In Short (bio)
Kate Brandes lives in the small river town of Riegelsville, Pennsylvania, with her husband and two sons. She’s a fiction writer and artist interested in local confluences of people, place, and nature. Kate’s also worked as a geologist and environmental scientist for twenty years. She currently teaches geology and a course on Landscape, Culture and Story of Place at Moravian College.
What I’m Interested In
I’ve spent most of my career working on environmental problems as a scientist in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. I’ve done lots of environmental projects and written many technical documents (for more on that see my work on environmental science issues.)
However, feelings, emotions, personal influences, place, community, and so much more affect how we feel, think about, and act in our immediate surroundings. I explore these complexities through writing and painting.
Some Personal Details
I love to garden and look for wildflowers in the woods. A favorite pastime of mine is stalking wild orchids. I’ve seen over twenty different kinds in North America.
I love adventures, especially ones in the outdoors. I jump in and go, and don’t mind doing it alone. I like wide-open spaces, seeing new things and places, and solitude.
I’m interested in the topics of abandonment, memory, identity, rural America, place, home, and boundaries. These topics have a recurring theme in my work.
Three is my lucky number.
The Longer Story
I grew up all over the east coast (born in Chapel Hill, NC; early childhood in New Orleans then Madison, TN before moving to Youngstown, OH.) I’ve lived in Pennsylvania since middle school. I had a deep southern accent as a child that faded over time, but I’m told it still creeps in every once in a while. I was raised by a single mother who started medical school the day I started first grade.
I went to college at Penn State University, earning a B.S. in geology and then attended North Carolina State University where I earned a M.S. in hydrogeology. I worked for six years in private consulting as a geologist and earned my professional geologist certification. Following that I got more interested in environmental conservation issues and worked for the government and non-profit organizations as an environmental scientist. Throughout my professional career I’ve served as a technical writer in many capacities. I currently design and install gardens featuring native plants to support the local ecosystem.
I’ve journaled and read fiction all my life and dreamed of writing creatively. I started my first short story at the age of thirty-five after my first son was born. It took me two years to finish. I picked up my first paintbrush at forty. Of all the things I’ve done, after my family, I’m most proud of my creative work.
At present, I’m a member of the Arts Community of Easton (ACE), The Lehigh Valley Arts Council, the SciArt Center, Pennwriters, and the Women’s Fiction Writers Association.