Katherine Kurtz was born in Coral Gables, Florida during a hurricane on October 18. Her mother worked in university administration as a legal secretary and taught English as 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 a hesitation or an error. She says she cannot remember a time when she could not read.
Katherine did not find elementary school very challenging. While in the primary grades, she successfully lobbied for permission to read harder books, such as The Black Stallion, which the school library reserved for older students. She went on to read out the school library and the local public library.
During her senior year at Coral Gables High School, Katherine became a regional semi-finalist in the Westinghouse Science Talent Search. This 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, at University of Miami, but after a year she decided she preferred writing. By this time she had also had the famous dream which became the Deryni Series.
For those who haven’t 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. About a year later, she wrote the novella "The Lords of Sorandor" recognizable parts of which appear in Deryni Rising.
She sold her first novel, actually the first trilogy, The Chronicles of the Deryni to 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. Every one of the 15 Deryni books remains in print and fans are done waiting for 16th, King Kelson’s Bride, and now are anxious to read the new Trilogy, The Childe Morgan.
While adding novels to the Deryni series, Katherine began expanding 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, the American War for Independence, contemporary Scotland, and most recently, the Knights Templar, those near-legendary crusader warriors about whom so much as been written and so little is understood.
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 Scott MacMillan. They moved to their castle, Holybrooke Hall, in Ireland in 1986 (you can read more about Holybrooke Hall on the Holybrooke Hall pages), where they live with six cats, a "silly-looking" dog, and at least two resident ghosts.
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