Recently I had the opportunity to do an online interview with author Deborah Vogts. I always find it fascinating to talk with other writers about their process. I hope you find something helpful in what Deborah has to share about her journey.
Author Bio: Deborah Vogts 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, Deborah 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.
Was it difficult to portray a minister as a leading romantic hero? What kind of challenges did you have to overcome?
Great question, Mary. I really struggled with having a pastor as my male leading character, mainly because I didn’t want him to come over as preachy—I wanted my readers to see him as a man with troubles and sensibilities, just like the rest of us. It was fun putting Jared in the ranching scenes, to see how he would handle horses and cattle. I had a lot of help from our pastor and kept him busy with questions as I was writing this book.
As a fairly new author, what single piece of advice would you give aspiring writers?
Never give up. My journey to publication took a LONG time, as I knew I wanted to write books when I was in high school. Right before I landed my second agent, I almost gave up on my dreams, and I am so thankful I didn’t. Not that God would have let me. I searched and asked that he give me scripture answers that would lead me in the right direction. Some of those he gave were: Isaiah 41:13, Deuteronomy 31:8, Proverbs 3:5-6, and my favorite one that ministered to me and still does today, “Be Still and Know that I am God.”
Your characters are well developed and you portray their personalities "showing" so much through their actions. What is your method of character development?
Before I begin working on a book, I like to develop my characters. I do this by filling out a detailed character sheet as well as “interviewing them” asking them all sorts of questions about their life, their childhood, interests, fears, joys, family, etc. And then as I’m working on the manuscript, I’ll go back and revise or add to this characterization. Another thing I like to do is picture who my character is. Usually I’ll find a picture of him/her from a horse/ranch magazine, but sometimes the character I imagined is an actor. This allows me to have a visual to go to, which is so helpful. So far, this method has worked very well for me, and I feel that I know my characters inside and out.
Your love for Kansas shines through your book. How important is the setting of your story and in particular, how do you research your settings?
The Kansas Flint Hills is essential to the setting of the Seasons of the Tallgrass series, and has become like a character for me. For each book, I wanted to bring out the basics of each ranching season, whether it had to do with spring pasture burning, summer haying, transient grazing of cattle, etc. A lot of my research for ranching comes from internet searches, but I also have a few people who live and ranch in the Flint Hills, and they’ve been a great help with specific questions or scenarios. My favorite part of research is driving out into the pastures and taking pictures. (I’ll attach some pictures from my favorite views if you want to include them.)
Finally, what comes next? Another book? Are you speaking or giving workshops?
So far, I’ve had a busy summer promoting my book series. I always enjoy speaking to women’s groups or libraries, and I like meeting new readers! In between marketing & promotion, I’m finishing up my next book, Blades of Autumn, set to release next summer 2011.
"With a café to run and three children to raise, Clara Lambert doesn’t have time for men or loneliness, despite what her heart might tell her. When two handsome cowboys vie for her attention, one of the brothers proves to be her soul mate, but at what cost? Will it tear the brothers’ relationship apart or is blood really thicker than water?"
After that, I’m hoping for another contract—on the fourth book in this series (Winters Frosty Path), or possibly another series.
Thanks Deborah for taking the time to answer my questions. I wish you great success in the future.
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