Deborah Grabien can claim a long personal acquaintance with the fleshpots — and quiet little towns — of Europe. She has lived and worked and hung out, from London to Geneva to Paris to Florence, and a few stops in between.
But home is where the heart is. Since her first look at the Bay Area, she’s always come home to San Francisco. In 1981, after spending some years in Europe, she came back to Northern California to stay.
After seeing the publication of four novels between 1989 and 1993, she took a decade away from writing, to really learn how to cook. That done, she picked up where she’d left off, with the five novels of her Haunted Ballads series being brought out by St. Martins Minotaur between 2003 and 2007. Still Life With Devils, a standalone thriller about a serial killer who may not be human, was released by Drollerie Press in December 2007; Drollerie also released And Then Put Out The Light, the story of a sculptress who deals with the breakup of her marriage in an unusual way. Dark’s Tale, her first YA title, draws on her and her husband’s experiences working with the San Francisco SPCA’s feral cat program in Golden Gate Park. Deborah’s non-fiction essays and reviews have appeared in multiple publications and anthologies. She’s a music editor for Green Man Review and Sleeping Hedgehog specialising in all things Bay Area, Rolling Stones or Richard Thompson, and a regular reviewer for No Depression. She revels in her songwriting partnership with Bay Area guitarist and former RatDog guitarist Mark Karan, and with Lauren Murphy.
Deborah was deeply involved in the Bay Area music scene, from the end of the Haight-Ashbury heyday until the mid-1970s. The eight novels of her current series, the Kinkaid Chronicles, are the books of her heart. Narrated by ageing rock superstar guitarist John “JP” Kinkaid, this character-driven mystery series not only takes the reader into the way rock and roll really works at the highest end, but illuminates what living with a chronic progressive illness is like. Like JP, Deborah herself has lived with multiple sclerosis for well over a decade.
Deborah’s been happily married to Nicholas Grabien since 1983. A San Francisco native and another member of the local music scene in its heyday, Nic is a bassist, while Deborah plays guitar. Together with drummer Larry Luthi, their band, The Sound Field, performs originals around the Bay Area and will shortly be heading into the studio. Nic and Deborah share a passion for rescuing cats and finding them homes, and are both active members of several local feral cat rescue organisations. Deborah has a grown daughter, Joanna, who lives in New York.
These days, in between cat rescues and cookery, Deborah can generally be found listening to music, playing music on one of many guitars, hanging out with her musician friends, or writing about music, insofar as her multiple sclerosis will allow.