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Welcome back to the blog, Deborah. I’m so excited to have you visit us. Congrats on your new release, Home At Last.
Which character from Home at Last would you say you’re most excited for the readers to meet? And why?
Link Whitman, the only remaining son of Grant and Audrey, has kind of remained in the shadows in the first four books, and I think readers will enjoy getting to know him, but more than that, I’m excited for them to meet Shayla, the girl Link is falling in love with. Shay has had a difficult life, losing her mom, watching her brother go off to jail, then being saddled with his young daughter, Portia, to raise. Shayla doesn’t realize that God has had His hand on her through it all, and that deep love is about to capture her heart—God’s love, Link’s love, and a shared love for a little girl who desperately needs a family.
What did you learn from the Whitman family throughout writing this series?
All through writing this entire series, I’ve tried to keep the Whitmans real. To not make them too perfect, to show that even with their faults, they are loveable and God can use them. This book reminded me of the strength that is found in the family. And how God intended the family to be a place of healing, of love, and of building each other up. Having lost my mom in October this year, I’ve been preciously reminded that the things she taught me didn’t die with her, but became even more a part of me and my brother and sisters. I love that I have the privilege of leaving a similar legacy for my kids and grandkids. And that we have eternity to rejoice in that.
I’m so sorry to hear about your mom, Deborah. Sounds like she was a very special lady.
Which story in the Chicory Inn series proved to be the most challenging to write and why?
I think Another Way Home was probably the one that required the most research, the most angst as I tried to figure out happy endings for everyone (impossible to do, unfortunately, though satisfying endings work too.) Adoption is such an emotional and potentially volatile issue, and I wanted to handle it respectfully and realistically. It is a part of my own family in numerous ways, starting with my grandparents who adopted a niece and nephew and raised them as their own after their parents were killed in a house fire. Adoptions have continued with each generation of my extended family, and it’s been a blessing in each case.
What’s something your readers would be surprised to know about you?
They may not know that our four children are spread out over three decades. I gave birth to our oldest in the 1970s, our two middle kids in the 1980s, and our youngest in the 1990s! (It runs in the family, as my mom’s baby brother was born while she was in college, so I have an uncle who is only 4 years older than I.) That span between births meant that we had children living under our roof for almost thirty-three years! No wonder we are so enjoying our empty nest years! 😉
Do you have a word of advice for aspiring writers still on the edge of jumping in to publication?
Never give up! God’s timing is never off. He is never too early, never too late. Our job is just to do what He’s called us to do and be ready when He says “go!” That’s been true throughout my career, to the point that I’ve quit freaking out when it seems like something “fell through” or didn’t happen as I thought it should. Always, always, the future proves that God knew what He was doing all along. I’m finally, 22 years after I began writing, beginning to trust Him in ALL things! (Yes, I’m a slow learner.)
Is there anything else you’d like to add? Any upcoming projects you can share with us?
I can’t remember a time in my career when I had more going on! The final Chicory Inn novel just released, I’m just finishing the first book in a new Guidepost series called The Society of Second Chances, set in Kentucky. After that, I’ll be back to work on a project that has been on hiatus for a few months, a new three-book series, The Chandler Sisters series, set back in Missouri where the Chicory Inn Novels (and several other of my books) took place. In addition to all that, I’m working with my husband’s Raney Day Press to get my older novels back in print with new Ken Raney-designed book covers. I love the lineup of book covers he’s designed for me so far!
Yes, they’re beautiful! Thanks so much for sharing, Deborah. Have a great 2017!!
Deborah has graciously offered to give away a copy of the newest Chicory Inn novel, Home at Last, to one lucky reader. Enter below and it could be YOU! 😉
Thanks for entering! Contest is open only in the U.S. and ends February 14, 2017. The winners will be notified by email. Happy Reading, everybody! 😉