Kathen was born into a family of writers. Her father was Head of the Editorial Dept at Oceana Publications and later started his own company, North River Press. Her mother, an activist and part time politician, acted as occasional editor and wrote prolifically.
Big changes occurred in the early part of Kathen’s life. In 1959, she and her family relocated to Salzburg, Austria, where her father took an early job as Recruiter for the Salzburg Seminar at the Schloss Leopoldskron. The two-year stay influenced, greatly, Kathen’s fantasy outlook on life. The castle, where the family lived, a Rococo Palace in southern Salzburg, was later featured in the movie, The Sound of Music. It was a magical place, with secret staircases in the library, hazelnut groves, pin pong tables, fancy and ornate banquet rooms, ancient fireplaces, etc. Here, Kathen studied first grade and learned to read and write in German.
Kathen and her family returned to the United States in 1961 and she had a difficult adjustment to American schools over next few years. At age eight, Kathen began violin lessons in the elementary school in Pelham Manor, NY. She continued her violin studies, and it later became her career. She studied with Gabriel Banat of the NY Philharmonic and Thomas Michalak of the Scranton Symphony and Ithaca College. At age 42, Kathen, married with two young children, received her certification to teach music in the public school system, and then did so for 15 years. She also accomplished a Master’s in Creative Writing in 1998.
Writing was a natural transition once Kathen retired from teaching, in 2016. Her bent for interesting, unusual people, and for fantasy in general, have become the center of her life, and she has currently published four books, with two more in the works.