Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Deborah Raney is at work on her twentieth novel. Her books have won the RITA Award, HOLT Medallion, National Readers' Choice Award, Silver Angel, and have twice been Christy Award finalists. Her first novel, A Vow to Cherish, inspired the highly acclaimed World Wide Pictures film of the same title. Her newest books, the Hanover Falls Novels, are from Howard/Simon & Schuster. Deb and her husband, Ken Raney, enjoy small-town life in Kansas. They are new empty nesters with four grown children and two precious grandsons, who all live much too far away.

We’re focusing on Christmas all this month! What do you most associate with Christmas where you live?

We always wished for a white Christmas, and often got snow at least a few days during the Christmas holidays. I also love being cozy in the house with all the lights off, and the Christmas tree twinkling and candles filling the house with a great smell.

Do you have any special family traditions you do at Christmas time?

We bake Christmas cookies, cut out snowflakes to decorate the windows, play board games and put together jigsaw puzzles, and play in the snow if we’re lucky enough to have a white Christmas. I hang mistletoe in the doorway between the laundry room and the kitchen every year, so there's a whole lot of kissing going on at our house around Christmas.

Do you have a favorite Christmas Carol and if so do you know why?

It’s one of the lesser known carols, but I’ve always thought "Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming" is a hauntingly beautiful song.

If you could spend Christmas any way you could, how would you celebrate?

Just the way we always do––with family gathered close, all tucked into our house for several days at a time. That’s especially precious, now that we’re empty-nesters and the kids all live hours away (or halfway across the world like our son in Germany).

Do you have any special memories of Christmas?

Too many to number! Christmas was always special growing up on the farm. One memory that always stands out for me is the Christmas Eve program at the little country church we attended. For many years, the front of the church was decorated with a huge mural that depicted the first Christmas night…that mural was painted from the vantage point of the shepherds, looking down from the hills onto the star shining over the stable. I could get lost in that picture and almost feel like I was present on that amazing night. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the way that made me feel.

What does a typical Christmas Eve and or Christmas Day look like for you?

With our kids spread all over the world now, Christmas is the one time everybody is home at the same time. We usually go “over the river and through the woods” to each of the grandparents’ houses for part of the day, but the rest of Christmas week is spent playing games, putting puzzles together, watching movies, decorating cookies, or playing in the snow if we’re lucky enough to have any. We’re all about anything that lets us spend time together. We love having everybody home!

Do you have any Christmas movies or Christmas books you like to see or read each year?

The Raney family has always loved the movie A Christmas Story ("I want an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle!" "No, you'll shoot your eye out.") Even better than watching the movie, is hearing Uncle Steve (my husband’s brother) tell the story in his own hilarious way!

Your Christmas Book is titled A Prairie Christmas Collection. Tell us a little about your novella in the book:

"A Circle of Blessings" is set in 1871 Dakota Territory on the campus of (fictional) St. Bartholomew’s Academy. James Collingwood meets Stella Bradford who is in need of his services as an English tutor. Recently graduated and acting as an aid in the English department, James agrees to help Stella, who sees no practicality in conjugating verbs or diagramming sentences. Instead of learning more about English, Stella falls in love. However, an indiscretion in James's past threatens to undermine their relationship.

Where did you get the idea for “A Circle of Blessings,” your story in the collection?

"A Circle of Blessings" is the only historical novella I ever wrote, but I thought it was a great vehicle for writing a story based on one of our family's Christmas traditions. (I can't tell you what that tradition is without giving away my story, so you'll just have to read it to find out!) It was also fun to use my grandmother's names for my characters in this novel.

Do you have a Christmas message for my readers?

It’s become a cliché, but I pray that in the mad rush to get everything ready for Christmas that none of us forget to remember the Reason for the season. He makes all the difference in the world!

Purchase Deb’s Books here.
Deborah is giving away a copy of her book A Prairie Christmas Collection. Be sure to stop by The Borrowed Book on Friday for your chance to win!


  1. So good to know more about you Deb! :)

  2. I would love to win a copy of A Prairie Christmas Collection. Thanks for featuring Deb and her book today. She's a lovely lady.

  3. Thanks so much for hosting this interview! Wishing all your readers a very Merry Christmas!


  4. So glad you stopped by, Deb! Thanks so much, and have a VERY Merry Christmas!


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