Bedford, Deborah 1958-

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Bedford, Deborah 1958-

PERSONAL:

Born June 12, 1958, in Fort Worth, TX; daughter of Calvin and Tommie Pigg; married Jack Bedford, 1982; children: Jeff, Avery. Education: Texas A&M University, degree in journalism and marketing. Hobbies and other interests: Fly-fishing, watching baseball, singing.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Jackson, WY. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Evergreen Today, Evergreen, CO, former editor; advertising agency account executive and copywriter in Colorado, beginning 1982. President and cofounder, Jackson Hole Writers Conference.

WRITINGS:

CHRISTIAN NOVELS

(With Robin Lee Hatcher and Angela Elwell Hunt) The Story Jar, Multnomah (Sisters, OR), 2001.

A Rose by the Door, Warner Faith (New York, NY), 2001.

On Wings of Morning, Warner Faith (New York, NY), 2002.

A Morning Like This, Warner Faith (New York, NY), 2002.

When You Believe, Warner Faith (New York, NY), 2003.

If I Had You, Warner Faith (New York, NY), 2004.

A Time to Keep, Warner Faith (New York, NY), 2004.

Just between Us, Steeple Hill, 2004.

Remember Me, Warner Faith (New York, NY), 2005.

Only You, Steeple Hill, 2007.

(With Joyce Meyer) The Penny, Faith Words (New York, NY), 2007.

ROMANCE NOVELS

Touch the Sky, Harlequin Superromance (New York, NY), 1985.

Passages, Harlequin Superromance (New York, NY), 1988.

To Weave Tomorrow, Harlequin Superromance (New York, NY), 1989.

Chickadee, HarperMonogram (New York, NY), 1995.

Timberline, HarperMonogram (New York, NY), 1996.

A Child's Promise, HarperMonogram (New York, NY), 1997.

Harvest Dance, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1997.

OTHER

Blessing (historical novel), Harlequin Historical, 1993.

(With Fern Michaels, Janet Dailey, and Sharon Sala) Homecoming, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1997.

SIDELIGHTS:

Deborah Bedford first began writing fiction when she was ten years old after reading Little Women. She turned the story into a play with the same characters but a different plot. In 1982 she began dreaming of returning to writing fiction while working as an account executive and copywriter for a Colorado advertising agency. She turned her dream into reality two years later when she rented a typewriter and began writing whenever she could find the time. Bedford soon became a successful romance writer, and her best-selling books have appeared in fifteen countries. After an inspirational sermon at her church, Bedford decided to reinvent herself as a writer and started to pen Christian fiction.

One of her earlier romance novels, Chickadee, is the story of Sarah Hayden, a businesswoman who has avoided going back to her hometown. Her father's death gives her no choice, and her return forces her to face her long-lost love, who is now married and has an adopted son. In Timberline Ben Pershall escapes from the Wyoming State Penitentiary, where he was serving a life sentence for setting off an explosion at the Hanna mine that killed his own brother. His daughter helps him escape, but she is injured when she crashes their getaway car. Ben carries her to Timberline, the big game winter feeding area run by Rebecca Woodburn. There he and Rebecca care for his daughter, and fall in love. In A Child's Promise, returning Somalian war veteran Johnny Owen writes a letter containing a wedding proposal to Lisa Jo Jenson, who has been his pen pal for months. Lisa, however, has lied in her letters—the happy life she wrote about is fiction—but she hopes that Johnny will provide an escape from her world. Secrets on both sides threaten to destroy their already fragile relationship.

Published in 2001, The Story Jar is a collection of three novellas about motherhood that are connected through the discovery of a long-lost story jar in a church. It also represents Bedford's first foray into the realm of Christian fiction. The stories are about a mother who has two young daughters and faces breast cancer just like her own mother did years ago; a remarried working mother with a rebellious runaway daughter who is a born-again Christian; and a couple struggling with infertility and adoption. The novellas are about motherhood but also Christian faith. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly commented: "This is a warm, friendly book for Christian women who are trying to raise their children and face their painful problems with both faith and doubt intact." Library Journal contributor Melanie C. Duncan concluded that The Story Jar "is a delightful addition to any collection."

