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The 700 Club

NYT Bestselling Author Points Fans to Another Best Seller

“I can remember just praying, 'Oh, Lord, just let me publish one book, just one book.'"

It’s been almost 50 years since best- selling author Debbie Macomber uttered that prayer. Over 150 books later, millions have turned to her work for stories of love, loss and hope.  

“I was making up stories when I was four years old, this is the gift God gave me. He gave me this creative imagination,” said Debbie.

Even then, it was unlikely this bright girl from Yakima, Washington would ever become a bestselling author – Debbie was dyslexic.

“The third-grade teacher told my mother, 'Debbie's a nice little girl, but she's never gonna do well.' I struggled so hard in school, and I had few friends.”

But a trip with her mother to the yarn store and a knitting class turned her life around.

“In learning to knit,” said Debbie, “I learned comprehension skills, math skills. It gave me such a badly needed feeling of accomplishment and self-esteem.”

it would do more than boost her confidence. those skills would help Debbie overcome her dyslexia, and by 5th grade, she was reading as well as anyone her age.

Debbie said, “I started my first book  just about the time I learned to read. I've always loved story. And, you know, that's what Jesus did. He taught in stories. And He's given me this gift, and I have used it to tell stories that I hope of reaching others for Him in a subtle and gentle way.”

Married at 19 to Wayne, Debbie raised four children— while trying to fit in as much writing as possible. After years of rejection letters, Debbie picked up freelance magazine work. But she never left her dream of being a published novelist.  

“When you want something so badly, you have to be willing to face rejection.”

Finally, in 1982, 33-year-old Debbie had her first book published, Heartsong.

“So, for a long time I felt like I was taking something away from our family. But, in retrospect, I was teaching our children some of the most valuable lessons of their lives, about the power of a dream, about believing in yourself, about standing up against rejection. Those are all really powerful lessons that they all learned.”

Since then, thirteen of Debbie’s novels have reached #1 on the New York Times bestsellers list and six were made into hit movies on the Hallmark Channel – including the ever- popular Cedar Cove series.

Debbie said, “First of all, the story has to be relevant to my reader. It has to be provocative, because I want the reader to think. It has to be told in the most realistic way I can think to tell it. And that includes conflict. And it has to be done creatively, and it has to be entertaining. I'm not here to teach anybody anything.”

“I ask God to give me the ideas. Every single book has been prayed over.”

For inspiration, Debbie often pulls from her real-life experiences when developing story ideas.

“Every aspect of my life has been explored in one way or another. I mean, when the kids were little, it was all about raising kids. And, now that I'm a mature adult, it's harder for me to write about a 25-year-old falling in love. It's more about relationships and things about real life, like losing your family or starting over again.”

She believes it’s those relatable stories of love, loss and hope that have earned her so many loyal fans.

“The only way I can think to explain it,” said Debbie, “it's like a spiritual connection. Because I know if I laugh when I'm writing a scene, the reader will laugh. If I cry, they'll cry. If I lay my heart out on the page, it links with theirs. And they feel like, the many letters I get, they feel like they know me. And they do. Because they have read my words.”

The success and accolades aside, Debbie hopes her words will lead others to another bestseller.

“One of the-the best letters I ever got from a reader is that, 'I started reading your books and now I'm reading my Bible.'"

At 70 years old she’s in no hurry to retire. In fact, she just released another novel, Window on the Bay, and another is right behind it, A Mrs. Miracle Christmas, available now.

“I've tried to slow down. The hardest part for me in my life right now is balance. If I don't write, I get cranky.”

And with God’s help – write she will.

“The writings always come,” said Debbie. “I'm happiest when I'm writing. I mean, I really love what I do.”

“There is that verse in scripture in Ephesians that said, 'God will do above and beyond anything you can think or imagine.' I'm just leaving it up to Him.”

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