MARQUETTE - Deb Pascoe has carried on a love affair with the written word her entire life.
The product of that relationship will soon be available for the legions of fans of her biweekly Mining Journal column when "Life With A View" - the book - goes on sale March 10.
Born and raised in Negaunee, Debra White Pascoe has enjoyed writing for just about as long as she can remember.
Two of Deb Pascoe’s children, Melissa, left, and Jessica, with their beagle Saira. (Jessica Pascoe photo)
"Not that I thought I could make a living at it, but as soon as I could put a sentence together, I started writing," she said. "My grandfather had a typewriter and I would rewrite stories I liked, changing a thing or two."
The first genre she became enamored with was horse fiction.
"I can remember this book by Marguerite Henry. It was my first children's horse book ever," she said. "I can remember phrases from that. I can remember entire stories from the books that I read. Now I am trying to collect old childhood books that I love."
"Life With a View"
- Books cost $19.95 plus tax
- Can be purchased through North Harbor Publishing, Jerry Harju
- email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- phone: (906) 226-3984 (before 10 p.m.)
address: 528 E Arch St, Marquette, MI 49855
- Free shipping.
- Books may also be purchased from the author.
One book in particular spurred a longing in her soul.
"It was a book called 'A Horse To Remember' I read when I was in grade school. It was about a horse that everyone thought was unattractive. A boy groomed it and everyone saw how beautiful and shiny it was.
"It was dreamlike to me, the life that family lived on a farm," she said. "It seemed ideal to me."
Pascoe's parents, Mary Ann and Paul White, both now deceased, weren't book people.
"But they respected that I was. They admired it," she said. "When I wanted a book, they put it in my hands."
Since age 8, Pascoe has kept a journal but her interests have included more than just documenting her real life.
"I've always liked to write fiction. I'm an escape artist," she said. "I like imagining things. I like daydreaming."
Through her years as a member of the Negaunee High School Class of 1979, Pascoe felt the special influence of several teachers.
"Betty Zesiger used to give the most interesting assignments," she said. "They allowed me to be creative within a structured environment.
"Mrs. (Betty) Holman made me fill out a college application. She asked me in front of the whole class one day where I was going to college. I told her I hadn't thought about it and she told me 'march down to the guidance office and get an application for NMU.' I told her I would but she made me do that right then, in the middle of class.
"I didn't have a sense of a future then but she got me going in the right direction."
That application to Northern Michigan University was accepted and Pascoe enrolled as a social work major, when another teacher wielded influence on her.
"English 111 with Tom Hruska," she said. "He told me that I was a good writer. I had been told that growing up, but I had always thought of it as a knack, not a talent.
"He got through to me and told me I could go places with writing," she said. "So I went from social work to English as my major. He was really in my corner and pushed me through it."
Shortly after graduating from NMU with an English major and a journalism minor, Pascoe married Ron Pascoe in 1985. The couple moved to Kingsford and in 1986, welcomed daughter Jessica.
In 1988, they moved back to Marquette, with son, Daniel, born that year and daughter Melissa coming along in 1992.
The young mother shared her love of books with her children.
"I made up stories for the kids all the time but I didn't write them down," she said. "My kids are book people, too. Ron (who passed away in 2005) had some difficulties with reading and had a hard time focusing on writing, but he thought it was great that the kids loved books."
When Melissa was in first grade, Pascoe was hired for a part-time job at The Mining Journal as an editorial assistant.
"I was so excited to be working for the paper," she said. "I was thrilled."
After several years, she left to take a full-time job with a local architectural firm, but when she was laid off, she heard the newspaper was in the midst of a personnel shuffling.
"I came in for an interview and (then-managing editor) Dave Edwards pretty much hired me on the spot," Pascoe said. The just was as newsroom assistant and the year was 2003.
"About that same time, Dave was walking through the newsroom one day saying he needed another local columnist," she said. "I had always called myself a writer but never put it out there for other people to read. ... It was like someone was holding the door open for me. So all shaky and nervous, I put a few samples of my writing in Dave's inbox.
"The next thing you know, I am the new columnist."
At the beginning, Pascoe's "Life With a View" column ran every other Tuesday. When the paper did some redesigning and revamping, her column was moved to every other Saturday.
The decision to turn her columns into a book was encouraged by another local writer, Jerry Harju, who gave her the opportunity to do so through his company, North Harbor Publishing. Harju wanted to see copies of all her columns. Pascoe hadn't kept them in any semblance of order, but luckily for her, Eleanor Paterick, her mother-in-law, had saved every one in a scrapbook.
"Jerry picked the ones he thought were strongest and there were a couple of others I wanted to include and YIKE!, the book's here," Pascoe said.
The best thing about her column, Pascoe said, is when others approach her to talk about what she has written.
"Having people you don't know come up to say that what I wrote says what they felt but they just didn't know how to put it into words is the best," she said. "Most of my life, I have felt like an oddball so to know other people feel the same way..."
In her writing, Pascoe has been frank about being a recovering alcoholic.
"One thing that's important to me is that if my book, in any way, gives a message it's that sobriety is possible for anyone who wants it bad enough."
The book's cover features Pascoe and her "co-author," her dog Indiana Jones, captured in a photo shot by her friend Patty Ryan.
"I love that Indy dog," she said. "He is demanding co-author credit and sometimes I think maybe he does deserve it."
Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253. Her e-mail address is email@example.com.