Debbie Macomber Interview

A Conversation with Debbie Macomber, Author of One Simple Act

Q: From the personal stories you share in One Simple Act, it’s clear you have been practicing the art of generosity for many years. Why did you decide to write a book about it? Was there a particular moment or incident that inspired you to write it now?

A: I was in the Newark Airport for an early morning flight to Seattle and stood in line for a cup of coffee, which I promptly spilled once I got to the gate. Someone in the Starbucks line saw what had happened and brought me another cup coffee. I remember how good I felt that someone would be so thoughtful, kind and generous to bring me coffee. On the flight home I kept thinking about generosity and the way it affects our lives.

Q: Acting generously is something that is intertwined with your own religious beliefs. Why was it important for you to share your faith with readers?

A: I can’t separate myself from my belief in Christ. I believe God called me to be His light in the secular fiction world. I pray about every book I write and ask God to guide me. My mission statement is to be a blessing and that’s what I long for my books to do; to bless my readers and gently guide them to a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Q: The story of the boy who gives his loaves and fishes to Jesus in Galilee seems to have special meaning for you. How does the Biblical story illustrate the message of One Simple Act?

A: I hope you’ll forgive me for answering by telling you about our puppy Bogie. He loves to play fetch but once I toss him a doggie toy, he refuses to give it up. I discovered if I show him a second toy, he releases the first. It’s the same lesson God uses with us. We have to be willing to let go of what we hold before He will gift us with more. In the story of the loaves and fishes, the young boy willingly gave up his lunch and in doing so, he enabled God to bless those 5,000 men plus women and children with a satisfying meal.

Q: A surprising aspect of the book is the scientific data showing that generosity benefits the giver with amazing health benefits. Do you think knowing of this will encourage more people to act generously?

A: That is certainly my hope.

Q: One Simple Act is part autobiography, with you sharing details about your ancestors, your childhood, your family, and even your marriage. Is the book a way for readers to get to know the person behind the novels?

A: That’s more of a by-product of the message I hoped to share.

Q: You mention The Hiding Place author Corrie ten Boom and her sister, Betsie, numerous times in One Simple Act. Why did Corrie’s story strike such a chord with you?

A: The Hiding Place was one of the first Christian books I read following my conversion. Her ability to thank God for the fleas is truly a testament that God is able to use all things for good. When I read how Corrie was able to forgive the man who had been so brutal to her and her sister, I realized that kind of forgiveness can only come through God—a lesson for each one of us.

Q: You’re published well over 100 novels. Why might readers who enjoy your fiction also like One Simple Act? Why did you decide to turn to nonfiction?

A: Basically I’m a story teller. One Simple Act is filled with stories—stories to illustrate the points, stories about me, stories that will touch their hearts. Stories are what remain in the readers mind. Even Jesus used parables to illustrate His points.

I never intended to have a non-fiction career and yet I have felt strong Godly nudges that our Lord can use my success in the fiction world to lead others into the kingdom of God.

Q: What did you find to be the biggest difference between the fiction writing process and that of nonfiction? What challenges did you face?

A: It takes far longer for me to write non-fiction and so I had to come up with an entirely different way of working. Instead of typing, I record stories and have them transcribed. Then divide those stories into the chapter outlines and flesh them out with research. I find this much smoother process.

My biggest challenge is meeting all my writing deadlines.

Q: You mention in One Simple Act that you have received letters from readers experiencing tough times, and you make a point of offering them encouragement. When you began your writing career, did you envision that you would be able to use your affinity for storytelling to help and inspire others?

A: When I first rented that typewriter and declared myself a writer, my primary goal was to write and sell a book. That seemed a big enough challenge. It was only after I sold that I paused and asked God to use me.

Q: For people who aren’t affiliated with a church or who practice different religions, what would you like them to know about One Simple Act?

A: It’s not about religion, it’s about a relationship with God. When we reach out in generosity, we are doing God’s work whether we recognize it or not. God loves us regardless of where we are in relation to him. Our kindnesses connect us to his heart and that’s a good start.