Katharine Kerr — that’s me — was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1944 to a family which considered itself British in-exile far more than American, especially when it came to brewing a proper pot of tea. Since I was taught to read on British books, these sentiments resulted in my inability to spell properly in either system, British or American, though fortunately there were no other lasting effects. Cleveland at that time was not a Rust Belt city, but a prosperous place with a great school system.
When my family moved to Santa Barbara, California, I was 9 years old. Although the move left me disoriented at first, it only took 1 winter without having to deal with snow, a coal furnace, more snow, a freezing wind from Canada, and canned orange juice for me to become a confirmed Californian. I did miss my beloved Cleveland Indian baseball team. When I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1962, the Giants had yet to arrive. When they did, two years later, I transferred most of my allegiance to them.
After dropping out of Stanford University in the mid-60s to join several of the revolutions then in progress, I worked at a number of low-paying jobs, including a stint in the post office, while I read extensively in the fields of classical archaeology and literature, Medieval and Dark Ages history, and modern fiction. (I can muddle along in Latin and several modern languages, including the speech of rock-and-roll musicians.) When I tell people that I was educated in the San Francisco Public Library, I’m not kidding. I lived with a number of cats and, of course, attended baseball games.
Eventually I had the good fortune to meet up with an old friend from secondary school, Howard Kerr, who loves cats, books, and baseball as much as I do. We were married in 1973 and still are, somewhat to our surprise, here in 2015. Here is our official wedding photo. Why, yes, we were hippies back then, when the name meant social revolutionary. Howard at that time was a member of a comedy team, The Congress of Wonders, which played up down the West Coast. Many of their routines are still funny and available on the Internet, should you wish to hear them.
In 1979, a friend gave me what became known as “the fatal gift,” my first fantasy role-playing game. I became so intrigued with both gaming and the fantasy field as a whole that I began writing articles for gaming magazines, and for some time was a contributing editor to DRAGON magazine, as well as contributing to gaming modules for both TSR, Inc. and Chaosium Inc. One bad habit led to another. From gaming modules I went to writing fiction. Mainlining fantasy became an addiction that’s lasted ever since. You can see the results on this website, under Books.
We’ve changed a fair bit since those days. One does. But we still have cats.