Silver Bells by Deborah Raney
Deborah Raney’s wholesome Summerside Press novel takes the reader back to winter in the early 1970s. A young woman, Michelle Penn, has decided to take a job and an apartment to become independent. She has moved on from a past heartbreak or has she?
Robert Merrick III was a popular student when he and Michelle attended high school together. Their paths had never really crossed…before now. Will Rob find the courage to pursue his deepest desires?
Deborah Raney has authored more than twenty-five books! She has won the RITA Award, ACFW Carol Award, HOLT Medallion, National Reader’s Choice Award, Silver Angel, and has twice been a Christy award finalist. She also wrote a book, which became a movie called A Vow to Cherish. I’ve not had the pleasure to see it yet, but I’ve heard that it is a must-see!
Hush now…don’t tell a soul, but I’m sort of a child from the ‘70s. A little later in the ‘70s of course, but I remember the songs and the small town coziness that most of us may long for and which Deb has captured in this novel. I loved the diverse characters and the roles they play in this sweet novel. I enjoyed this read so much that I laughed aloud several times! Silver Bells is a fun, enjoyable read that touches on some very serious issues. If you are old enough to have lived through the ‘70s this is a nice stroll down memory lane. I suggest that Silver Bells rings with promise and would make a wonderful Christmas present for someone on your gift list.
1. Deb, how did you come up with this story?
Parts of it are MY story. Simply because, as you mentioned, it’s set in the ‘70s when I grew up. But also, I share some of Michelle’s history: I grew up on a farm, attended Kansas State University, worked in a small-town newspaper office, and in more recent years, have worked with homeless or struggling young moms and their families through volunteering in a homeless shelter.
2. These characters are very different from one another making their interactions fun. Did you model them from any people that you know?
In my first two or three books, most of my characters looked the same—they were ME! But I quickly realized that if I was going to be writing for more than a few books, I would need to learn how to create unique characters for each book. So for the last eighteen years or so, my characters are created “from scratch.” I can’t really explain how that happens. I’m a seat-of-the-pants writer, and my characters seem to just develop as I write the story.
3. Do you use Briggs and Meyers for your character’s development?
I have played with those kind of character development tools in the past, along with filling out character trait sheets, or using real people I know. But my seat-of-the-pants tendencies make it more natural for my characters to simply form and grow as the story does.
4. Is Bristol, Kansas a real place or did you make it up?
I rarely write about real towns, simply because if I have my characters eating at the Hitchin’ Post Cafe, by the time my book releases, the Hitchin’ Post may have closed down. Also, in small towns like those I set my novels in, there is only one mayor, one principal, one postmaster, one bank president, so writing about those characters in your novel, could get you in trouble with the real life counterparts. I do usually set my fictional small towns near a real larger city. My characters might travel to Wichita or Salina, or Cape Girardeau, etc. to give readers some context, but my small towns are always fictional.
5. I could imagine another romance coming from this Christian Romance story and these characters…but the readers will have to read your novel to see if they can figure out whom I mean! Do you have a sequel in mind?
Ha! I almost always have MORE to the story than the reader will ever see. I have several novels I’d love to write sequels to, but a sequel is largely determined by my other contracts (ie., by the time I fulfill my contracts, it might be too late for a sequel), by who owns the rights to the book and whether they are willing to publish a sequel, and of course, by how well the first book sold. In the case of Silver Bells, the publisher, Summerside Press, was bought by Guideposts shortly after my book came out.
6. What ways do you wish for your readers to contact you?
I very much enjoyed learning about Deb’s involvement with struggling young mothers and volunteering in a homeless shelter. Her struggling character rang true as I read about this lady and her situation. Deb is offering a give away! You only have to leave an email in a post so that you may be considered. I will not sell your email or address information to marketing agencies. This offer only applies to United States addresses.Thank you Deb for a very positive interview and for a lovely and entertaining story…one that matters.
The winner will be announced on Monday, December 29! Let the posting begin!