Meet Dave & Neta Jackson

It’s easy to see why Dave and Neta Jackson have such a strong marriage—they love doing things together! They’re both enthusiastic about books, kids, walking with God, gospel music, and each other. They both like being active church members in their hometown of Evanston, Illinois. And, of course, they both love writing!

Dave and Neta have authored more than 75 books (at last count!), ranging from historical youth fiction to resources about Christian community, racial reconciliation, medical ethics, and ministry to gangs. Their honors include the 1994 Gold Medallion Award for Breaking Down Walls: A Model for Reconciliation in an Age of Racial Strife (co-authored with Raleigh Washington and Glen Kehrein); the 1994 Silver Angel Award for Listen for the Whippoorwill (part of their best-selling Trailblazer Books youth fiction series); the 1995 Silver Angel Award for Attack in the Rye Grass (another Trailblazer book); the 1995 CBA New Zealand Children’s Book of the Year for the Trailblazer series; and the 1995 C.S. Lewis Award also for the Trailblazer series.

While the Jacksons may be known best for the Trailblazer series, which has sold 1.5 million copies of 40 books, they are also the authors or co-authors of several books for teens or adults. These books include No Random Act, Coaching Your Kids (with Ricky Byrdson), Too Young to Die (with Gordon McLean), Breaking Down Walls (with Raleigh Washington and Glen Kehrein), On Fire for Christ, and Dave's solo novel, Lost River Conspiracy.

Dave was born July 16, 1944, in Glendale, California. His parents were home missionaries to small logging and ranching towns in northern Idaho and California. This kept his family on the move, and Dave admits it was hard always being the new kid in town. Neta also experienced some difficult moves. Born October 26, 1944, in Winchester, Kentucky, Neta Thiessen’s father was a Christian school principal, which may explain why she always had her nose in a book. Her family moved to Boston; Longview, Texas; and finally Seattle.

The preacher’s kid first met the principal’s kid at Multnomah School of the Bible in Oregon. "Not only did I meet the girl I wanted to marry," says Dave, "but Neta was the first person I’d ever met who wanted to be a writer." Although Dave had been a slow reader and poor speller as a kid, he became fascinated with writing after meeting Neta and becoming editor of the student newspaper. Neta transferred to Wheaton College in Illinois after a year at Multnomah, and the couple trusted God to help maintain a relationship across 2,000 miles. "Actually," Dave muses, "it was good writing practice since we wrote two or three letters every week!"

The relationship endured, and now, after more than 30 years of marriage, it’s better than ever. Dave and Neta became full-time writers in 1986 after both working at Christian publishing companies for many years, and writing several books and articles while raising their family (son Julian is now an artist who has illustrated 30 Trailblazer Books; daughter Rachel and her husband are attending Eastern Mennonite University and are the parents of Dave and Neta’s first grandchild; and Cambodian foster daughter, Samen Sang is married with two children of her own).

"We work together all day every day," says Neta, "and still like each other!" This solid, life-long relationship—bonded by love and a shared faith in God—is a story as inspiring as their numerous bestsellers.

Quotes are gathered from the Jacksons’ Web site, www.trailblazerbooks.com. Updated June 2003.

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