Monday, May 10, 2010

Deborah Vogts and her husband have three daughters and make their home in Southeast Kansas where they raise and train American Quarter Horses. As a student at Emporia State University studying English and journalism, Deborah developed a love for the Flint Hills that has never faded. In writing this series, she hopes to share her passion for one of the last tallgrass prairie regions in the world, showing that God’s great beauty rests on the prairie and in the hearts of those who live there.

When did you decide to be a writer?

I wanted to write books since high school and studied English and journalism in college, but it wasn’t until 2002 that I began taking serious steps to get to the goal. I joined a local writer’s group and ACFW, (an online writing organization). I also joined a critique group, started reading writing how-to’s and attended writing conferences.

I met my first agent at the ACFW Nashville Conference in 2005. We hit it off at our meeting, and she gave me some tips on making my book series “bigger.” I did that and submitted my idea to her and she took me on. We shopped my Seasons of the Tallgrass series for a year and had a few bites (one of them Zondervan) but no sale. In the end, she released me, which was a real heart breaker. However, we don’t always see the big picture like God does, and six months later I signed with agent, Rachelle Gardner with WordServe Literary, and we had an offer from Zondervan three months after that in May 2008.

Everyone’s journey to publication is different. Now that you’ve walked that road, what tips can you give to authors still hoping for that first contract?

Don’t give up. Keep dreaming, studying the craft, writing and reading. Stay tuned to what God wants for you and let scripture keep you afloat. Learn to depend on God for everything—every step of the journey. Just knowing that He is in charge and knows what is best for you, helps to alleviate the pressure of “getting published” so that you’re able to ENJOY the journey AND life.

Was there something about the experience of getting published that was a surprise to you?

I’ve been surprised at how much time marketing takes. As aspiring authors, we’re told that you have to market, and yes, that it takes a lot of your time, but oh my goodness . . . I never quite expected it to take so much time from my writing schedule. I had always thought that I was good at multi-tasking, but when it comes to marketing and writing, I have to do one or the other—I haven’t figured out a good way to do them both. Maybe the best idea is to set aside one or two days a week to do “only marketing.” I’m not sure…I’m still working on that one. LOL

One other thing that has surprised me is how incredibly honored I feel to receive “fan mail.” That is something I never equated into the “author picture.” I LOVE getting letters or emails from my readers. That has been such a huge blessing to me.

Are you a disciplined writer or do you just write when you feel like it?

I’ve had to learn to be disciplined with my writing time—and I’m still trying to learn how to do better—and how to convince my family that my writing is a real job. I’ve been fortunate that my books have been slated a year apart, but with everything that goes into the writing process and then the marketing, the months go by so fast!

What kind of activities to you like to do that help you relax and step away from your deadlines for a bit?

I like to take walks with our two golden retrievers or dig in the dirt in my flower beds or garden. Or even mow! I am weird in that I LIKE to mow. We have a large yard, so it takes me about two hours on an industrial-sized mower, but I enjoy this time to just think or sing. LOL. Yes, I sometimes sing when I mow. It’s also a good time for me to pray or to plot out scenes in my current writing project. Other than that, I enjoy playing the piano, baking something (I love to bake) or reading a good book! Oh the joys. :-)

What is your favorite novel (not written by you) and what made it special?

There are two books I especially enjoyed – Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers and Peace like a River by Leif Enger. I like books that captivate me, have a lyrical voice, and that have strong characterization—books that leave you thinking about the characters for many days after you’ve read the book. Both of these books did that for me.

How do you think reading the work of others helps you as a writer?

It’s one of the best ways to improve your writing craft, so read excellent books. Study them and try to figure out what makes great scenes work, or why a particular phrase sounds so delicious on your tongue, why an opening grabbed you, or an ending left you longing for more. I’ve heard of writers who highlight books during the learning process. I’ve never done this—yet.

Tell us a little about your latest release:

Seeds of Summer is the second book in the Seasons of the Tallgrass series. A heart-warming contemporary romance set in the Flint Hills of Kansas where a former rodeo queen abandons her dreams in order to care for her deceased father’s ranch and her two half-siblings, only to realize with the help of a young new pastor that God can turn even the most dire circumstances into seeds of hope.

Where did you get your inspiration for the Seasons of the Tallgrass series & Seeds of Summer?

Years ago, I took a Flint Hills Folklife summer course at Emporia State University that was taught by Dr. Jim Hoy. Along with classroom study, we took field trips into the heart of the Flint Hills and visited with old-time ranchers, schoolmarms and post-mistresses. It was such a delightful experience, especially our drives into the pastures. We would get on these back roads and drive over pasture guards into the open range. We would travel for miles without seeing another car or even an electric line—just pure, native prairie. That summer, I fell in love with the Flint Hills and it has stayed with me all this time.

For each of the seasonal books, I wanted to portray one aspect found in the Flint Hills—and I knew I had to include a story about a female rancher. Also because I have three daughters who are spread out in age, I started wondering what it would be like if something happened to my husband and I, and our oldest daughter was left to care for her sisters. It helped make the plot for Seeds of Summer real for me.

Which character is most like you?

