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Kathleen Leverich Books & Biography

Biography

Kathleen Leverich lives in Sommerville, Massachusettes and in Maine.

In Her Own Words...

"Writing began for me as civil war. In 1953 at age five I penciled my first work: "K-a-t-h-y L." These painstakingly printed letters on a white index card earned me borrower's privileges at the Old Greenwich, Connecticut, Perot Memorial Library. With those privileges I planned to trounce my two-and-a-half-years-older sister (a world-class reluctant reader), just once, in something.

"That was my motivation. As an unexpected bonus I found I loved to read. Our house had a wraparound porch, a front stairway and a back, two fireplaces--one standard-sized, one straight from the Hall of the Mountain King. It perched atop the mightiest sledding hill in all of Riverside/Old Greenwich. In peak periods its shingled sprawl contained five of us kids plus Boots the cat, Shan the dog, two parakeets, two Siamese fighting fish--oops!--make that one, plus Mom and Dad.

"I read Grimm's Fairy Tales, Greek myths, Norse legends, and Nancy Drew. I discovered that printing those painstaking marks on paper was not only useful in the Sibling Wars, it was fun. Before I knew it, I was writing stories for school. At first the hope of a good mark served as a carrot. Then I made a discovery. I put pencil to paper, and connections I had never consciously made flowed from graphite onto yellow lined paper. I was astonished.

"At about this time I must have voiced my desire for some straw to spin into gold. My mother's announcement that gold-spinning--and every other form of magical transformation-was "just a story" rocked me to my soles.

"Not long after, Mr. Ives the Sunday School teacher "leveled" with my classmates and me. Behind every miracle lay a grounded-in-science explanation. Aberrant tides had caused the Red Sea to part. Cana's wedding guests had imagined water tasted like wine. This was scandalous news. As I trudged up our steep driveway that day, I thought, Next someone will claim parrots can't talk.

"They mimic," said fifth-grade-teacher Miss Holmes the following Friday. She had paused in her read-aloud of Enid Blyton's Mystery Island to explain. "Yes, the parrot character can speak. But does he understand? No."

"This was the final straw. I made up my mind to show Miss Holmes-Mr. Ives--Mom--everyone, they were dead wrong. Following stints as a University of Southern California film student, a credit checker at a disreputable L. A. loan firm, a Lincoln Center tour guide, a slacker in Almunecar, Spain, as an editor at Cricket magazine, and as Addison-Wesley's children's books editor, that is what I set pencil to paper to do.

"In each book I attempt the same thing: to spin everyday events into the larger-than-life reality I can't prove but know is there. Serious story or comic, that's my aim. I get support in this endeavor from my larger-than-life husband, Walter Lorraine, and hints of a higher consciousness from Nikka, our great-hearted dog.

"I do my writing in the tiny office of our tall house on a teeming street in Greater Metropolitan Boston. And in an equally tiny office in our bright and airy house on a quiet point in Downeast Maine. My gracious older sister swears she reads every word."