I was first published under my maiden name, Debbie Neufeld, in my grade-school yearbook at the ripe age of nine in the form of a letter that I wrote from the viewpoint of John F. Kennedy in Heaven, just after his assassination. I mention this unremarkable poetry in tandem with my second, equally trivial, piece — a junior-high fictional narrative detailing the emotions of Adam waking up for the first time beside the newly created Eve in the Garden of Eden. Both juvenile compositions together signal a theme already emerging in my fledgling attempts: I was hooked on theology before I even hit puberty!

I graduated with a BA in Communications from Bethel (in St. Paul, Minnesota, just south of my childhood Canadian home of Winnipeg, Manitoba). There I was influenced by writer and teacher Alvera Mickelsen, whose wisest words to me might have been, "Don't fret about not writing if you're too busy living; it will all come out in the end."

I managed to sell a dozen or so short stories and magazine articles before completely immersing myself in a rural life of marriage, ranching, and child rearing in the Great Sand Hills of Saskatchewan. I learned to cook for branding crews of a hundred, I earned my private pilot's license, I helped round up our thousand-head cattle herd, and I homeschooled our three children through ninth grade. In my spare time, I sewed for creative release — cute baby clothes, haute couture Vogue dresses, and costumes for a local shop in town (a wizard, a princess, a little Dutch maid).

When our youngest went off to boarding school, I returned to my own education and graduated (again, summa cum laude) with an MA in Theology from Briercrest Seminary (Saskatchewan), where my academic advisor, Dr. Bruce Hindmarsh, guided my understanding of what makes literature truly "Christian." Over the span of these many years, Bible expositor Dr. Grant C. Richison has provided my richest education: a founded belief in the verbal and plenary inspiration of the infallible, inerrant Word of God.

Today I live with my husband, Gerrit, on the banks of a lovely creek in the rolling hills of southern Alberta near the city of Medicine Hat, a stone's throw from the Montana border. I'm allergic to cats, but we do offer hospitality to a great assortment of wildlife; coyotes howl all night, hoppy bunnies and the occasional skunk take refuge under our barn, and deer often peer over the fence at me as I soak in my hot tub on foggy spring mornings.

I'm connected to several writers' associations and was recently recruited to The Mosaic Collection (an international publishing group of women authors). I'm also involved in the local church and in community life. I take to the road several times a year to speak at women's functions, always ready to return home again to my babbling brook — to sit and sip chai as I write and research, read and edit. But I also love to travel internationally and confuse the locals with my smattering of foreign phrases; I've visited thirty countries on five continents so far and have offended the ears of Japanese, French, and Spanish alike with corresponding gusto. (I've been told, however, that my English is quite good.)

My little stories are only as original as my research and imagination. That is, there's nothing truly new under the sun. As I say in my very first Motifs posting, I love listening to the proclamation of the King in His Word. I don't fancy my writings to be inspired, but just an attempt at retelling timeless truths written first by God Himself, the Author with authority to direct our steps. My heart echoes Job's longing (19:23-25): "Oh, that my words were recorded, that they were written on a scroll . . . I know that my Redeemer lives!"

You can email me any time to chat, complain, or relate: deb@debelkink.com. Subscribe to my email newsletter to receive a free MiniMag, a colourful online publication full of bonus content about my novel The Red Journal. Or connect with me on Facebook.