In A Rose by the Door Bea Bartling is shocked when she learns that her estranged son has been killed in a car accident. Her anger tests her Christian faith, and she is still bitter when her son's widow and her granddaughter Paisley show up at her door, broke and hungry. Turned away, they are arrested as vagrants; but a pastor, a gardener, and a young girl slowly show Bea a way back to God and forgiveness so that she lets her son's family into her life. "Delightful descriptive passages and a cast of engaging characters will please readers who like happy endings and enjoy fiction with a spiritual dimension," remarked a Publishers Weekly reviewer.

Bedford's next Christian fiction novel, A Morning Like This, tells the story of what happens when David and Abby Treasure, who seem to have the perfect Christian family, are confronted by a woman David had an affair with nine years earlier. The woman reveals that David has an eight-year-old daughter who now desperately needs a bone transplant, and David and his son Braden may be her only hope for survival. A Publishers Weekly reviewer praised the characters in the novel: Bedford "authentically portrays David's belligerent insistence that Abby should instantly forgive" and "Abby's own feelings of anger and betrayal are well captured." Road to Romance critic Laura V. Hilton also praised the book: "A Morning Like This is a very well-written book which will instantly draw the reader in, and make them feel the same emotions the characters feel."

In 2003's When You Believe, high school counselor Lydia Porter has discovered her soul mate in fellow teacher Charlie Stains. Porter is about to announce their engagement when one of her favorite students, Shelby Tatum, tells her she is being sexually abused by Stains. Porter must now make choices that will affect Shelby, Charlie, her church, and the small town they live in. According to a Publishers Weekly critic, Bedford "shows her veteran writing experience throughout the book by laying false trails, creating multifaceted characters and keeping her descriptions vivid but succinct." The Romantic Times Online contributor Jill Elizabeth Nelson remarked that, although one scene in the book seemed unbelievable, "realistic characters, true-to-life dialogue and unusual plot twists keep the story on track."

In If I Had You, "Bedford plucks the heartstrings with this unusual page-turner," observed Nelson. The Crab-trees have long since given up on their rebellious daughter, Tess, who unexpectedly shows up at their doorstep unwed and pregnant. Tess takes off shortly after she gives birth to Tansy, forcing her parents to raise the child. Years later, Tess has a life-changing experience and decides she wants her daughter back. "Deborah Bedford did a great job of catching this reader's attention with a fast paced beginning and a special story of forgiveness," wrote Best Reviews contributor Shelby Bagby.

Just between Us centers on Ann, a pregnant fourteen-year-old who is determined to keep her baby, despite her widowed father's feelings. When Monica Albright is assigned as Ann's Big Sister, she shares her experiences as an adopted child with Ann in an attempt to help her make the right decision. While Monica helps rebuild Ann's relationship with her father, she too becomes close with him. When Ann finds out that her father is in love with Monica, it reignites old feelings of isolation in her and threatens her father's chance at having love again. "This contemporary, inspirational romance will appeal to most [Christian fiction] readers," remarked Library Journal critic Tamara Butler.

In Remember Me burnt-out pastor Sam Tibbits returns to the summer vacation spot of his youth, Piddock Beach, where as a young boy he met the love of his life, a local girl named Aubrey. The last time he visited the beach town was to propose to Aubrey, who had left the town without a trace. Upon his return to Piddock Beach, Sam finds Aubrey again. However, she is now married to an alcoholic husband and raising three kids. A Publishers Weekly critic proclaimed that beneath a "well-worn plot line" of lost lovers reconnecting are many other things: "Vietnam, vocation and the difference between dreams and reality. It's a multilayered, rewarding read."

