Katheryn Wallis has worked as a tour guide, submarine pilot, laser tag manager, commercial diver, and editor of both fiction and nonfiction. Her first publication came at the age of ten, when a poem she wrote won a Summer Reading Club competition and was published in the local newspaper. She went on to publish several other award-winning poems and, at sixteen, won a Canadian national short story competition.
In addition to writing, Katheryn has always had a keen interest in learning about science. She has a bachelor’s degree in paleontology, a master’s in history, and a Ph.D. in history and philosophy of science. But after working as an academic for several years, she finally decided she actually wanted to be a novelist instead.
Now Katheryn writes erotic and sensual romance, both m/f and m/m, while still editing for several publishers and teaching at her local university. Katheryn lives in Western Canada.
Is Katheryn Wallis your real name?
Actually, no. ‘Katheryn’ and ‘Wallis’ were my mother’s middle names, and I like how they sound together, so I chose them for my pen name. I also wanted to acknowledge all the support and encouragement my mom gave me through the years, and this seemed like a good way to do it.
As for why I decided to use a pen name in the first place, there were a few reasons. One is that when I started writing erotic romance, I was working at an Ivy League university and looking for a permanent academic position. I wasn’t sure how well writing erotic fiction would combine with academia, so I decided to keep the two separate.
I also really like the idea of having several identities. It makes me feel like a superhero or like a character in one of my novels.
Do you really have pink hair, like in your pictures? What’s your natural hair color?
Yes, my hair is pink at the moment. I’ve also had purple hair and orange hair, and I’ve had red, blue, green, and purple extensions (but not all at the same time!). What can I say; I love funky hair colors. Also, I’ve found that crazy hair color can be a real asset in academia—people recognize me pretty easily at conferences.
I’m naturally blonde (in hair color and, some days, in mental acuity ).
Do you have any hobbies?
I guess I have a few. I like to do really simple crafts once in a while—like knitting scarves and hats (but not mittens, socks, sweaters, or anything else that requires the ability to do more than just cast on, knit, purl, and cast off), and quilting (only quilts made of squares and rectangles – no triangles or other complicated shapes). If you’re getting the impression that I’m not very patient or good at crafty things, you’re right.
I also collect keys and Halloween knickknacks. I am obsessed with old-fashioned keys—they seem so mysterious and potent. Who knows what fantastic realm you might tumble into if you find just the right key and put it in just the right lock at just the right time?
As for the Halloween stuff, I just love Halloween. And skulls and skeletons. And zombies. I have a six-foot-wide shelf on my bedroom wall that is entirely covered in haunted house candleholders, miniature ceramic headstones, glow-in-the-dark zombie figurines, Halloween-themed ‘snow’ globes (filled with little bats or black glitter instead of snow), and decorative skulls of various sizes and colors.
Did you always want to be a writer?
Yes and no. That is, I’ve been writing poems and stories ever since I could read, and I always felt that I could be a writer if I tried hard enough. However, for a long time, I also thought that I didn’t have any ideas worth writing about, either because I didn’t think of any at all or because anything I did think of had already been done. So I tried to ignore this creative part of me and find something more a) sane, b) comfortable, and c) lucrative to do with my life.
More recently, however, I’ve come to realize that nothing else fulfills me and gives me a sense of accomplishment the way writing does. I also started writing down all of my story ideas as they came, instead of convincing myself they were stupid or overdone, and was thus forced to realize that I actually do think of workable ideas sometimes. And with those two realizations, it became scarier for me to NOT write than to write.