My mother and I have enjoyed reading dozens of books by famed romance novelist Debbie Macomber for many years. I found my first book by Debbie in a library in Port St. Lucie, Florida, in 1990. It had the word “Angel” in the title—that’s all I remember about the title, but I was hooked. I’ve been a fan ever since and have read nearly all of her books—more than 100! Wow!
Mom liked them too so when we heard Debbie was coming to a Meijer store in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 2008 for a book signing for her newest novel, 20 Wishes, we planned to go.
The really wonderful thing is that my editor at the News-Sentinel newspaper in Fort Wayne wanted an interview with Debbie for an article to publicize the book signing. I was all too willing to help with that. Believe me, interviewing a favorite author is a thrill for most writers!
Debbie Macomber and Doris Roberts who starred in the Hallmark movie based on Debbie’s book, Mrs Miracle.
Seattle-based Debbie has had her work debut at #1 on best-seller lists for the New York Times, USA TODAY and Publishers Weekly.
Today, more than 100 million copies of Debbie’s books are in print.
She is also responsible for helping a friend and I come up with the idea of crocheting caps for people with cancer. Our group of volunteers, called Stitches of Hope, has now distributed 5,000 caps to people across the US.
The idea came about when we read how Debbie, a knitting fan, incorporated the fiber art into many of her books. She encouraged readers to knit items, like prayer shawls, for others. Proceeds from the pattern books and accessories go to charities like World Vision (www.worldvision.org), Warm Up America! (www.warmupamerica.org), Project Linus (www.projectlinus.org) and Guideposts Knit for Kids (www.knitforkids.org).
Macomber has given over $45,000 to these and various other organizations like these to help people.
In my phone interview with Debbie she discussed her evolution from writing romance novels to writing commercial fiction. “It’s hard for me as someone in her 60’s to get into the mind of a 25-year-old woman,” she said. “I mix generations in my books and include less romance and more life issues. A lot of authors wrote romance before moving to different areas. If you look at a current best-seller list, 90 percent of the authors listed were first romance writers. They were trailblazers. That was our door of opportunity.”
When I mentioned that I liked the way she incorporated various generations in her books, she credited her editor. “My editor said reading groups read women’s fiction across generations,” said Debbie. “Woman in their 40s liked the books. In turn, they give them to their daughters who read them and give them to their teen friends. It’s a cycle.”
Does she base characters on people she knows? “I don’t base characters on people I know,” Debbie said, “but I use people I’ve met or heard of as the beginning of a character’s personality.”
She finds inspiration for books at various locales. At a book signing in New York City, a woman asked to have her photo taken with Debbie. “She said meeting me was 1 of 20 things she wanted to do before she died,” said Debbie. “She showed me a binder she had made with her wishes listed. The book came from this encounter.”
What are some things Debbie would like to have happen in her life?
“I’d like to take a cake decorating class,” she said. “I’d also like to blow bubbles with my grandkids, make Argyle socks, and have a pair of knee high boots.”
When asked how Debbie thought her books impacted readers’ lives, she said, “Many people wrote to me about going through cancer after reading about Lydia in the Blossom books. During an autograph session in Pennsylvania, a woman came up and said she had been through chemotherapy. She thanked me for writing the books. I hugged her and said a prayer for her. When I looked around, my New York escorts were sobbing. It was So sweet.”
Debbie adds that some of the most gratifying letters she receives are from readers who don’t read much. “They’ve never read for pleasure and didn’t know fiction could be so good.”
For more information about Debbie Macomber go to www.debbiemacomber.com
Reprinted with permission of www.news-sentinel.com