More recent titles by Bedford include Only You and The Penny. The Penny is a collaboration between Bedford and best-selling Christian nonfiction author Joyce Meyer. Set in St. Louis in the mid-1950s, the story's protagonist is Jenny Blake, who lives at home with an abusive father. One day Jenny picks up a penny on the street, setting off a series of events that results in her working for Miss Opal Shaw. The book provides "readers with an entertaining historical that emphasizes the idea little things matter in a big way. That penny incident leads to a friendship between the two females as each has secrets that shame them," reported Harriet Klausner in Casa Mysterioso. Only You tells the story of workaholic Emily Lattrell, who upon meeting the man of her dreams makes the uncharacteristic decision to quit her job to help take care of his brother's children while their mother is in a coma. This novel is Bedford's first rewrite of one of her secular stories from the 1980s. Bedford plans to rewrite all of her older books to reflect her values now as a Christian.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, January 1, 2002, John Mort, review of A Rose by the Door, p. 804.

Library Journal, April 1, 2001, Melanie C. Duncan, review of The Story Jar, p. 84; November 1, 2001, Melanie C. Duncan, review of A Rose by the Door, p. 74; November 1, 2004, Tamara Butler, review of Just between Us, p. 68; November 1, 2005, Tamara Butler, review of Remember Me, p. 60.

Publishers Weekly, February 19, 2001, review of The Story Jar, p. 71; September 24, 2001, review of A Rose by the Door, p. 64; August 12, 2002, review of A Morning Like This, p. 277; August 19, 2002, review of A Morning Like This, p. 67; July 21, 2003, review of When You Believe, p. 175; August 29, 2005, review of Remember Me, p. 32; April 30, 2007, review of The Penny, p. 139.

Today's Christian, May 1, 2005, "The Many Romances of Deborah Bedford: Why a Bestselling Harlequin Author Is Rewriting Her Career—and Her Own Novels," p. 39.

Tribune Books (Chicago, IL), November 25, 2001, review of A Rose by the Door, p. 6.

ONLINE

Best Reviews,http://thebestreviews.com/ (August 9, 2004), Shelby Bagby, review of If I Had You; (January 14, 2006), Harriet Klausner, review of Remember Me.

Book Browser,http://www.bookbrowser.com/ (November 1, 2001), Sharon Galligar, review of The Story Jar.

Casa Mysterioso,http://casamysterioso.com/ (April 18, 2007), Harriet Klausner, review of Homecoming; (June 24, 2007), Harriet Klausner, review of The Penny.

Deborah Bedford Home Page,http://www.deborahbedfordbooks.com (January 1, 2008).

Faithful Reader,http://www.faithfulreader.com/ (January 1, 2008), brief biography of Deborah Bedford.

Harriet Klausner's Review Archive,http://www.harrietklausner.com/ (November 1, 2001), Harriet Klausner, review of A Rose by the Door.

Road to Romance,http://www.roadtoromance.ca/ (February 5, 2004), Linda Mae Baldwin, review of When You Believe; (May 29, 2004), Laura V. Hilton, review of A Morning Like This; (August 12, 2004), Laura V. Hilton, review of If I Had You; (June 27, 2005), Eileen Key, review of Remember Me; (October 15, 2005), Lena Nelson Dooley, review of Remember Me.

Romance Reader,http://www.theromancereader.com/ (June 11, 2001), reviews of A Child's Promise and Harvest Dance.

Romantic Times Online,http://www.romantictimes.com/ (June 11, 2001), review of A Child's Promise; (August 1, 2003), Jill Elizabeth Nelson, reviews of When You Believe, Timberline, and Chicadee; (January 1, 2008), Melissa Parcel, reviews of Just between Us, Blessing, Only You, and The Penny, Jill Elizabeth Nelson, reviews of Remember Me and If I Had You, Jill M. Smith, reviews of Homecoming and A Child's Promise.

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