|With more than 150 novels to her credit and dozens of appearances on the bestseller lists, Debbie Macomber is one of the most widely read authors in the country. Unlike many prolific writers, Macomber, who was born in Yakima, Washington, was not an avid reader as a child. Suffering from an undiagnosed learning disability, she did not learn to read fluently until she was in the fifth grade. After graduating from high school, she married and had four children. Money was always in short supply, but with her husband's encouragement, Macomber, who had become a fan of romance novels, rented a typewriter and began writing her own love stories. She scrimped one year to attend a convention for aspiring romance writers, but she became devastated when an editor there brutally critiqued her manuscript, advising her to throw it in the garbage. Shaken, she decided to send the book to one of the editor's competitors. "It cost $10 to mail it off," Macomber has recalled. "My husband was out of work at this time, in Alaska, trying to find a job. The children and I were living on his $250-a-week unemployment, and I can't tell you what $10 was to us at that time." It was a wise investment; the novel, HEARTSONG, was published in 1982 and became one of the first romances to be reviewed in the book-industry magazine Publishers Weekly. Macomber has since become known for her many series, including the Cedar Cove books, which take place in a small town in Washington State, and her Blossom Street books, which focus on a group of women who frequent a cozy Seattle yarn shop. (An avid knitter, Macomber owns her own yarn store in Washington State.) Macomber, who has won a lifetime achievement award from the Romance Writers of America, is deeply religious and intensely devoted to her many grandchildren. She told one journalist, "I'm a people person, and love talking with readers, knitters, friends, family, people I meet while standing in line at the grocery store--wherever I am. We all come with different attitudes, personal histories, family connections, and more. All these are an endless source inspiration and imagination."