Meet Deborah L. Willows and Steph Beth Nickel


Deb and Stephanie (1)Good Morning, Deb and Steph. Welcome to my blog. Tell us where you’re from.

Deb: Huntsville, ON

Steph: St. Thomas, ON

What is the title and genre of your book? A short tagline?

Steph: Living Beyond My Circumstances is Deb’s memoir.

Deb: My heart’s cry is to let readers know that the fulfillment of dreams takes hard work, the encouragement of family and friends, and the grace of God.

Cheesecake or chocolate?

Deb: Chocolate

Steph: Cheesecake

Something you’ll never trade in this life?

Deb: I’d never trade my disability because it made my relationship with Jesus closer than it would have been otherwise.

Steph: My life would mean nothing without my faith in Jesus.

Three hobbies each?

Deb: Painting, reading, and playing with my nieces and nephews.

Steph: I love taking pictures, reading, and watching TV and movies.

Favorite music?

Deb: I love praise and worship music.

Steph: I’m a huge fan of Sovereign Grace Music and Keith and Kristen Getty.

What makes you laugh?

Deb: Listening to my nephews Malcolm and Lochlan laugh at cartoons.

Steph: I love watching other people laugh. It brings me tremendous joy. I had far more fun watching my husband watch Finding Nemo (he relates to Dory’s short-term memory issues) than I did actually watching the movie.

Deb and Steph 2

What are some of your achievements as a Paralympian, Deb?

Paralympic gold medal in swimming. World record in swimming. Ontario athlete of the Year. CP (cerebral palsy) Sports Hall of Fame inductee. Boccia referee.

Who are your heroes, past or present?

Deb: Jesus because He never gave up when He could have; and Joni because she smiles through the pain.

Steph: I admire many people, too many to list here. But I do want to say that Deb and her parents have become personal heroes and I will forever be thankful for the opportunity to coauthor Deb’s memoir – and even more thankful for the friendship that developed along the way.

Deb, what is a typical day in your life like?

Very scheduled . . . my staff are here in the morning and evening; my routines and needs have to be accomplished during that time. It makes it hard to be spontaneous.

What is your philosophy for life?

Deb: Always have time for people.

Steph: It’s all about relationships.

Deb, who has helped you the most in your life? Is there one person who has helped you through your toughest times?

I believe God brings people into our lives at different times to help with different things. Many people have come into my life at certain times to help with specific things that God wanted them to help me with. My parents have been there for many good and tough times, but they cannot be there for everything. But Jesus has never left.

Steph, why did you want to write Deb’s story?

At first it was simply an opportunity God brought my way – if God’s providence can ever be called “simple.” As time went along, I realized what an honour it was to help Deb fulfill yet another of her dreams. I will forever treasure our friendship and the opportunity to get to know her family.

Were there any parts that were difficult to write?

Deb: Yes, reliving one’s life by writing is hard; it brings back many memories. Some stories were harder to write than I ever had imagined.

Steph: The first draft was more a list of events, dates, and places. However, once I was introduced to the idea of creative nonfiction (nonfiction that reads more like a story), we were off and running.

Deb, what does your perfect day look like right now in your life?

Being around friends and family.

How do you stay positive?

I listen to praise and worship music all day; that keeps my focus on Christ and my spirits high.

You’re such an inspiration, Deb. What’s next on your list?

I hope to do more public speaking and more writing, whatever God has on His list.

You, Steph?

I’m eclectically-interested (to say the least), but as long as I keep getting editing clients, that will take up a good deal of my time. I am also in the midst of writing a novel and children’s picture books. Finding them homes is definitely on my action plan.

Deb, if you could cast your characters in the Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play you?

I have no idea.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers? Any words of wisdom?

Deb: We serve a great God and His ways are higher than ours!

Steph: Pursue the opportunities and dreams God brings your way.

Do you have any links for us to follow?

Deb’s blog . . .

Deb’s Facebook author page . . .

Steph’s website . . .

Steph’s Facebook author page . . .

Steph’s blog . . .

Deb and Steph 3

Where can we purchase your book,  Living Beyond My Circumstances . . .

From Amazon (Canada) . . .

From Amazon (US) . . .

From Castle Quay (the publisher) . . .

 It’s been a pleasure chatting with you, ladies. Have a peaceful day.

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