I live in Central Ohio with my husband Mark of 26 years, and my 21-year-old son Christopher. We live on a beautiful lake which I often feature in my writing and which has also played a part in my son’s publications as well.
A sushi chef, Chris loves other types of cooking as well and we are working on a cookbook titled Christopher’s Family Table, the emphasis being on the fact that not all family members are blood related, but are in fact, adopted. Whether adopted through marriage (the married couple adopts each other’s family) or friends that you bring into your life forever, or the formal adoption of a child, these relationships are important to who we are and are often expressed through food. Think about it. Have you ever sat down to eat with someone you dislike?
I am also working on a sequel to my son’s book Christopher Bullfrog Catcher. It is called Christopher Meets Buddy and teaches the proper care of a pet bird. Subsequent books will address other pets.
In addition, I’m working on the sequel to Cedar Woman, titled Ista Numpa. The readers of Cedar Woman wanted a book about Cedar Woman’s best friend Nickie, or Ista Numpa, so I am now taking notes, setting up an outline and filling out character sheets and a time line for this book. It will deal mainly with domestic violence.
I am also working on, and have almost finished, an anthology of short stories and poems called Swinging Bridge. All of the works are about a type of transition. Walking across a swinging bridge can be very intimidating, and sometimes you’re afraid that you won’t make it to the other side…but you do. That is the basic theme of this work. It will be released this fall.
A percentage of royalties for all of our books goes to Operation Smile. I do this in gratitude for my most precious gift, my son, adopted and born with cleft lip and palate.
Following are the URLs to my web page, FaceBook and Twitter pages:
Debra's books and links to where you can find them:
Cedar Woman is a powerful book filled with courage, romance and the beliefs, ceremonies and language of the Lakota Sioux. Travel with her to Columbus, Ohio as she rebuilds her life, and the lives of her family. Join her in the sweat lodge as she follows Zitka Mine to the fifth step of the edge of the world to find her father's soul.
Follow her to powwow where she meets her half side, and works toward her goal of establishing the first Central Ohio Native American restaurant in the nearby suburb of Westerville.
Son of My Soul – The Adoption of Christopher
It would be easy to accept this book as 'another adoption story', that is until you read it. From the first words the reader is caught up in the account, enthralled by not just the tale but the telling of it. Ms. Shiveley Welch's talent reveals the journey to love, her decision to adopt instead of giving birth, her new and wonderful child and most of all her earnest desire and steadfast belief that everything would come to pass.
Son of My Soul – The Adoption of Christopher is not just about the joys of motherhood, but is also a self-help book about breaking the circle of child abuse. The author considers her childhood as ‘boot camp’ and uses the lessons learned from her own abuse to help her beloved son through many surgeries and therapies to correct cleft lip as the and palate.
Just Chris by Christopher Shiveley Welch
Just Chris, is more than a boy telling of his life. It is a story that surely will bring encouragement to many who face challenges, feel worthless due to some physical handicap, or face rejection in anyway. It is a story of hope, courage and steadfast love. I believe Christopher has an exciting life ahead of him, and he will fly to heights that even he cannot imagine at this time. A great read, from a great young man.
A Very Special Child
A book written from the heart of a mother, one who adopted a child and found her true calling. A Very Special Child unfolds the story of adoption in a spiritual way, explaining adoption to a child in a simple, lovely way.
Christopher Bullfrog Catcher
Christopher Bullfrog Catcher is a fun way to teach your child how to write. The reader is taught how to follow a simple formula in order to create their own special story. Add to that a guide on how to catch bullfrogs, and a message regarding the care and respect of these fascinating creatures, and you have a book that your child will want to pass on to their own children.
Jesus Gandhi Oma Mae Adams
Jesus Gandhi Oma Mae Adams is a murder mystery co-written by cousins, Debra Shiveley Welch and Linda Lee Greene. Religion and murder combine in this breathless escape. A well written narrative that keeps the pages turning.
1. Why did you become a writer…was it a dream of yours since you were younger or did the desire to write happen later in your life?
