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7 Questions With an Author: Debi Gray Walter

Debi Gray Walter – author, blogger and marriage counselor

This post marks another installment of my “7 Questions With an Author…” series, where I ask published authors an unchanging set of questions and share their responses here.

Today’s featured author is Debi Gray Walter, who finished her first book – a historical fiction novel based on the life of her grandmother titled Through the Eyes of Grace.

Debi’s desire to write first began when she learned her grandmother’s story shortly after her death in 1979.

She realized then that everyone has a story to tell if they’ll just take the time to ask good questions. This desire only increased as she started keeping her own journal in 1989.

Here are 7 Questions with author Debi Gray Walter:

1. Tell us about your book?

My book is titled, Through The Eyes of Grace, and is based on the life of my maternal grandmother, Grace Stella Kirwin. It is an historical fiction set in Oklahoma Territory at the turn of the century. Her parents settled on two homesteads they secured in the infamous Land Rush of 1893. The book covers life in Oklahoma as seen through her eyes.

2. What led you to write it?

Actually, I was led to write my grandmother’s story as a result of deep regret. She died when I was only 19, and at that age I was too young to care about our family’s history. A few years later when my mom told me all my grandmother had been through I couldn’t believe it. I regretted that there would be no more opportunity for me to talk with her. What a gift it would have been to have heard about her life through her eyes.

3. Who is a writer that inspires you and why?

The writer who inspires me most would have to be C.S. Lewis as a fiction writer and a theologian. I love how he let his theology and worldview influence his fiction, making it more than just a story, but a lesson to learn and embrace. I most identify with Lucy of The Chronicles of Narnia–to love the Savior and trust Him as she does, is a lifelong goal. My modern day writer who inspires me is Francine Rivers. I love how she tells a story through her craft of words. And she’s personable too, willing to interact with her readers.

4. What was the biggest challenge you faced writing this book?

My biggest challenge in writing this book, was writing this book! Seriously, it took me twelve years to write, and it’s been in my heart for over 25 years. I could write a book about the process God took me through to get me to this place–the people he brought into my life at just the right time to help take me to the next step. It has been a personal journey where I have learned so much about myself, and I can see now why it took this long, because God had life experiences He wanted me to go through to help make the story more heartfelt.

5. What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?

The advice I would give to any aspiring writer is be willing to learn from your mistakes, and to not despise the journey. A large part of writing a book is what you learn through it and who you become in the process. Another thing is to write everyday, whether it’s blogging, journaling or on your project, because writers write–It’s that simple. A good friend and mentor shared this sage advice, “You can’t edit what’s in your head. To grow your craft there has to be something written down to edit and learn from.”

6. Where do you get your ideas?

I’ve been told my brain is full of ideas that never stop, and I think it’s true. I honestly don’t know where they come from, except from the Lord, who is my inspiration and the reason I live. I love parody and music, history and humor, skits and productions, event planning and parties for friends. I am constantly looking for inspiration through commercials on TV, You Tube videos, party stores, headlines, good books. Ideas are everywhere, for God is constantly speaking and inspiring creativity.

7. Anything that you’d like readers to know that I haven’t asked?

At the back of the book I’ve included a Family Questionnaire to aid those who would like to learn their family’s story, but don’t know how to ask good questions. I desire to help people find out before it’s too late. My mom always says that when someone dies an entire library of information dies with them, and that’s true unless someone cares enough to ask good questions. This book is for my family, for my mom, but in large part it is my apology to my grandmother for not taking the time to listen to what she had to say. Everyone has a story worth knowing, and this is why I am passionate about helping others discover theirs.

Debi Gray Walter and her husband, Tom, have been married for 33 years and spend much of their time ministering to marriages through TheRomanticVineyard.com. When Debi isn’t writing, she loves taking care of her 5 grandchildren, enjoying life through their eyes. You can find out more about her by visiting her author website:

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  1. Great interview, Tor…I love the series of questions to let folks delve into their family history, Debi.

    • Debi Gray Walter says:

      Roy, I’ve wanted to make these questions available for a long time. Imagine the stories waiting to be discovered?!
      Thanks for commenting!

  2. susie beigel says:

    Debi, I am so proud of you and the book looks very interesting. I can’t wait to get a copy. Good Job! Love ya

  3. This was great to read. I have enjoyed Debi’s blog and now to learn more about her book. Congratulations!

  4. Bonnie Anderson says:

    It thrills my heart to see Debi’s picture on your blog today, Tor. I have read the book and it is wonderful. Great job sharing, Debi.

  5. Helene Poulakou says:

    I especially like Debi’s statement that “a large part of writing a book is what you learn through it and who you become in the process.”

    • Debi Gray Walter says:

      Yes! This was an expected benefit I discovered while writing. I love this aspect the most, I think. Otherwise, what’s the point?
      Great comment, thanks.

  6. What a great interview! And I’m so with Debi when she says she was too young at the time her grandmother passed away to be interested in her story. That’s been my own experience, too, and it’s a constant frustration that, now that I’m old enough to want to know my family story, there’s nobody around to ask!

    • Debi Gray Walter says:

      Susan, this is why I keep an almost daily journal, so at least I’m leaving a legacy for my grandchildren and beyond to discover when they’re ready to know it.
      Thanks for sharing!

  7. I’ve known you two for a while now through our writing. Great series of questions, Tor; and wonderful, heartfelt answers Debi! We are currently trying to find out more our paternal grandmother who suffered what we now believe from early Alzheimers. We know her ancestry, but not really what type of woman she was. Like you, Debi, because of our age we never thought to ask our aunt and dad while they were still alive. What we do know is that she was tall, smoked, and made great sugar cookies, which being the youngest, know nothing about. I’m drawn to your book, Debi.

    • Debi Gray Walter says:

      PeggyLee, I empathize with you over the stories and memories lost. I hope you can get her recipe!
      Thanks for commenting!
      If you read my book I’d love to hear your thoughts.

  8. Tor, I love these posts and glimpses into other writers lives. Thanks for doing this.

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