weather (so I can write out on the deck), great music playing, good coffee in a mug at my side.
If you could write in a different genre, which would you choose?
Believe it or not, I’d probably say suspense! I don’t like too scary books, and I wouldn’t enjoy all the research a suspense novel takes, but I’ve really enjoyed writing my women’s fiction novels that took a more suspenseful turn!
What book have you reread the most?
You know, I’ve only re-read a handful of books in my life! Cold Sassy Tree, my favorite novel of all time is one. And LaVerle Spencer’s Then Came Heaven (which I finished, then turned to the front and began re-reading immediately!)
If you could have lunch with any literary character, who would it be and why?
Oh, probably Cynthia, Father Tim’s wife in Jan Karon’s Mitford novels. I just think we’d be kindred spirits, and Father Tim is a lot like my Ken.
Favorite first line of a book:
I read this one recently and it made me smile. From Lisa Wingate’s The Sea Keeper’s Daughter: Perhaps denial is the mind’s way of protecting the heart from a sucker punch it can’t handle.
Do you have a go-to writing snack?
It’s hard to beat M&Ms—or any chocolate. I love Coffee Nips too! And Gobstoppers (miniature jawbreakers).
What is your favorite writing tool?
I must say I love having my Chicago Manual of Style open beside me. I’ve tried the online version, but there’s just something about having the hardcover book at hand. (And it doesn’t hurt that the new 16th edition’s aqua cover looks great in my office!)
If you were trapped in a book, what fictional place would you like to explore?
What a fun question! Well, I think I’d really love exploring Mitford (Jan Karon has a way of creating a cozy, warm environment.) But maybe I should use this opportunity to travel to Europe and explore some author’s fictional towns there.
What would the title of your biography be?
Better Late than Never. LOL! I’m really a fairly punctual person, but I do tend to experience some of life’s landmarks later than most. I was in my thirties before I’d ever flown in an airplane (I LOVE flying!) I still have never been to Europe… I’ve barely been outside the U.S. except for a brief jaunt into Mexico over the California border, and a couple of ports of call on the one cruise we went on years ago.
If you could live a day in one of your characters’ lives, who would you choose? Explain:
It would definitely be one of my Chicory Lane characters simply because their lives are very much like mine (AND they live near my grandbabies!) I truly love my life and while I do have a bucket list, I couldn’t ask for a better life than the one I’ve already lived!
He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose. —Jim Elliot
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