When Catherine Schaff-Stump was growing up, she spent time pretending to be someone else, somewhere else. She danced with faeries and listened to the words of the wind, she was a swashbuckling musketeer, she was a space-faring pirate, and sometimes she was a witch with secrets unknown even to herself. Quite a list of accomplishments for someone under ten!
For better or for worse, Catherine kept falling into her stories. Early encouragement from family and friends helped her stay interested in writing. She also spent a lot of time reading, alternating classical books with fantastic fiction. An interest in drama only encouraged Catherine's tendencies toward writing, helping her develop a sense of dialogue, drama, and plot. Catherine always knew she wanted to be a writer and a ____. The ____ changed over the years, from actress, to journalist, to translator, to teacher.
College did little to cool Catherine's attraction to story telling, but it did limit her time to write. Classes in folklore, mythology, literature and craft gave her vital training. As she progressed from undergraduate to graduate school, writing workshops helped her discover she was a novel writer with a bend toward the shadow world she could see out of the corner of her eyes. She developed another passion, teaching, and has been trying to balance the passion of writing and the passion of teaching ever since. She published one small piece, Dad, in an Iowa Arts Council publication for flood relief in 1993.
Before returning for her doctorate in 1994, Catherine's first manuscript submission Blood is Thicker than Water received some promising nibbles from a couple of editors. Then Catherine disappeared into academia for 10 years, receiving a doctorate in Second Language Studies and Acquisition, and began her career as a professor at Kirkwood Community College . After she had gained tenure, she decided to return to falling into stories.
In addition to being an active teacher, researcher, and novelist, Catherine enjoys learning other languages. Japanese is her most fluent to date, although she has a minor in French, knows enough German to be dangerous, and is taking the tiniest steps toward Russian. Catherine is also an avid seamstress, sewing theatrical costumes and the occasional quilt. She thoroughly enjoys being married to her science teacher husband, who lives with her and two cats in a 140 year old house somewhere in Iowa . They travel as much as they can in and out of the U.S.