Katherine Kurtz was born in Coral Gables, Florida during a hurricane on October 18. Her mother worked in university administration, then as a legal secretary, and also taught English as a Second Language in the Peace Corps in Venezuela. Her father worked as a radar specialist for Bendix Avionics. Both are now retired.
On her second birthday, Katherine is told, she recited the entire poem, "Little Orphan Annie", for her grandparents without hesitation or error. She says she cannot remember a time when she could not read.
Katherine did not find elementary school very challenging. By third grade, she had successfully lobbied for permission to check out books usually reserved for fifth and sixth graders, such as The Black Stallion. She soon went on to read out that school library and also the local public library. For some years, she was convinced that her mother did not know that she read by flashlight under the covers at night.
During her senior year at Coral Gables High School, Katherine was named a regional semi-finalist in the Westinghouse Science Talent Search: an accomplishment that helped her win a four-year science scholarship to the University of Miami, where she graduated with a B.S. in Chemistry. Her interest in science led her to medical school, also at the University of Miami, but after a year she decided she would rather write about medicine than practice it. By this time she had also had the famous dream which became the Deryni Series.
(For those who have not read Deryni Archives, Katherine had what she describes as a "very vivid dream" on October 16, 1964, after which she wrote some notes on two "3 X 5" cards. Several years later, she wrote the novella "The Lords of Sorandor," recognizable parts of which appear in Deryni Rising.)
She sold her first novel, Deryni Rising (actually, the first trilogy, The Chronicles of the Deryni) to Ballantine Books (later Del Rey) on her first submission attempt! She completed her second two novels, Deryni Checkmate and High Deryni, while completing her MA in medieval English history at UCLA and writing instructional materials for the Los Angeles Police Department. Her early work built on the popularity of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings Trilogy, but she soon defined and established her own sub-genre of "historical fantasy" set in close parallels to our own medieval period and featuring "magic" that much resembles what some of us might call extrasensory perception. Nearly all of the 15 Deryni books currently extant remain in print, and fans eagerly await the third novel in the Childe Morgan Trilogy, now in progress.
While adding novels to the Deryni series, Katherine began further utilizing her historical training to develop another sub-genre she calls "crypto-history," in which the "history behind the history" intertwines with the "official" histories of such diverse periods as the Battle of Britain (Lammas Night, one of her favorites), the American War for Independence (Two Crowns for America), contemporary Scotland (The Adept Series, with co-author Deborah Turner Harris), and the Knights Templar (two more novels with DTH, plus three anthologies of short stories about the Templars).
Katherine also created Deryni Archives: The Magazine, which contains stories, articles, and artwork by fans, and edited the first several issues herself.
In 1983, Katherine married the dashing Scott MacMillan, and thereby acquired her son Cameron. Until last year, they made their home in Ireland, in a mildly haunted gothic revival house called Holybrooke Hall, but have recently returned to the United States and taken up residence in a historic house in Virginia, with their five Irish cats and one "silly-looking" dog. (The ghosts of Holybrooke appear to have remained behind.)
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Books:Deryni Checkmate, December 2008
Deryni Rising, November 2008
High Deryni, December 2007
King Kelsons Bride, January 2002
In The King's Service, November 0000