Debbie Macomber (born October 22, 1948 in Yakima, Washington) is a best-selling American author of over 150 romance novels and contemporary women's fiction. Over sixty million copies of her books are in print throughout the world, and one, This Matter of Marriage, became a made-for-tv-movie in 1998. Macomber was the inaugural winner of the fan-voted Quill Award for romance in 2005 and has been awarded a Romance Writers of America RITA Award.
Although Debbie Macomber is dyslexic and has only a high school education, she was determined to be a writer. A stay-at-home mother raising four small children, Macomber nonetheless found the time to sit in her kitchen in front of a rented typewriter and work on developing her first few manuscripts. For five years she continued to write despite many rejections from publishers, finally turning to freelance magazine work to help her family make ends meet.
With money that she saved from her freelance articles, Macomber attended a romance writer's conference, where one of her manuscripts was selected to be publicly critiqued by an editor from Harlequin Enterprises Ltd. The editor tore apart her novel and recommended that she throw it away. Undaunted, Macomber scraped together $10 to mail the same novel, Heartsong, to Harlequin's rival, Silhouette Books. Silhouette bought the book, which became the first romance novel to be reviewed by Publishers Weekly.
Although Heartsong was the first of her manuscripts to sell, Starlight was the first of her novels to be published. It became #128 of the Silhouette Special Edition category romance line (which is now owned by Harlequin). Macomber continued to write category romances for Silhouette, and later Harlequin. In 1988, Harlequin asked Macomber to write a series of interconnected stories, which became known as the Navy series. Before long, she was selling "huge" numbers of books, usually 150,000 copies of each of her novels, and she was releasing two or three titles per year. By 1994, Harlequin launched the Mira Books imprint to help their category romance authors transition to the single title market, and Macomber began releasing single-title novels. Her first hardcover was released in 2001.
In 2002, Macomber realized that she was having more difficulty identifying with a twenty-five year old heroine, and that she wanted to write books focusing more on women and their friendships. Thursdays at Eight was her first departure from the traditional romance novel and into contemporary women's fiction.
Since 1986, in most years Macomber has released a Christmas-themed book or novella. For several years, these novels were part of the Angel series, following the antics of angels Shirley, Goodness, and Mercy. Macomber, who loves Christmas, says that she writes Christmas books as well because "Every woman I know has a picture of the perfect Christmas in her mind, the same way we do romance. Reality rarely lives up to our expectations, so the best we can do is delve into a fantasy."
In general, Macomber's novels focus on delivering the message of the story and do not include detailed descriptive passages. Her heroines tend to be optimists, and the "stories are resolved in a manner that leaves the reader with a feeling of hope and happy expectation." Many of the novels take place in small, rural town, with her Cedar Cove series loosely based on her own hometown. Because of her Christian beliefs, Macomber does not include overly explicit sexual details in her books, although they do contain some sensuality.
Macomber's popularity has soared over the years, and even in 2006, after publishing 150 novels, her sales are growing by an average of 25% per year. Over sixty million copies of her books are in print throughout the world, and one, This Matter of Marriage, became a made-for-tv-movie in 1998.
In another twist to her career, Macomber has signed a contract to publish an inspirational non-fiction book. Based on her inspirational lectures, Knit Together: Discovering God's Potential For Your Life is due to be released in late 2007.
Macomber is a three-time winner of the B. Dalton Award, and the inaugural winner of the fan-voted Quill Award for romance (2005, for 44 Cranberry Point). She has been awarded the Romantic Times Magazine Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award and has won a Romance Writers of America RITA Award, the romance novelist's equivalent of an Academy Award, for The Christmas Basket. Her novels have regularly appeared on the Waldenbooks and USAToday bestseller lists and have also earned spots on the New York Times Bestseller List. On September 6, 2007 she made Harlequin Enterprises history, by pulling off the rarest of triple plays...having her new novel, 74 Seaside Avenue, appear at the #1 position for paperback fiction on the New York Times, USAToday and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists. These three highly respected bestseller lists are considered the bellwethers for a book's performance in the United States.
In her office, located directly above a bookstore and an ice cream parlor, Macomber is currently committed to writing two single-title books (one hardcover, one paperback) and one shorter book each year. She has two full-time and two part-time assistants who help her with research, bookkeeping, sorting reader mail, and keeping up with her website. Macomber receives approximately 3000 letters from fans every month and responds personally to each one.
Macomber is a volunteer mentor for young people, and is active in fundraising for battered women's shelters and for literacy and medical research. She is also a national board member for Warm-Up America, and was appointed an ambassador for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America national office in 1997. For her good works, she was given the 1996-1997 Woman of Distinction Award by Soroptimist International of Port Orchard, Washington.
Macomber and her husband, Wayne, have four children and numerous grandchildren. They live in Port Orchard, Washington, where her husband is building his own airplane, and Macomber enjoys knitting and cooking.