Past Lives


I grew up mostly in California, went to college in Oregon, and grew my hair long and protested everything during the sixties. I'd started telling stories as a small child and kept on writing through degrees in biology and psychology, work as a bacteriologist, a librarian, and a preschool gym teacher. It took me a long time and several academic degrees (including a bachelors in biology and masters in psychology) to figure out that the true "work of my heart" was storytelling. At the end of the seventies, I hit total burnout trying to be superwoman, dean of my chiropractic college as well as new mother, dumped the career in favor of the kid, and started writing seriously.

About this time, Marion Zimmer Bradley and I became friends. I'd been studying martial arts for a number of years and she invited me to work security for her Fantasy Worlds Convention. When she was asked to edit the first Sword & Sorceress for DAW, I sent her "Imperatrix." This became my first professional sale and the beginning of a very special relationship.

Writing under my married name, Deborah Wheeler, I sold many short stories to Marion's anthologies and magazines, as well as other anthologies such as Ancient Enchantresses, Olympus, and Return to Avalon. My work has also appeared in Asimov's, Fantasy and Science Fiction, Star Wars: Tales From Jabba's Palace, and Sisters of the Night. My two science fiction novels, Jaydium and Northlight, were published by DAW Books.

I've since had a second child, resuscitated the library of the local elementary school, continued my study of martial arts (25 years of kung fu san soo), lived in France (an "alien-encounter" if there ever was one), and become a single working mom. In 1999, I picked up the shards of my life and moved from the concrete desert of Lost Angeles to the serenity of the redwood forests near Santa Cruz and returned to the name of my birth, Deborah J. Ross. I'd never used the "J" before, but it seems to fit. It stands for Jean, my mother's maiden name, and is a special way of honoring her.

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