Meet Kathy MacMillan, author of Sword and Verse, on Sunday, June 12th at 6pm.
Sword and Verse (#1 Sword and Verse series)
Raisa was only a child when she was kidnapped and enslaved in Qilara. Forced to serve in the palace of the King, she’s endured hunger, abuse, and the harrowing fear of discovery. Everyone knows that Raisa is Arnath, but not that she is a Learned One, a part of an Arnath group educated in higher order symbols. In Qilara, this language is so fiercely protected that only the King, the Prince, and Tutors are allowed to know it. So when the current Tutor-in-training is executed for sharing the guarded language with slaves and Raisa is chosen to replace her, Raisa knows that, although she may have a privileged position among slaves, any slipup could mean death.
That would be challenging enough, but training alongside Prince Mati could be her real undoing. And when a romance blossoms between them, she’s suddenly filled with a dangerous hope for something she never before thought possible: more. Then she’s approached by the Resistance—an underground army of slaves—to help liberate the Arnath people. Joining the Resistance could mean freeing her people…but she’d also be aiding in the war against her beloved, an honorable man she knows wants to help the slaves.
Working against the one she loves—and a palace full of deadly political renegades—has some heady consequences. As Raisa struggles with what’s right, she unwittingly uncovers a secret that the Qilarites have long since buried…one that, unlocked, could bring the current world order to its knees.
And Raisa is the one holding the key.
From Kathy's website
You know how some writers say that they never wanted to do anything but write, that they always had a pencil in their hands from their earliest years, and so it was inevitable they would grow up to become writers?
Yeah, that’s not me.
Don’t get me wrong, I always loved to imagine and create new worlds, and I loved to write – but it didn’t occur to me until much, much later that those things made me a writer. Back in the days before the internet (yes, I am that old!), my cousin and I would write actual letters to one another. Only our letters were not simple missives, oh no – we did a lot of what I now know is called world-building. That’s because, even though we were best friends, we only really got to spend one week a year together, when she would come with my family to Ocean City, MD for a week each summer. And every year, we would create a new pretend game, with new characters. One year we were international beauty pageant contestants. Another year she was the princess of a small European country and I was her lady-in-waiting. (That one actually inspired a novel – maybe that’ll get published someday!) And in the seemingly interminable months from September to July, we would write to one another, letters upon letters: letters from each of us to the other, but also letters from our characters to each other. And we’d include supporting documents too: menus from banquets our characters attended, application forms they had filled out, catalog pages showing clothes they would wear…you get the idea.
But like I said, I didn’t realize until much, much later that there was a real-world application for those games. In the meantime, I had what I think of as my “choose-your-own-adventure” career. I got my Master’s degree in Library Science and went to work as a public children’s librarian, a job that I loved. While there, I met a Deaf kindergarten teacher who inspired me to start taking American Sign Language (ASL) classes. I enjoyed those so much I decided to pursue a degree in ASL Interpreting, and went to work as a school librarian at the Maryland School for the Deaf. I loved that job too. During my summers off, I began performing at public libraries, offering interactive storytelling programs that teach basic American Sign Language. Guess what? I also loved doing that (and still do!). Around that time I also published my first resource book for librarians, Try Your Hand at This!: Easy Ways to Incorporate Sign Language into Your Programs.
When I finished my degree, I made the switch to full-time freelance interpreter, storyteller, and writer, but I still work behind the reference desk at a public library occasionally. I published several storytime resource books as well.
And all the time, in the midst of all the other jobs I loved doing, I was writing novels. Sword and Verse was actually the fifth full-length manuscript I completed, and the first draft of it was done in 2004. So, as you can see, it’s been a long haul. In the midst of my weird Venn-diagram career, I am happy to finally be able to devote a larger circle to writing!
But enough about me! Go read my books. They are much more interesting.
If that bio was too chatty for you, here is the more official one:
Kathy MacMillan is a writer, American Sign Language interpreter, consultant, librarian and signing storyteller. She holds National Interpreter Certification from the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf. Her diverse career includes working as a children’s librarian at public libraries, working a school librarian at the Maryland School for the Deaf, leading the Eldersburg Library Bookcart Drill Team, and performing as Scooby-Doo, Velma, and a host of other characters at a theme park. Kathy presents American Sign Language storytelling programs through her business, Stories By Hand, and also runs the storytime resource website Storytime Stuff. She is a volunteer director and board president of Deaf Camps, Inc., a nonprofit organization that provides camps for deaf children. Kathy holds a Master of Library Science from the University of Maryland, a Bachelor of English from the Catholic University of America, and a Certificate of American Sign Language Interpreting from the Community College of Baltimore County. She lives in Owings Mills, MD with her husband, son, and a cat named Pancake.