E. Katherine Kottaras is originally from Chicago, and now she writes and teaches in the Los Angeles area. She holds an M.A. in English from the University of California, Irvine and teaches writing and literature at Pasadena City College. She is an active member of NCTE and SCBWI, as well as a proud board member of the Children’s Literature Council of Southern California. Katherine is interested in the stories we tell, the stories we are given, and the ways we can redefine our worlds by discovering which stories are true.
She is the author of the YA contemporary novel, HOW TO BE BRAVE (2015) and the forthcoming THE BEST POSSIBLE ANSWER (2016), both from St. Martin’s Press/Griffin Teen.
E. Katherine Kottaras was born in a booth, or at least that’s what her mother always said. She spent a good majority of her childhood at Dyner’s Restaurant, located on the corner of Grand and State in Chicago, Illinois. Her daily after-school snack was French fries and feta cheese. She took piano, violin, ballet and tap; she still doesn’t know how to play an instrument, but various personal trainers have commented on her innate coordination and ability to freestyle. She spent her high school days shocking plants for the science fair, researching early twentieth century architects for the history fair, and planting trees for the Eco-Club. In other words, she was a nerd – and a proud one at that.
Though she began her time at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign as a Bio-Triple-E major (Ecology, Ethology, and Evolution), within a matter of weeks, she realized that she missed her English classes, which had always been her favorite. By her second semester, she had announced her desire to become a high school English teacher. She loved to read and write, and she wanted to encourage this love in others.
Urbana-Champaign was also where she met the love of her life, Matthew, who’s now her hubby and who she still thinks is as cute as the day she first spotted him in his striped shirt. She convinced him to leave the very cold Illinois winters for the mosquito-free, sun-filled, bougainvillea-laden world of southern California. She has spent the last fifteen years completing her graduate degree, teaching literature, rhetoric and creative writing at both the high school and community college levels, and working hard at becoming a real L.A. hippie. Yes, she gardens, goes to farmer’s markets, and teaches yoga.
She also writes and writes and writes. She loves projects, especially if they involve freshly sharpened pencils, a glue stick, and chopping onions (not necessarily all at the same time.) Her debut young adult novel is set in her hometown of Chicago.