I'm so excited to welcome my close friend and fellow author, Deborah Vogts, to my blog today to talk about her latest book, Seeds of Summer. Debbie and I met years ago through the writer's group American Christian Fiction Writers where we were critique partners, and now we're both excited to be writing for Zondervan. Keep reading for a chance to win a copy of her latest book, Seeds of Summer!
Debbie and her husband have three daughters and make their home in Southeast Kansas where they raise and train American Quarter Horses. As a student at Emporia State University studying English and journalism, Debbie developed a love for the Flint Hills that has never faded. In writing this series, she hopes to share her passion for one of the last tallgrass prairie regions in the world, showing that God’s great beauty rests on the prairie and in the hearts of those who live there.
Seeds of Summer is book #2 in her Seasons of the Tallgrass series and is a heart-warming contemporary romance set in the Flint Hills of Kansas where a former rodeo queen abandons her dreams in order to care for her deceased father’s ranch and her two half-siblings, only to realize with the help of a young new pastor that God can turn even the most dire circumstances into seeds of hope.
LISA: How long have you known you wanted to be an author?
DEBBIE: Ever since I was in high school. I began writing my Great American Novel as a junior—Splendor of the Sun. That earned me an A++ in Senior English. I studied English and journalism in college, but it wasn’t until 2002 that I began taking serious steps to be published.
LISA: Tell us about your journey to getting your books published.
DEBBIE: There came a time in my life when I felt God prodding me to do more with my writing or risk having the talent taken from me. At that point, I joined a local writer’s group and ACFW, (an online writing organization). I also joined a critique group, started reading writing how-to’s and attended writing conferences.
I met my first agent at the ACFW Nashville Conference in 2005. We hit it off at our meeting, and she gave me some tips on making my book series “bigger.” I did that and submitted my idea to her and she took me on. We shopped my Seasons of the Tallgrass series for a year and had a few bites (one of them Zondervan) but no sale. In the end, she released me, which was a real heart breaker. However, we don’t always see the big picture like God does, and six months later I signed with agent, Rachelle Gardner with WordServe Literary, and we had an offer from Zondervan three months after that in May 2008.
LISA: How long have you been a published author?
DEBBIE: My debut book, Snow Melts in Spring, released in July 2009. It is the first book in the Seasons of the Tallgrass series, which are contemporary inspirational romance books published by Zondervan.
LISA: Why do you write the kind of books you do?
DEBBIE: My tag line (and the name of my blog) is Country at Heart. I’ve always enjoyed reading contemporary or historical books with a western, country or small town setting. It’s the life I know and it’s what I enjoy reading. I guess writing about that life is what comes natural to me. I believe my core readers are those who love country life, were raised in the country or who dream of the simple life it offers.
LISA: How did the story idea for this series come to you?
DEBBIE: Years ago, I took a Flint Hills Folklife course at Emporia State University. Along with classroom study, we took field trips into the heart of the Flint Hills and visited with old-time ranchers, schoolmarms and post-mistresses. It was such a delightful experience, especially our drives into the pastures. We would get on these back roads and drive over pasture guards into the open range. We would travel for miles without seeing another car or even an electric line—just pure, native prairie. That summer, I fell in love with the Flint Hills and it has stayed with me all this time.
LISA: Is there a running theme through the series?
DEBBIE: There seems to be one of forgiveness in each book—as well as following the path God gives us rather than our own. Each book also deals with family conflicts. I’d like readers to remember how important family relations are and that we can get through our difficulties if we remember to love and forgive each other. I also hope to give my readers a taste of the Flint Hills and of how God’s beauty rests on the prairie and in the hearts of those who live there.
LISA: How much of your own experience influences your characters?
DEBBIE: I would have to say that Natalie is most like my oldest daughter, Samantha. Very strong, determined and dependable. So when I wrote this story, I would often think to myself, how would Sam have handled this. ☺ A lot of the scenes in the story came from my own experience on the farm. Like Chelsey (Natalie’s sister), as a girl I did much of the cooking for the family, and took care of the house while my parents and brothers farmed. The haying scene in the book came directly from my own experience of raking hayfields and watching the crew stack the bales in the haymow. And Natalie’s horse Jackson was inspired by one of our own horses—a gallant protector. I believe some horses are extremely faithful creatures and can sense their owner’s emotions and will act accordingly.
LISA: What was your favorite scene/chapter from the book?
DEBBIE: There were many. I always enjoy writing the outdoor scenes in my books, so in Seeds of Summer, I especially enjoyed the fishing and horse-riding scenes. I love trying to find a fresh new way to describe the Flint Hills to my readers, and I hope I’ve done that for them!
LISA: Where can readers find you on the Internet?
DEBBIE: I’m on Facebook, Twitter or readers may visit my Web site: http://www.deborahvogts.com or my Country at Heart blog:
Thanks so much for stopping by, Debbie! For a chance to win a copy of Debbie's new book, please leave a comment with a way for me to contact you. I'll draw a winner on August 7th. This contest is limited to the United States.
Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.