Kathleen Ernst, social historian, educator, and novelist, writes fiction for young readers and adults. She created Caroline Abbott, an American Girl historical character, and a number of bestselling books about her. The seventh and latest book, Traitor in the Shipyard, finds Caroline dealing with the possibility of British spies in Sackets Harbor during the War of 1812. Ernst's writing for young readers also includes eight American Girl mysteries, set between 1732 and 1945, and five novels set during the American Civil War.
Ernst worked for a number of years as a curator at Old World Wisconsin, a large outdoor ethnic museum, and this experience influenced her creation of the Chloe Ellefson Historic Sites mysteries. These books include Old World Murder, The Heirloom Murders, and, most recently, The Light Keeper's Legacy, which is set in Door County. She also wrote Too Afraid to Cry: Maryland Civilians in the Antietam Campaign, a nonfiction work examining experiences of non-combatants during one campaign of the American Civil War.
Among the honors she has received are the Powers Prize for Best 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. Ernst lives in Madison, Wisconsin, but enjoys taking research trips to new locales.
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