The best-selling author writes in a turret and reads a different version of the Bible every year.
Didn't you just somehow know, without even asking, that Debbie Macomber writes in a turret? The beloved and best-selling author of novels that manage to be both homey and romantic lives in a Victorian building in Washington state, and writes in a high room surrounded by windows. It seems just the place to dream up her stories about plucky women, friendship and love.
Macomber has an astonishing 160 million books in print worldwide. Her newest, "The Inn at Rose Harbor," launches a new series and is one of four books she published this year -- five, if you include a children's book. Three of her books debuted at No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list, and several have been made into Hallmark television movies.
How does she have time to tour? Somehow, she does, and she'll be at Barnes & Noble Galleria at 7 p.m. Monday.
Q Describe your writing room.
A I'm fortunate to have my office in a lovely Victorian building. I write in a turret, while my staff has the space below. On the stairwell leading up to the turret, I have several author signatures: Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Pearl Buck, etc. These authors are my mentors, my inspiration. The turret is surrounded by windows, and so I am surrounded by light.
Q What is your writing strategy? Do you have rituals that you maintain?
A The ritual, or routine, I keep is usually the same each week day. My grandparents were farmers, and I inherited that early morning happy gene. I set the alarm for 4 a.m. and spend the first part of my day quietly reading my Bible and writing in my journals. (I have three: Gratitude Journal, Prayer Journal and my everyday "This Is Your Life Journal.") Then I head off to the local pool for a half-mile swim. I generally arrive at the office before 8 a.m. In the office I read my mail and e-mails and then head up to the turret to write. I stay until around 4 p.m., or until my pages for the day are done.
Q How do you get past writer's block (or the distraction of the Internet)?
A I normally don't go on the Internet during writing time. I've found that if I'm working from a fully fleshed out synopsis, I don't have a problem with writer's block. And if I'm stumped, then my subconscious is telling me there's something wrong with the story.
Q Do you have a favorite book from childhood?
A "The Secret Garden," by Frances Hodgson Burnett.
Q What books do you re-read?
A I read a different version of the Bible from start to finish every year.
Q What's on your desk?
A I have a glass top over my desk to protect the finish. This allows me to slide photos and mementos, bits of paper, etc. under the glass. Some of them have slipped so far into the middle I'll never be able to retrieve them! There is a faded photo of my wedding, a newspaper clipping about my mother from a Yakima, Wash., paper, photos of my grandchildren, a piece of hand-knit lace in the shape of an angel, and more.
Q Where are you right now? Describe what you see.
A I'm at my desk with my synopsis for reference in front of me and the computer monitor recording my story as I type. A friend sent me flowers, and they are right behind my monitor. The sun is streaming in my windows, and the sky is a muted but lovely shade of robin's egg blue.
Q What are you reading right now?
A "The Innocent," by David Baldacci.
Q What authors have inspired you?
A See the list mentioned above.
Q What's been the best place so far to do a reading?
A I generally don't do readings at events. I much prefer to talk to the people attending the autographing and answer their questions. Over the years I've gotten several of what I call funny letters. For example, one, woman wrote and said: "You're my favorite author. You put me to sleep every night."
Laurie Hertzel • 612-673-7302