None of them, really. I would have to say that Natalie is most like my oldest daughter, Samantha. Very strong, courageous and dependable.

Who is your favorite character and why?

I really enjoyed writing Natalie’s story and trying to get her through the difficult family problems she must face. She is a very strong character with an interesting twist in her story—she’s a former Miss Rodeo Kansas AND the first runner up Miss Rodeo America. I don’t want to give away any of the plot line, but I can say that much of my research involved studying the rodeo queen pageants.

Did you know how Seeds of Summer would turn out? Were you surprised by any of the plot twists or characters?

For the longest time, I didn’t know how to end my story. Then about a month before my deadline, it came to me like a clanging cymbal. Also, there were a few plot twists created by my secondary characters—Libby and Tom—who never wanted to go in the direction I’d outlined for them. I don’t want to give away the story, so you’ll have to read the book to find out. :-)

What is the main thing you hope readers remember from this story?

I’d like readers to remember how important family relations are and that we can get through our difficulties if we remember to love and forgive each other. I also hope to give my readers a taste of the Flint Hills and of how God’s beauty rests on the prairie and in the hearts of those who live there.

What kinds of things have you done to market this book? Have you found anything that works particularly well?

We’ve actually had some really neat things happen for the marketing of this second book. First, Country magazine (Reiman Publications) interviewed me for their April/May issue, which was an incredible blessing and honor, as I’ve been a huge fan of their publications for years. If you go to their site, you can read a sample from the first chapter of Seeds of Summer as well as enter your chance to win one of my books. This drawing ends May 31. The link is

Also, I will be holding my official book launch at the Flint Hills PRCA Rodeo in Strong City, KS on June 4-5 and will be giving away some really nice prizes at this event. Because my main character is a former rodeo queen, I thought it quite fitting to hold my launch at the Oldest Consecutive Rodeo in KS.

What has worked well for me with this particular series is to understand your target group readers and to work to get promotion around those themes. For me that has been readers who like horses, cowboys, ranching, country life, Kansas, rodeo, etc.

Tell us what new projects you’re working on.

I’m currently finishing up the third book in the series, Blades of Autumn, which is the story about Clara, the owner of Clara’s Café.

(Blurb for Book #3) With a café to run and three children to raise, Clara Lambert doesn’t have time for men or loneliness, despite what her heart might tell her. When two handsome cowboys vie for her attention, one of the brothers proves to be her soul mate, but at what cost? Will it tear the brothers’ relationship apart or is blood really thicker than water?

Do you have any parting words of advice?

Keep smiling, stay faithful to God and to yourself, and enjoy the moments He gives you . . .
To learn more about Deborah and her work, visit her at:
Deborah is giving away a copy of her book, Seeds of Summer. Be sure to stop by The Borrowed Book on Friday for your chance to win!


  1. Congrats, Deborah! Getting published is a lot like giving birth without drugs, no?

    If anyone else can think of a better analogy, hit me with them. This is your chance to groan out loud. I'll listen to ya. Really I will.


  2. Yes, I agree, Sandra. LOL But it's absolutely lovely to hold your baby in your hands when it arrives. :)

  3. Ain't that the truth. LOL! I'm waiting for my Summerside book now, Love Finds You in Calico, California. When it arrives, I'm sure y'all will hear me holler. :-)

  4. I really enjoy Deborah's books. Thanks for the review.

  5. Really enjoy Deb's books. Would love to win this one. Please enter me. Thanks.
    desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

  6. I'd love to win this book! It sounds great!

    caralynnjames at yahoo dot com

  7. Great interview! Redeeming Love is definitely one of the best books of all time, I agree. I would love to read your book Deborah.


  8. I LOVED Snow melts in Spring. So, I'm really looking forward to reading this one!


  9. I love this blog title and the design! Excellent! And I also adore Deb. I've read Snow Melts in Spring and would love to get the next book in the series--and the next! LOL Please enter me in the drawing.

  10. The Flint Hills area is a great setting and I enjoy visiting it through Deb's series.

    I've always thought Peace Like a River might be good, so I'm glad Deb mentioned it. Now it's on my TBR list.

    I'd love to continue on in Seasons of the Tall Grass and appreciate the chance to win Seeds of Summer.

    cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

  11. I agree with Carole, I have actually owned Peace Like a River, my grandma had it and when she passed away, I was blessed to pick through her books, and I chose that one, I really did not know anything about it, now I am curious about it even more. I had forgotten about it until now. I am looking forward to this second book. Thank you so much for the chance to win. Loved the interview!

  12. Hi ladies,

    Thanks again for dropping by. For those of you who haven't read Peace Like a River, be sure to take the time to do so. It's wonderful.

    And on a fun note, guess what the UPS driver delivered to me last night? My first author copy of SEEDS OF SUMMER! Yahoo! :)

  13. Great interview! I look forward to reading Seeds of Summer.

  14. I had the pleasure of reading Deborah's book, "Snow Melts in Spring" and enjoyed it so much. Great interview and review of her latest.
    I'd love to be entered in the giveaway for her newest book. Thank you!



  15. I am loving Snow Melts and would love to win the next book!
    bookwoman1015 at sbcglobal dot net


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