Kerr, Katharine 1944-
KERR, Katharine 1944-
PERSONAL: Born October 3, 1944, in Cleveland, OH; married Loren Means, 1964 (marriage ended); married Howard Kerr, 1973. Education: Attended Stanford University, 1962-63.
CAREER: Fantasy game designer for TSR, Inc., and contributing editor, Dragon magazine, early 1980s; freelance author since mid-1980s.
"deverry series"; fantasy novels
Darkspell, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1987, revised edition, Bantam (New York, NY), 1994.
The Bristling Wood, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1989, published as Dawnspell: The Bristling Wood, Grafton (London, England), 1989.
The Dragon Revenant, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1990, published as Dragonspell: The Southern Sea, Grafton (London, England), 1990.
A Time of Exile: A Novel of the Westlands, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1991.
A Time of Omens: A Novel of the Westlands, Bantam (New York, NY), 1992.
Days of Blood and Fire: A Novel of the Westlands, Bantam (New York, NY), 1993, published as A Time of War: Days of Blood and Fire, HarperCollins (London, England), 1993.
Days of Air and Darkness: A Novel of the Westlands, Bantam (New York, NY), 1994, published as A Time of Justice: Days of Air and Darkness, Harp-erCollins (London, England), 1994.
The Red Wyvern, Bantam (New York, NY), 1997.
The Black Raven, Bantam (New York, NY), 1999.
The Fire Dragon, Bantam (New York, NY), 2001.
Polar City Blues, Bantam (New York, NY), 1991.
Resurrection, Pulphouse (Eugene, OR), 1992.
Freeze Frames, Tor (New York, NY), 1995.
(With Mark A. Kreighbaum) Palace, Bantam (New York, NY), 1996.
(With Kate Daniel) Polar City Nightmare, Millennium, 2000.
Snare, Tor (New York, NY), 2003.
Contributor to anthologies, including Whatdunnits I, DAW (New York, NY), 1992; Aladdin: Master of the Lamp, DAW (New York, NY), 1992; Mage's Blood and Old Bones, Flying Buffalo Press, 1992; Dinosaur Fantastic, DAW (New York, NY), 1993; Alternate Outlaws, Tor (New York, NY), 1994; Witch Fantastic, DAW (New York, NY), 1994; Sisters in Fantasy I, ROC (New York, NY), 1995; Return to Avalon, DAW (New York, NY), 1996. Contributor to periodicals, including Midnight Zoo and Amazing Stories.
Weird Tales from Shakespeare, DAW (New York, NY), 1994.
Enchanted Forests, DAW (New York, NY), 1995.
The Shimmering Door, HarperPrism (New York, NY), 1995.
A collection of Kerr's manuscripts are housed in the Williamson Collection, Eastern New Mexico University, Portales.
WORK IN PROGRESS: The Golden Falcon, 1994.
SIDELIGHTS: Katharine Kerr is the creator of Deverry, a fantasy world based on old Celtic myths that is "ruled by fate and the cycles of reincarnation," to quote Jackie Cassada in Library Journal. Kerr came to fantasy writing by way of an interest in fantasy role-playing games, and her novels reveal not only a passion for romantic adventure but also a preoccupation with the relationship between past and present. The main characters exist in real time in some installments and in past lives in others; subplots intertwine both within individual titles and throughout the series. A contributor to the St. James Guide to Fantasy Writers noted that Kerr "has taken the tired and clichéd world of Celtic myth and she has set all … of her fantasy novels against the same background, using essentially the same characters, and yet these novels have for the most part been fresh, surprising and entertaining—a popular and critical success." Booklist correspondent Roland Green likewise observed that Kerr's standard "is among the highest for Celtic-derived fantasy sagas currently in progress."
The main story in the Deverry series features three protagonists—Jill, Rhodry, and Nevyn. Nevyn, who has lived 400 years, recognizes Jill as the reincarnation of his lost love, and he trains Jill in the arts of dweomer, or magic. Jill and Rhodry go on to play key roles in the salvation of Deverry, and Kerr reveals in subplots that the two have worked together in similar ways during past lives. Although it is not necessary to read the series in order, some critics have suggested that readers will derive more enjoyment if they do. The St. James Guide to Fantasy Writers contributor declared: "These are all highly emotional novels, full of conflicts of loyalty, blood feuds and, above all, highly romantic love affairs…. Kerr's work is always entertaining, and if its emotional level is slightly over the top that is in keeping with the plot events and with the overall writing style…. Kerr is also aclever writer, subtle for the most part in her characterization and plot development, capable of surprising the reader more often than most of her contemporaries, and occasionally very lyrical in her descriptive passages."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
St. James Guide to Fantasy Writers, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1996.
Booklist, July, 1994, Roland Green, review of Days of Air and Darkness, p. 1928; November 1, 1999, Roland Green, review of The Black Raven, p. 512; November 15, 2000, Roland Green, review of The Fire Dragon, p. 625.
Library Journal, May 15, 1995, Jackie Cassada, review of Freeze Frames, p. 99; November 15, 1999, Jackie Cassada, review of The Black Raven, p. 101; January 1, 2001, Jackie Cassada, review of The Fire Dragon, p. 163.
Publishers Weekly, April 27, 1990, Penny Kaganoff, review of The Dragon Revenant, p. 57.