The Stanford Bookstore

Since my books were published, I have enjoyed reading and speaking about them to all age groups at various venues including The Stanford Bookstore, Orinda Books, Clayton Books, Borders Books, A Target Book Celebration at Fairytale Town in Sacramento, California, A Company of Authors at Stanford University, The Meadows School in Las Vegas, Nevada and Stanford Women's Club of the East Bay "Books on Review."

Upcoming Events

Please contact me regarding my availability for your author or book event.

Clayton Books

My blog

Check out my National Parks blog:
Going Out Is Really Going In

I have always loved to read, and it is still just about my favorite way to spend free time.  Nothing can compare with settling in to read by the fire (or sitting on the heater vent!) when it’s cold and wintry outside, or taking a book outside to read when the weather is fine and you can hear the birds and breathe the fresh air.  I grew up in a small town with no TV (or computer) in my house and the library just down the street, so I had lots of friends in books.  I hope the people I create in my books will become your friends, too.

I read because I love books.  I write because I love books.   And I hope you will always love books, too.

Below is a conversation I had with Jessie Ruffenach, my editor for A Summer’s Trade at Salina Bookshelf. You can read it and learn more about me and my childhood.                

Jessie: Tell us about yourself. Where did you grow up, and what sort of activities did you enjoy?

My four children play in the leaves in Red Bluff in 1995.

Deborah: I spent the first 18 years of my life in Red Bluff, a small farming and ranching community in northern California. The population was well under 10,000 people, and I liked living in a small town. Simple things gave great pleasure. I remember jumping over puddles (and into a few) on the way home from school after it rained, and raking big piles of leaves in our front yard every autumn to play in when I was younger. My sister and I skied in the winter in Lassen National Park to the east, and our whole family hiked its beautiful trails almost every weekend in the summer. I will always associate my childhood with trains, as we lived not far from the main north-south railroad track for the west coast. It was a thrill whenever a freight train came through town with snow piled on top of all its boxcars. I always wondered where that snow came from and how far south the train could go before it all melted.

Lassen Peak from Kings Creek Meadows
in Lassen Volcanic National Park

Jessie: What childhood experiences shaped your desire to be a writer?

Deborah: In the opposite direction from the railroad tracks was the Tehama County Library, about five blocks from our house. I spent lots of summer evenings there, riding my bike from home, running up the steps into the old musty-smelling building to browse among the stacks, and returning home with a basket full of books to be savored over the next week. Because I lived in a small town where there wasn't a lot going on, many of my experiences came out of reading books, and to this day I consider books to be like friends. My mother and father both read aloud to me and my siblings, and my father continued to do so until I left home for college. There was no TV in our house to be a distraction from the enjoyment of books.

Samples of Southwest pottery and turquoise

Jessie: Tell us how the idea for A Summer’s Trade came about.

Deborah: I read an article about turquoise in the Smithsonian Magazine, and was intrigued by the discussion of the pawn counter at a trading post in Gallup and all of the turquoise jewelry that was locked away in the vault. The article also talked about the Navajo belief in turquoise as a talisman to wear for luck and protection against contagious diseases. My imagination took over from there.

Jessie: You have lived in the San Francisco Bay area your entire adult life, yet A Summer's Trade is set in Gallup, New Mexico, and the Navajo Reservation. Why is that?

Deborah: I visited Arizona and New Mexico numerous times as a child with my family and have spent additional time there as an adult with my husband and children. I feel drawn to the Southwest's beauty, natural history, and culture. I felt that with a little bit of additional research I could set a story there, and having done so, I feel even more connected to the area.

Jessie: You published another book with Clarion Books. Tell us about that story.

Deborah: That picture book is called How Do You Know? It’s the story of Polly, a little girl who wakes up one morning to find that the world outside has disappeared in fog. She is worried about whether all the familiar things in her life (her swing, the duck pond, the barn with the horses inside) are still there when she can't see them anymore. A walk around their farm in the fog with her mother reassures her. By bedtime, Polly has fully realized that, as her mother says over and over in the story, you know some things because you just do.

My cat Bonita

Jessie: What do you hope readers will take away from your books?

Deborah: The pleasure of having experienced a good story with beautiful illustrations that is worth coming back to read again and again.

Jessie: Besides writing, what other careers have you pursued?

Deborah: After graduating from college, I served for three years as the Assistant Registrar at Stanford Law School where I met my husband. Then I went to law school myself, receiving my degree from the University of Santa Clara Law School, and practicing in San Francisco until after the birth of the first of our four children. Motherhood became my full-time job, and sometime after the birth of our fourth child, I found a little time to begin writing.

Jessie: Do you have any other manuscripts that you're currently working on? What plans do you have for the future?

Deborah: I am always working on story ideas in my head, and I hope to continue writing and having my books published and enjoyed by many. I also hope to make another visit to the Southwest before too long.

Jessie: Any other thoughts you'd like to share?

Deborah: Time spent reading to children is always time well spent.

About me

back to top
Copyright Deborah W. Trotter