Katherine V. Forrest thinks that there’s something about a 40th birthday that focuses the mind. At least, that’s how it worked for her. She’d always wanted to write a book. So at 40, spurred on by her partner, she did.

It took a bit longer than anticipated: she’d figured on six months, ended up taking three years. But that “it” was Curious Wine.

It was not long before she created another classic: the novella O Captain, My Captain. It became an instant favourite — it’s even referenced by the writers of “The L Word”; “O Captain, My Captain” said one woman as she tumbled her lover into bed … Katherine herself ranks it among her best work. In fact, she says, “I’ve often thought I should have written an entire novel about Captain Drake. Several novels, perhaps. I just might.” (Yes, please!) The story had long been out of print. So Katherine was delighted when Bywater republished it, in the collection of short stories Dreams and Swords. (We were pretty pleased too.) The edition also features a new story, “A Leopard’s Spots,” which features “a couple of older characters I’m particularly fond of.”

Katherine’s skill as a writer meant that it was only a matter of time before she “crossed over” to a mainstream audience. It’s not a notion that particularly interests her. When she does consider “crossing over,” the people she wants to reach are her gay brothers. Besides, she’s proud to write for lesbian readers — she created Kate Delafield, the first lesbian police officer in American fiction, and the ninth book in the series, High Desert, will be published on December 15, 2013.

But it’s not just as a writer that Katherine has served — and continues to serve — the gay community. For ten years, she was a senior editor at Naiad Press, and she is currently a supervising editor at Spinsters Ink. She used to sit on the board of trustees of the Lambda Literary Foundation and served as its interim president.

Katherine lives in Palm Springs, CA, with her wife Jo, and two cats.

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