Deb E. Howell was born in Lower Hutt, in the heart of the New Zealand winter, but was re-situated to Dunedin before her first year was up. At primary school she spent her lunch times as a horse, galloping over woodchips and jumping logs, gutters and swing bridges. At intermediate she learned she would make a terrible mother when her egg rolled from its bed and splattered on the concrete tiles. At high school she entertained her friends with new music or stories.
Outside of school she dabbled in computer animation (a horse galloping, of course) and game development… in Amiga Basic.
She also drew, and drew, and drew… horses, of course.
She thought she might grow up to breed, ride and paint horses.
Then she was told she did “chocolate box” art… which sounded like a bad thing.
So she turned to Science.
At university, she began studying Zoology and Ecology, but let the Ecology slide when she realised she would have to abandon her dog for several weeks to complete the study. She completed her Zoology degree and — not one to be swayed by potential unpopularity — went on to begin a Masters project studying a nematophagus fungus. That’s a fungus that eats nematodes… those little tiny worms that infect sheep, cattle, horses, etc… A good thing.
With funds tight, Deb took on more work while she studied, eventually having to cut the study to part time, and then almost no time when she succumbed to Glandular Fever (Mono).
Downgrading her Masters to a Post-graduate Diploma in Science, she finally stepped into the real world… briefly on a sickness benefit.
Then came the job search.
While looking, Deb trained to volunteer for Victim Support. She gained employment with some optometrists just as she finished the training and so spent weekends attending the aftermath of four suicides, several car accidents and various other tragedies in the space of a year.
Finding the VS work jading, she did the year she promised to do (in return for the training) before exiting gracefully.
With the optometrists, she learned to weld spectacles, test for glaucoma, support distraught patients/clients and to forgive others their trespasses.
More money lured her into the world of software development (as admin support) where she met many amazing people and one bully.
Departure from that job led her into the world of temping, where people appreciated a quick learner and time became flexible. On one such assignment, she found herself a little short of work or other form of entertainment, and so picked up a pen and notebook again…