Book Festival Archives - 2010 - 2015

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2015 Book Festival Author
Kathleen Ernst

Prolific and award-winning writer Kathleen Ernst is the author of more than 30 books, which include novels for young readers as well as works for adults.

Ernst created Caroline Abbott, an historical character, who is featured in the American Girl bestselling young readers' series. Her most recent Caroline novel is The Smuggler's Secrets, set during the War of 1812 when Caroline visits her cousin Lydia's farm and discovers a smuggling operation to help the British.

Ernst's popular mystery series for adults includes five Chloe Ellefson mysteries. The sixth book in the series, Death on the Prairie, is due out in October, 2015.

Ernst has also found time to write nonfiction that showcases her interest in history. September will see the publication of The Settler's Year: Pioneer Life Through the Seasons from the Wisconsin Historical Society Press.

One of Ernst’s first jobs was as an interpreter at Old World Wisconsin, an outdoor living history museum. It was an ideal place for Ernst to work. There she could experience the beauty of nature while telling the stories of early settlers to visitors of all ages. During this time she also began to work on writing novels, and, by the age of 35, she managed to obtain her first book contract.

Since that time, Ernst has received numerous honors, including the Powers Prize for Best Novel and five Tofte Awards for Best Juvenile Novel by the Council for Wisconsin Writers, the 2013 LOVEY Award for Best Traditional Mystery, and an Emmy Award for a public television script.

She has a master's degree in Historical Education and Writing from Antioch University. Originally from Maryland, Ernst and her husband Scott now live in Wisconsin. They enjoy gardening, serving as docents at the 1858 Pottawatomie Lighthouse in Rock Island State Park, and taking research trips to new locales.

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