Deb Raney is the bestselling author of (soon-to-be) 21 novels! She took time from her jam packed writing schedule to answer some questions.
Can you give me a little bit of information about your publishing history?
I’m almost embarrassed to tell about my journey to publication because it was too easy and I don’t want anyone to think this is the way it works. But here’s the story. On New Year’s Day 1994, I started my first novel—sort of a resolution. Finished a short first draft that May, had three contract offers by October. Well, there was that witnessing a murder thing that September…small detour…but bottom line, my first novel came out one year after I wrote the first word, the movie based on my first novel came out the following year, and I’ve been writing ever since. I’m just about ready to dive into a new series—novels #19,20 and 21 for me. I work hard and put in long hours, but I love what I do and can’t think of another thing I’d rather be doing with my life. I think the Lord knew I was NOT a patient person and thus the quick and easy contract. Ironically, you can’t work in the publishing business long without becoming a patient person, so He got me there.
When in the process of writing your book did you begin to look for a publisher?
Not until the first draft was completed. I wasn’t sure I had what it took to finish the book, so I didn’t dare push my luck. Now I know that with an unpublished author, most publishers require the first draft to be finished before they will contract the book.
Do you plan your stories first with an outline or does it come to you as write it?
I am what author Alton Gansky calls an “intuitive” writer. In other words, I fly by the seat of my pants. I occasionally do a little outlining, a few chapters ahead, but for the most part, the story comes to me much the way a person dreams. And sometimes, as in a dream, I find myself saying “where in the world did that come from!” And I delete large sections of type and start over. But I’ve tried to learn to outline, and I’ve learned that I’m just not an outliner. The do-overs are part of the process for me. And I’ve learned to be okay with that.
Are you a morning writer or a night writer? Any tips or suggestions for writers?
When I’m on deadline, I’m both. I don’t usually get started until around 10 a.m. I work pretty steadily—with plenty of breaks to check email—until around 3 or 4 p.m. and then I’m done, except for answering reader mail or updating my website or reading research material. If I’m on deadline, I go back to my computer after dinner and work until I can’t keep my eyes open.
Has it been a bumpy ride to becoming a published author or has it been pretty well smooth sailing?
There have certainly been some bumps along the way. Rejections, disappointments, sales that weren’t as great as I might have hoped, bad reviews, terrible reviews sometimes. But I think I’ve had a smoother sail than most, simply because it didn’t take me years to get that first contract. I certainly have no complaints!
Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/is is? If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?
My wonderful agent is Steve Laube. I agented myself for the first nine years of my career, and I feel that was the right decision for me. But in the years since, many…most of the publishers have closed their doors to unagented writers. I do recommend that writers seek an agent, especially if they aren’t able to attend at least one major writers conference a year. (Besides teaching people how to write, how to be a writer, writers conferences offer a way through the door for the agentless.)
Where can readers find a copy of your book?
Your local Christian bookstore, Barnes and Noble and other “big box” bookstores, online retailers such as cbd.com, amazon.com, booksamillion.com—in short, anywhere books are sold! If they don’t have it, they will be happy to order it for you. Please ask! That’s one way you can help promote your favorite author! Autographed copies are available at: www.signedbytheauthor.com
Thank you for inviting me! It was my privilege. I’d love to “meet” your blog readers at my website www.deborahraney.com where there is a contact link to email me, and a place to sign up for my e-newsletter.
Parting words: if you’ve given your gift of writing and your writing career over to the Lord’s very capable hands, you can trust that things will happen in His timing, according to His schedule. That’s a very, very good schedule to be on.
Thank you very much, Deb, for stopping by my blog. I wish you great success!
This excerpt is taken from a longer interview with Deb Raney that is posted at Grit for the Oyster’s blog.