Bestselling author Kathleen Ernst writes award-winning mysteries and historical fiction for both adults and young readers. Her interest in history as well as her experiences working at Old World Wisconsin, an outdoor ethnic museum, influenced her creation of the Chloe Ellefson Historic Sites mystery series. The new book in this series, Heritage of Darkness (Midnight Ink, 2013), finds Chloe on a road trip to Decorah, Iowa, to take rosemaling classes at the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum. Ernst herself enjoys visiting this museum whenever she has the opportunity. Wisconsin is the setting for the three previous Chloe Ellefson books: Old World Murder (2010), The Heirloom Murders (2011), and The Light Keeper's Legacy (2012).
Ernst is the creator of Caroline Abbott, an American Girl historical character, and has written seven books featuring her. The newest Caroline book is Traitor in the Shipyard (2013). In this story, Caroline must deal with the possibility of British spies in Sackets Harbor. Traitor in the Shipyard was nominated for the Agatha Award for Best Children's/Young Reader book. Her books for young readers include eight American Girl mysteries, set between 1732 and 1945, and five novels set during the American Civil War. Her adult nonfiction work, Too Afraid to Cry: Maryland Civilians in the Antietam Campaign, examines experiences of non-combatants during one campaign of the American Civil War.
Ernst has received numerous honors, including the Powers Prize for Best Novel and five Tofte Awards for Best Juvenile 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 Middleton, Wisconsin, enjoys taking research trips to new locales, and loves to hear from her readers.