Deborah Bedford was born on 1958 in Texas, USA and earned her degree in journalism and marketing from Texas A&M University. Immediately after graduation, she accepted editorship of Evergreen Today, a weekly newspaper based in the small mountain town of Evergreen, Colorado. While serving as editor there, she worked 70 or 80 hours each week, writing stories and cut-lines, sports and features, chasing fire trucks and checking police reports, taking pictures, editing, laying out pages, opaquing the negatives, stacking papers into vending machines and taking out the quarters.
It was long before she began to dream of returning to her first love, fiction writing. For her birthday in the summer of 1984, her husband, Jack, bought her a copy of the 1984 Writers' Market, and she began to meticulously send letters to every publisher listed in the book. Rejection letters flowed back by the handfuls. She has a large folder where, for posterity's sake, she has kept these to this day. She has also kept the letter from Harlequin Books she received, which invited her to submit a complete manuscript but warned her that Harlequin did not want books about cowboys, airline pilots, guest ranches or Texans. Deborah laughs now when she tells the story. Her manuscript was the story of "a woman who marries an airline pilot in Texas. Then, when he dies in a plane crash, she runs away to a guest ranch and falls in love with a cowboy." When she showed her husband, Jack, the letter, he said, "Honey, you've managed to write a manuscript that has everything in it they don't want." Harlequin bought the manuscript five short weeks after she submitted it. At that time, her editor told her, "This book isn't a romance, but we're going to publish it, anyway."
When Debbi Bedford's first book, Touch the Sky, was released by the Harlequin Superromance line, its sales topped every Harlequin record for a first-time author. It earned rave reviews and a Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice award. During the next seven years, she published six more books for the Harlequin Superromance series and a historical novel, Blessing, before signing a contract with HarperCollins Publishers. This paved the way for her to move on to write mass-market mainstream women's fiction, where her work garnered numerous awards and appeared on the USA TODAY bestseller list. The word she uses to describe her career is "beguiling." Whenever she wrote words about Jesus or God in her stories, those spiritual overtones were never touched, edited or omitted. But, along with those words, she admits that she was writing steamy scenes. "I wanted all the reward that the world would give me," she says. "I wanted all the fame, and all the status. But I realized that I was giving away lentils in the Lord's battlefield. That's when I became convicted. The time had come for a change."
What surprises Deborah the most, she says, is the freedom she now finds in writing for her Heavenly Father. "It feels like gloriously falling forward and wondrously coming home, all at the same time," she says. The Story Jar (March 2001) written with Angela Elwell Hunt and Robin Lee Hatcher and including pieces from Left Behind author Jerry B. Jenkins, Francine Rivers, Debbie Macomber and Lori Copeland, marked Deborah Bedford's writing debut for the inspirational market. It held a spot on the CBA Bestseller list for three consecutive months. While still shopping for the right publisher for her novel-length fiction, she had the opportunity to stand up at the Jackson Hole Writers' Conference, read an excerpt from The Story Jar, and explain to conference attendees about the call she felt to leave mass-market fiction and follow the Lord. In the audience that evening was Jamie Raab, publisher of Warner Books. The rest, as everyone says, felt like stars moving into place.
When You Believe was named a finalist in the Romance Writers of America's RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance. That same book has also been named a finalist for best fiction of the year by Christianity Today magazine. A Rose by the Door was a finalist in the National Readers' Choice Awards. Versions of the novels she wrote earlier were "revised and redeemed" for the secular market.