BIO: Deborah's novels have also won the RITA Award, the National Readers Choice Award, the HOLT Medallion, the Inspirational Readers Choice Contest, ACFW Book of the Year Award, and numerous others. PLAYING BY HEART (Barbour Books 2004) and REMEMBER TO FORGET (Howard/Simon & Schuster 2007) were both Christy Award finalists. Deborah has been a contributor to numerous books on the craft of writing, and has also written essays and articles for such publications as Christian Parenting Today, Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion, Writer's Digest's Writing Success, Welcome Home, as well as writing a column for with her daughter Tobi Layton.

Deborah and her husband, Ken Raney, enjoy small-town life in central Kansas. The Raneys recently became empty nesters when their youngest daughter left for college. They have three other grown children and two little grandsons who live much too far away.

Ok,Deborah, which do you prefer? Live Book Club meetings, meetings on the phone, or on-line author chats like we have for ACFW on-line book club?

As an author I prefer live, in-person, but sadly there's no way I could do very many of those a year.

Please describe a book club experience that really moved you,encouraged you. Why did it touch you?

Every book club appearance I've done has been fun and encouraging! It's so rare for an author to hear the kind of feedback that a book club group offers. But one especially fun gathering happened with a book club group in Lindsborg, KS, the town that inspired my Clayburn Novels. We had brunch at the Swedish Country Inn (the inspiration for Wren's Nest), then the ladies went for coffee at The Old Grind (which was the inspiration for Vienne Kenney's Latte-dah coffee shop).

What surprised you most about doing a live book club event?
How open the women were in talking about the book. I expected then to clam up, or at least to not share things they didn'tlike about the book. But they were very candid (yet kind) and I just had a ball!

What surprised you about doing a phone chat with a book club?

How easy it was, and how well it worked. Not only could the women hear me, but I could hear their laughter in the background, and in spite of the fact there were a dozen or more women in the room, we had a really fun exchange!

What surprised you most about doing the on-line book club chat?

Most of the "online" book clubs I've done have involved me answering a list of questions the book club sent me, but no actual interaction with the group. I am more than happy to answer questions this way––and sometimes that's just the only option my schedule will allow––but I much prefer personal interaction with the group.

What do you like most about the book club experience?

The encouragement I get from seeing women's reaction to my stories. Tears and laughter and thoughtful responses to the questions my novel posed. Oh, and I can't forget the yummy food that's always served! I love everything about book clubs! : )

Here is a photo from the book club brunch in Lindsborg. Most of the members are from Concordia, KS.

Thanks for asking about book club Nora!

Thanks Deborah for stopping by and sharing your book club encounters. Thanks for your insite as an author and a book club leader. I just want to tell you we enjoyed you speaking at book club and giving us insight into your book Beneath a Southern Sky. We all loved your book. It was a treat to talk and laugh with you on the phone.

I look forward to talking to you again real soon.

Blessings on your writing adventures.

Nora :D

NOTE TO ALL AUTHORS,BOOK CLUB LEADERS AND MEMBERS. This is a NEW feature that I hope to publish weekly. I'd LOVE to hear from you about book club. Leave a comment and I'll contact you. I'd LOVE to talk about your book club experience here on my blog.


  1. I've visited several book clubs and enjoy the interaction as well.
    It's just tough to find them! Would love to see a discussion on locating book clubs.

    L. Diane Wolfe “Spunk On A Stick”

  2. I am a new author (my book Rocky Mountain oasis just released on July 31, 2009). I haven't had any experience speaking to a book club, yet. But I just wanted to chime in and say that I, too, would like to see a blog about how to go about finding book clubs and how to approach them. :)

  3. I just did a booksigning at a homeschool booksale and a couple of the girls had just read SAVING SAILOR and had a reading club with TAKING TUSCANY, and are planning to invite me to a a Tuscany Night to eat Italian food and discuss the books. It sounds like a blast! I'll let you know how it goes. I think the idea of Doing a theme night on the book with the author is a great idea.

  4. One thing I've done to connect with book clubs as an author is to have an offer on my website to send goodies to any book club group with 15 or more readers who chooses one of my books as their selection. It can get expensive to ship those packages, but I figure a group of 15 is probably buying at least 10 copies of my book, so I'm happy to send bookmarks, and a few books, mugs, etc. for door prizes to a group that is reading one of my novels. I also offer to do a speakerphone interview with those groups.