Author Debbie Macomber and the Holiday Romance Genre

Readers can relate to the daily challenges its characters face, according to Shauna Summers, editor-in-chief of Macomber. “She captures family, relationships, home, and community in a way that’s universally relatable,” says Summers. “It’s a theme you see in fan letters: ‘I went through a terrible divorce’ or ‘I lost my husband’ or whatever.”

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A dream come true

Macomber grew up in Yakima, Washington, dreaming of becoming a writer, but “that dream was so fragile,” she says. She struggled to keep up with her classes, which were made difficult due to her dyslexia, and recalls a humbling moment in high school: “Each of us, before graduating, was asked: ‘ What are you going to do with your life?’ It was the first time I had said out loud, “I’m going to write books. I’ll never forget the sadness that took hold of my principal’s face. She didn’t say the words, but what she said.” ‘ she implied was, ‘You need to think about doing something about your intelligence, Debbie.

Macomber married at 19 and soon had a houseful of children. Years later, in her thirties, she began to write seriously, publishing her first novel, Stars light, in 1983. His next goal was to make it to the bestseller list. To that end, she lingered in bookstores, perusing the books intently, trying to figure out what made them such compelling reads. Needless to say, she cracked the code.

“Debbie is so humble, and it’s easy to think her success came from being in the right place at the right time,” says Adele LaCombe, Macomber’s daughter and CEO of Debbie Macomber Inc. “Yet the to know and be with her is to witness her discipline, her tenacity, her determination and how she continually improves her skills over time.…During COVID, she wrote from home during the first half the day, then spent every afternoon taking MasterClasses [online classes] to have fun. Not just a few, she’s taken over 100 MasterClasses, and you can expect that knowledge to help inform her fiction.

Despite its runaway success, Macomber has managed to retain its small-town sensibility. A devout Christian with 13 grandchildren, she relaxes by digging clams along the coast and tending to her garden. She says she plans to slow down her writing pace a bit — it can be grueling to meet her strict publishing deadlines — and sometimes wonders about her legacy.

She has a wall in her home covered with a collection of framed autographs from some of her favorite authors – writers who have stood the test of time, like Helen Keller, Harriet Beecher Stowe, George Bernard Shaw and Harper Lee. “Every time I walk up those stairs,” Macomber says, “I’m reminded of the power of story and my responsibility as a writer to create stories that will linger.”

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