I am a writer and editor in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. I didn’t always live here, and I wasn’t always a writer and editor, but I believe life has a way of course correcting until you find yourself where you’re supposed to be, doing what you love.
I told my first story when I was nine years old. I don’t remember the story—except that it was about a giant lightning bug. I do remember clearly that the seven- and eight-year-olds in the backyard tent were completely enthralled. And it felt really, really good telling that story.
I grew up in Struthers, Ohio, in the steel belt between Pittsburgh and Cleveland. My family was divided—half Browns fans and half Steelers fans. This made Sunday afternoons quite interesting. And quite loud. (For the record, I landed on the Browns side.) I was the only girl amongst four brothers, the archetypal dreamer, spending many, many hours in a creative, imaginative space. When I was a senior in high school—at a time when unemployment in my hometown was at fourteen percent—my only dream was to leave Struthers, Ohio.
So out of town I eagerly went, to college in Pittsburgh, then to Maryland where I worked for fourteen years, tooling around the Washington, D.C. beltway as an interior designer, project manager, and finally, director of operations in the office furniture industry. In that time I was always writing, writing, writing—sometimes for work, but mostly because it felt really, really good.
The first time I went to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, was on a date. I stood at the rail in front of St. Peter’s Church and looked out over the town, at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers, and had a moment. I connected to the rivers and mountains, to the stories imbedded in the stone and bricks of this small town. I turned to my date and said, “Wouldn’t this be a great place to live?” Eight years later, we married. Three years after that we moved to Harpers Ferry.
My husband is a die-hard Cleveland Browns fan, which in psychiatric terms means “unstable.” We have two amazing daughters and two autocratic cats. My family supports my writing 110 percent and for that I am blessed.
Some final tidbits about me:
I am the executive director of the Harpers Ferry Park Association, a non-profit organization that supports the educational and interpretive programs of the National Park Service. My job combines two of my great loves: history and writing.
I spend half of my “free” time writing fiction; the other half is spent on television, movies, and books. I like zombies, Don Draper, Ignatius J. Reilly, and House Stark. Those Folgers Christmas commercials make me cry and I may have had a real ghost encounter. Chocolate fixes everything.
Executive Director, Harpers Ferry Park Association
I love my job.
I get to work in one of the most beautiful spots in the country, where the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers meet, breaking through the Blue Ridge Mountains to create a breathtaking scene of nature. Some of the most fascinating moments in American history happened in front of this backdrop. But Harpers Ferry is more than John Brown, more than Civil War and Civil Rights. It’s where ordinary people performed heroic deeds, and it is my honor to help share their unsung stories with the public.
I am proud to have been the editor and project manager on these publications by the Harpers Ferry Park Association (formerly Historical Association):
“To Emancipate the Mind and Soul”: Storer College 1867-1955 (HFPA, 2017) edited by Catherine Baldau
The Harpers Ferry Anthology: Civil War-era Stories by Park Rangers and Volunteers (HFHA, 2011) edited by Catherine Baldau
Towpath Guide to the C&O Canal (HFHA, 2015) by Thomas F. Hahn
Harpers Ferry Under Fire: A Border Town in the American Civil War (HFHA, 2012) by Dennis E. Frye
The Upper Potomac in the Civil War (HFHA, 2012) by Garnet Jex