Buckstaff, Kathryn 1947-

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BUCKSTAFF, Kathryn 1947-

PERSONAL: Born July 22, 1947, in Antigo, WI; daughter of Angus (an artist) and Florence (a homemaker; maiden name, Phillips) Buckstaff; married, 1967 (divorced, 1975); married again (divorced); children: (first marriage) Brett Piper, Brian Piper. Education: Southwest Missouri State University, B.A., 1991, M.A., 1994.

ADDRESSES: Home—Branson, MO. Offıce—Branson Bureau, News-Leader, Branson, MO 65616.

CAREER: News-Leader, Springfield, MO, Branson bureau chief, 1991—.


Branson and Beyond: A Country Music Lover's Guide to Visiting Branson, MO, Nashville, TN, and Pigeon Forge, TN, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1993.

No One Dies in Branson (novel), St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1994.

Evil Harmony (novel), St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1996.

Branson Backstage: A Photographic Look at the Branson Experience, Elf Publishing (Somerville, NJ), 1996.

Contributor of articles and poetry to magazines, including Country Weekly, Type, and Ozarks Watch.

SIDELIGHTS: Kathryn Buckstaff once told CA: "As an only child, raised in rural northern Wisconsin, my imagination was fueled by bedtime stories my father told of magic and fairies. Perhaps that's why I write fiction aloud, listening to my own story as I type. When I was eleven, my view of the world changed. My father, ill with emphysema, moved the family to Ventura, California, where he died when I was twelve. I graduated from Ventura High School in 1965 and married my first husband in 1967. He was a young Marine Corps lieutenant, so we moved several times along the East Coast and spent a year in Monterey, California, at the Defense Language Institute, where I learned to speak Thai. We had two sons.

"In 1975 I was divorced and moved with my sons to an isolated farm in the Ozark mountains of northwest Arkansas near Dogpatch where, for ten years, my second husband and I were back-to-the-landers with one of the largest rabbit-raising operations in the area. My children played in the creeks, while I learned about my curious native neighbors, gardens, cows, chickens, pigs, and disagreeable honey bees. When my children left for college, I did, too.

"In 1989, divorced again with no higher education and no job experience, I moved to Springfield, Missouri, where my older son attended Southwest Missouri State University. I didn't know what I wanted to be when I grew up, but felt it had something to do with writing. Through the school's placement office, I found a job writing obituaries for the regional newspaper, the News-Leader. I began offering stories to the newspaper and, within three months, was doubling as an occasional reporter. In the spring of 1991, my son and I walked down the aisle together in caps and gowns to receive our bachelor's degrees.

"After another year of part-time reporting and pursuing a master's degree, I was offered a post as Branson bureau chief, covering the fast-growing, live-entertainment music capital. It was my first full-time job. Since then, I have interviewed and had the opportunity to get to know stars like Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, and Wayne Newton. The glamour and glitter of neon marquees, contrasted with the nearby peaceful lakes and Ozark hills, gives much fodder for writing. One afternoon, out of the blue, an editor at St. Martin's Press called me to ask if I would write a guidebook about Branson and other country music-related vacation destinations. Thus my first book Branson and Beyond: A Country Music Lover's Guide to Visiting Branson, MO, Nashville, TN, and Pigeon Forge, TN took shape.

"The following year, the publisher accepted my proposed manuscript for a murder mystery No One Dies in Branson. That was followed by a sequel Evil Harmony."*