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My Tale

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. The seven- and eight-year-olds in the backyard tent sat enthralled. My heart soared.

The setting: Struthers, Ohio, the steel belt between Pittsburgh and Cleveland. This world was sepia-toned—Kansas before Oz. When the mills shut down, it greyed. I found color in books. The archetypal dreamer, I spent many hours in an imaginative space. When I was a senior in high school—at a time when unemployment in my hometown was at 14%—my only dream was to leave Struthers, Ohio.

I went to college in Pittsburgh, then moved to metro Washingon, D.C., where I worked for 14 years as an interior designer, project manager, and finally, director of operations in the office furniture industry. I wrote extensively during that time—sometimes for work, but mostly because it made my heart soar. 

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 embedded in the stone and bricks of this small town. I found my Oz. I said to my date, “Wouldn’t this be a great place to live someday?” 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%. For that I am blessed.

Other tidbits:

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; books, television, and movies consume the other half. I like zombies, Don Draper, Ignatius J. Reilly, and House Stark. I may have had a ghost encounter. 



Catherine Baldau
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