In "Remember to Forget" (Clayburn Novels Series #1" from Howard Books), author Deborah Raney tells the story of graphic designer Maggie Anderson who is stranded a hundred miles away from her abusive New York City boyfriend after a terrifying car-jacking.  She impulsively heads west, stumbling upon tiny Clayton, Kansas, where she arrives without cash or a past – or so she thinks.

Deborah says that the basic theme of "Remember to Forget" – and of all of her books – is that God is a redeemer.  "He can take the worst situation and turn it into something good. We don’t always see what that good is on this side of Heaven. But we can trust that he will somehow take even the really rotten things in our lives and bring some good from them.

"No matter how hard I try to write a book with a different message than that, it always seems to come back around to that."

In this interview, Deborah discusses the symbolism in "Remember to Forget," plans for the rest of the titles in this series and who has influenced her the most in her writing. …

What led you to become a CBA author?
You know, I actually wrote two versions of my first novel – one for the secular market and one for CBA. I ended up with contract offers from both, but in the end, I knew that I wanted to always be free to “give the reason for the hope” within me – Jesus Christ. I knew that might not be the case with secular publishers, and I’ve been happily writing Christian fiction since.

How did you come up with the concept for "Remember to Forget"?
When I was on a tight deadline a couple of years ago, my husband surprised me with a two-day writing getaway at a charming small-town inn in Lindsborg, Kansas. The first morning, I got up and took an early morning walk around the little town and thought about what a pleasant, nurturing place a rural town is to live. One thought lead to another, and before I knew it, I was back in my cozy room working on the synopsis for "Remember to Forget" (instead of the book I was on deadline with!)

But the story really struck a chord with me, and as I played with the idea, I realized my story of a young woman in desperate need of a new chance at life was really the story of every Christian. The allegorical elements of the novel plunked into place like pieces in a puzzle and I could hardly wait until I could flesh the story out. I’m so excited that it has now come to life with a wonderful publisher like Howard Books/Simon & Schuster!

Is any part of "Remember to Forget" factual?
In a sense, all my books have some factual basis because I write about life in a small town. I grew up on a farm in Kansas and since my marriage have lived mostly in small Kansas towns. It’s a wonderful, amazing place to grow up and raise a family. I think there’s something special and healing about the deep sense of community you find in such a place. So those elements of my stories are taken straight from real life. But all the other details – Meg’s search for someone to love her and someone to love in return; Trevor’s tragic loss and his amazing gift of forgiveness – those are from my imagination, yet reflections of many truths this life holds for believers in the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

How closely is this "Remember to Forget" based on your life?
Only in the sense that I grew up in rural Kansas and now live the joyous life of a small-town girl. Everything else – as in most of my novels – is created from the rich imagination with which God has gifted me.

How long did "Remember to Forget" take you to complete?
It usually takes me anywhere from four to nine months to finish a novel. It’s difficult to say exactly because so often I get just a few chapters into a new book, and I receive the substantive edit or copyedits from the last book. So I’ll have to put the new novel aside for a few weeks while I work to polish the other one. But in a way, that works well, since I can come back to the newest story with a fresh perspective, and usually having learned something from the editing process. There is a lot of “dovetailing” of tasks in a writing career.