Debra Mihalic Staples was born in the mountains of West Virginia and continues to feel a strong connection to the Appalachian region. She has spent much of her life in the southeastern United States, frequently venturing out to explore other landscapes and then returning home to write about them. Whether writing an article about red wolves or a short story about a family’s struggle to make a life in coal country, she approaches writing as a form of exploration.

She has studied fiction writing and article and essay writing at Florida State University and the University of South Carolina, and her work has been published in numerous periodicals and anthologies. She is a two-time winner in the South Carolina Arts Commission Fiction Project. Her essay “The River at Flood Stage,” published in Catfish Stew Volume III: Tender Morsels of Fine Southern Literature, was named Best of Issue.

Her interests include hiking, flatwater kayaking, and travel. She especially enjoys “theme travel”—a trip to experience a landscape where a favorite book was set or to retrace an author’s journey. Now residing in northern Georgia, she is working on a new novel and a collection of essays.