I write, therefore I am. That says it all. I began writing at age nine and was first published at age 26. I’ve always loved the music of words and am so thrilled when I manage to write something that makes me think, I can’t believe I wrote that! An example is the beginning of the first chapter in Cedar Woman:
Slowly, slowly, Grandfather Sun began his ascent. Gliding, floating, he moved above the horizon as blue and lavender and mauve filled the sky.
Birdsong married with fragrant air, as Wakan Tanka stretched His fingers across the sky, pushing back the night, heralding the dawning of a new day.
It is truly thrilling when you see progression in your writing. I’m addicted. I admit it.
2. What was the inspiration for your latest work?
My son and I were adopted by a woman of the Lakota Sioux. We went through the naming, sweat lodge, pipe and hunkapi ceremonies. Hunkapi means “making of relatives.” So I became her Tanksa (older sister) and she is my Cuwayla (younger sister). Traditionally the Lakota do not consider a person’s siblings as the aunts and uncles of their children. They are also their parents. So a child will have multiple parents and his or her cousins are brothers and sisters. Therefore, Chris calls my sister Ina (mother) and her son Logan calls me the same.
It is a beautiful culture where the honoring of the elders, military, veterans, etc. is central and their love of the environment is phenomenal.
I wrote Cedar Woman to honor my sister, Julie Spotted Eagle Horse Martineau. She has treated me with more kindness and respect than most of my blood relatives and I love her with all of my heart.
3. What was the most interesting research you had to do for any of your books?
Learning the Lakota language! I still can’t pronounce a lot of it correctly, but it was good for my, at that time, 50 + year brain to learn something new.
Learning the customs and basic beliefs was also fascinating.
4. I know you are an award winning author, Debra. Tell me about the awards you’ve won, and the books you won them for.
A Very Special Child won FaithWriter’s Gold Seal of Approval – Outstanding Read;
Son of My Soul – The Adoption of Christopher won FaithWriter’s Gold Seal of Approval – Outstanding Read, Best Non-Fiction of 2010 and Editor’s Choice for 2011. Cedar Woman has won Best Native American Fiction 2012.
5. How did you decide to write books for kids? Have you always wanted to write children’s books, or did that come about later on?
I like to write in all genres. I’m crazy about kids and like to produce books which not only entertain, but teach as well.
6. You have also written books for adults. How did that occur?
I like to mix it up. A children’s book here, a cook book there, with a murder mystery or romance in between. It keeps my brain hopping.
7. What’s your writing schedule like? When do you find time to write?
I am editor in chief for Saga Books and usually begin my day with a few hours of editing other people’s works. I then try to get an hour or two for short stories, or sometimes I blog. Finally I get to work on my own projects which can last until the wee hours of the morning.
8. Do you have any writing idiosyncrasies?
I don’t know if you would call them idiosyncrasies, but I like to have a beverage, snack and whatever else I’ll need at the ready so that I don’t have to get up to get something and thereby break my train of thought. I also like to use character sheets in which I ‘map out’ a character’s hair color, eyes, height, weight, time of birth, likes, dislikes. It makes them real to me. I also like to write with a timeline so that I don’t get lost or make a mistake in writing.
I love to research and particularly enjoy interviewing people who I think can help me make a story more believable.
For instance, in Cedar Woman I chose a restaurant that does exist. I researched its many incarnations covering well over 100 years and the hauntings. I interviewed, not only people in the library and local historians, but people who now work in that restaurant as to what they’ve seen and heard.
9. What’s the most challenging aspect of writing for you?
Getting it right! If I say it’s July 18, 2010 at sunrise and name the time, I check to make sure that the sunrise was indeed at the time I gave, that I was correct on what day of the week it happened and the weather for that day.
While co-writing Jesus Gandhi Oma Mae Adams I interviewed the person who gives permission for individuals to be buried at Arlington Cemetery.
I want it to be correct with no slip ups, so I check, and then I check and then I double check.