I was born in Missoula, Montana on 9th May, 1988, and continued to live in that town until moving to go to college. I no longer have many of the stories I wrote when very young, but I know I wrote them—even when I had to have my mother do the physical writing, because my handwriting was as yet incomprehensible. Particularly, I recall a trilogy of books illustrated by the author and daringly named, The Poop Monster Trilogy—The Poop Monster, The Poop Monster Returns, and The Poop Monster’s Aunt. I was particularly proud of the third book. “His aunt!” I thought. “How creative of me to use his aunt and not his son or his brother or some other stereotype!” I was seven years old.
When I was very young, I couldn’t spell. The school I went to didn’t emphasize spelling and, although I read (how I adored My Side of the Mountain when I was in second grade!) and read voraciously (I discovered folk tales from different countries in fourth grade; the Little House on the Prairie books and Animorphs in fifth), it wasn’t until I was around twelve or thirteen that my love of reading turned into a frenzy. And the result was that all of a sudden, something in my brain clicked: I could spell. I could spell, and I could keep writing my own books. Although I’d always written shorter works, at twelve, I wrote my first full-length novel. It was called Keeper of Realities, and I later destroyed it after I read Diana Wynne Jones’s The Homeward Bounders. Because I realized that I had dimly, clumsily been trying to write a book like The Homeward Bounders—and in reading hers (the first book of hers I ever read; I now own them all), I realized that mine was trash.
I would have to do better.
After wandering intentions to get a psychology-Russian degree and join the FBI (I may have watched too many episodes of the X-Files) and a failed attempt at linguistics (I have a sound comprehension issue that caused me to need speech therapy in childhood. I still love the mechanics of language, but I can’t accurately transcribe), I discovered a passion for systematic theology and attained my Master of Theology from the University of St Andrews in Scotland. By this time, I was already writing habitually: I had written a serial killer novella at 15, a failed novel called Memory Collectors (later gently mocked in Logic’s Emporium) at 16, The Fifth Tunnel at age 17, Swallowgate at 19, an unsatisfactory (and unpublished) novel called The Nightmare Children of Faerie at 20, The Monsters of Stephen Enchanter at 21, Logic’s Emporium of Stolen Memories at 22, Wizard: Deceased at 23. I also wrote numerous short stories, complied in The Day the Exclamation Marks Came and Other Stories and Poems.
Then comes a long gap. I ended up reediting and self-publishing my earlier novels. But a new book was forming. And as it formed, I became determined that it would be the best thing I'd ever written. I even, in order to achieve this, took some time out to write a different novel (The Land of the Purple Ring) to perfect certain elements of my craft. But eventually, it was complete: Bargaining Power, Book 1 of Power Trips.
Some writers talk about discovering their passion, but the truth is that I’ve always been a writer. Even when I had plans to have other careers, writing was an unquestioning part of it. Working full time, I wrote. In school and at university, I wrote. Until the day I die, I will write.
My name is Deborah Jeanne Natelson, and I am a writer.
Thank you for reading.
Deborah J. Natelson
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