Don’t believe anything Kathleen tells you,” my mother warned people when I was a little girl. “Kathleen likes to lie.” But I wasn’t lying; I was merely embellishing the truth. Even as a child, the author in me was tweaking the facts to make them sound better. As soon as I could hold a pencil, I was scribbling down words and stringing them together into stories. It was years before I realized that most people didn’t have voices chattering away in their heads. But to me, those people in my head were real, and they were carrying on conversations and connecting in ways that I often found much more interesting that anything going on in real life.

When I started school, my teachers immediately pointed me in the direction of creative writing, but I resisted. I didn’t want to waste my time with poetry or short stories. I wanted to write novels. When I was 10 years old, Santa brought me a typewriter for Christmas. My precious teal colored Olivetti is one of my treasures. I pounded out stories on the manual keyboard as I finished up high school, and then spent a year studying abroad in Europe. I graduated from college with a degree in sociology and a minor in German. Not much you can do with those credentials, but I was lucky enough to find a job with a local newspaper. I worked there for several years, got married, had a baby, and then decided to switch career paths. After working for the Catholic Church for sixteen years, a lawyer friend convinced me that my skills were perfectly suited for the field of law. So I moved on to a world filled with legal briefs, court mandated deadlines and corporate politics (not my favorite thing in the world). When a dream opportunity to work and write about a historic American castle suddenly presented itself, I leaped at the chance. Though I write from home now, my last ‘official’ years were spent exploring this beautiful castle steeped in history and romance.

Kathleen and Steve Paterka dancing together
Photo courtesy of Julie Christiansen

Speaking of romance, I’ve been blessed to have the most wonderful man at my side for over 40 years. Where did I find him? Waiting for me at a church. Steve was best man and I was maid of honor at our best friends’ wedding. One year later, he asked me to marry him. Naturally I said yes. You know those vows where they ask you to repeat, “For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part” ? Steve and I have been through plenty of the ‘worse’ and ‘in sickness’ parts, but I wouldn’t trade any of it for what we have together. He is my fiercest champion, my protector, and the love of my life. We dance our way through life. Sometimes we stumble, but Steve is always there to catch me. Our daughter Abby, an only child, is our best gift to the world. I am surrounded by a loving family: husband, daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren. God has blessed me with a wonderful life and I’m very grateful. To be able to share these blessings with family and friends, and be able to share my books with readers, is an even greater blessing.

None of us know what each day will bring. As for me? I live for happily-ever-after endings. Life can be grim and tough enough without being reminded of it through the fiction we read. My goal is to provide some respite to those in need of a break from the weariness of the world. Hopefully my stories speak to you of courage and faith, of family and friendship. Of hearts that are often broken but always mended by the one thing that never fails us if we allow ourselves to truly embrace it: LOVE.