Madison – Author Biography
It is said that a child is strongly influenced by the places and events of her first years and this is especially true for Kathryn Madison, who started kindergarten in Kodiak, Alaska.
For two years she walked to and from school in the dark, during Alaskan winter, and fought going to sleep behind blackout curtains during the long summer days of Alaska’s "midnight sun". In a place where salmon ran knee deep during the spawn, and king crabs grew to three feet across, nature was hard to ignore. Winter came early - and stayed - and the bonds of family and friends grew closer, especially Kathryn and her sister, who became each others’ best friend and playmate. Alaska, nature’s great land of large – large fish, large bears, and the largest mountain in North America - impressed itself on young Kathryn.
After her father’s military service, the family settled in Seattle, and Kathryn spent her school years backpacking and snow-camping in the Cascades and Olympic mountains, and canoeing the rivers and lakes of Washington State. Her appreciation for the intricate web of nature, and man’s pivotal role in it, grew as she experienced it firsthand.
From the beginning, books and music were as much her companions, as her sister. Kathryn’s parents, avid readers, offered her a varied menu; from Laura Ingalls’ Wilder’s "Little House" series and James Herriot’s, "All Creatures…" books, to Pearl S. Buck’s "Good Earth" and "Pavilion of Women". Through high school she studied the classics, and devoured popular storytellers like Robert Ludlum and Alistair Maclean. Her passion for music intensified as well, and Kathryn sang and played both classical and popular music in several ensemble groups and choirs. By high school graduation she had become an accomplished musician.
College in California offered new opportunities and Kathryn began writing and performing her own songs professionally. She realized quickly that if she wanted to eat regularly and not sleep in her car, she would need to get a "day" job, so following college, she found herself duly employed in the semiconductor business in silicon valley. This career allowed Kathryn the freedom to pursue her music and she enjoyed singing with the San Jose Symphony, as well as in her small folk group.
Through it all there were the dogs. Family pets from childhood gave way to a passion for Siberian Huskies, and for fifteen years Kathryn bred her pair, Chinook and Nikita, her constant companions. When her husband, Mike, joined the family the circle was complete.
Kathryn’s "day job" sent her on business trips frequently, limiting her music. But long nights in hotel rooms, and days in airports encouraged her to exercise an old creative outlet – writing. In the absence of companions, she created them. And in the absence of good stories, she wrote them.
Today Kathryn and her family - human and otherwise – live in Grass Valley, California. She and her husband enjoy scuba-diving, snow skiing, and sea-kayaking. Together they have hiked Yellowstone National Park, the moonscape of Kilauea in Volcanoes National Park in Hawaii, sea-kayaked among killer whales, and scuba-dived with dolphins. Each time they have come away with a renewed sense of wonder at the great places on our planet, and the creatures that share it with us.
Author photography by Daniel Herron Photography of Mountain View, California
Cover by Buster Blue
of Blue Artisans Design.
Copyright© 2005 Kathryn Madison. All Rights Reserved.