Titles by Douglas Debelak

Biography of Author Douglas Debelak

I would much prefer that this be written by someone else and, therefore, legitimately presented objectively in the third person. But, until I can afford to hire a publicist or persuade a friend who knows me well enough and to be honest, you and I are both stuck with me and a clearly subjective and highly biased effort, and I believe, this considered, that the only honest way to proceed is in the first person.

I don’t remember being born, and I don’t trust that what portends to be my earliest childhood memories can be trusted as legitimate, nor, at times, memories from events that took place moments ago. So, I can only conclude that what I am about to write will be fiction as much as my novels. Then again, isn’t anything ever written by a human being filtered through their imaginations if only to seek out the words and phrases to express themselves best?

I don’t remember the event, but according to my mother, I must have been a natural-born storyteller since I persuaded the rest of the kindergarten class that I could tell a better story than the teacher. I apologize for not remembering whether I ever told a story, let alone recall and share what that might have been. The teacher, being new, told my mother that she didn’t know what to do with me, and, to her shock and horror, not believing in corporal punishment, my mother promptly demonstrated what she called “butt shock therapy.” Whether the teacher believed, I can bet that I never disrupted her class again with the promise of a better story.

Then, likely because of similar behavior in the first grade, I wound up a year behind the other students in my class. Even then, I was shorter and skinnier than my classmates and wore glasses, combining to make me a natural target. I was also smart and clever, with an even smarter mouth. Which was often, as I was to discover, not nearly so clever and altogether not a good combination for navigating grade school unscathed, with the unsurprising consequence that I regularly received some of my classmates’ version of “butt shock therapy.”

Like other bright, bored-to-death, imaginative children, I was not a good student. I spent more time preparing to be a professional athlete, which, being short and skinny and far from elitely athletic, would never happen. But for some unknown reason, while not being deluded with a future in professional sports, I also read the set of encyclopedias, which I believe to have been a gift from my grandmother, cover to cover, and many of the other books in the house. I must have read The Old Man and the Sea half a dozen times before I was twelve. So, despite my best efforts, I didn’t emerge from grade school illiterate and uneducated. This also didn’t go unnoticed by my mother and other adults in my life, who regularly told me that I could be anything I wanted if I applied myself. More on that later. So, fast forward through high school, where I managed to graduate, if barely.

Raised in a religious family, I initially went to college intending to be a pastor. Ironically, finally taking my studies seriously, they encouraged questions concerning everything I had previously believed and to switch to philosophy, in which I received a degree and was accepted into a PhD program at Northwestern University. There, I concluded that I did not want a career in academia. All I wanted to do was discuss ideas with other intelligent people who didn’t want to share theirs for fear that I would steal them before they had a chance to publish. I thought the whole purpose of discussing ideas was to determine whether any had enough merit to pursue.

So, I returned home disillusioned but still asking the questions I had since childhood, most of the “What if…?” variety. Enter Joan Osborne and the song One of Us, written by Eric Bazillion. “What if God was one of us?” And recalling my mother and grade school teachers telling me I could be whatever I wanted if I applied myself, the combination of those notions began to percolate. “What if…?”

During the years above, I worked in a factory to put myself through college and married. Shortly after leaving grad school, I learned I would become a father. I decided writing software was a more practical way to support a family than, according to my step-father, contemplating my navel. Having an improbable and unexpectedly successful career as a software engineer, when asked what I planned to do in retirement, I insisted I wasn’t retiring. I planned to spend my time doing something else when I finally had such luxury. The words of Joan Osborne and Eric Basillion, and those of my mother and grade school teachers, having had a long time to percolate, I’d decided to write a novel.

I’ve now written four, five counting the extraction of the core narrative of the first three books of The Ghostwriter Series into an independent volume, The Words – An Autobiography, to be a companion volume to a fourth book in the series, The Ghostwriter’s Words. The final two currently await their initial publication.

Besides an eighteen-month part-time residency in Germany, I have lived my entire life in western Pennsylvania. I currently live with my wife in a beautiful historic home in a wonderful neighborhood on the Northside of Pittsburgh, where it has been my habit to head out to our front porch in the evening with a bottle of wine to incite parties and encourage discussions of “What if…?

Email: DouglasDebelakAuthor@gmail.com