K. (Katie) Lang-Slattery

K. (Katie) Lang-Slattery was born during World War II and raised in 1950s Southern California where she enjoyed a childhood filled with reading, drawing, and long days at the beach. College took her to Los Angeles where she studied art and English at UCLA, graduated with a BFA, and then undertook graduate work in art and education at the University of the Americas in Mexico City. After years as a teacher, artist, traveler, and mother, she returned to her early love of writing. Her stories and articles have been published in several highly rated magazines for the youth market, including Spider, Ladybug, Jack and Jill, Boys’ Life, and Faces.

In the 1990s, Lang-Slattery became fascinated with her uncle’s World War II stories and began taping his memories. Soon she knew she had found a fascinating untold story of Jewish refugees who became silent heroes. More than a decade spent researching, interviewing Ritchie Boys, and turning the true story of her uncle into fiction became an odyssey of discovery that resulted in her first adult novel, Immigrant Soldier, The Story of a Ritchie Boy.

“I wanted to tell this story,” she says, “because it was different from any other Holocaust story I had read. The Jewish hero is not a victim, but a young man who gradually grows from a frightened and frustrated teenager, looking for a place to belong, into a confident US Army intelligence officer who struggles with the conflicting emotions of hate and forgiveness.”

Katie has become an expert on the secret heroes known as The Ritchie Boys and her experiences as an indie-publisher have given her insight into this long and complicated process. Always an educator, she is happy to share what she has learned along the way with book groups and at libraries, museums, and to Veteran’s groups.

After two years promoting her novel, Lang-Slattery returned to writing. Her early chapter book series is  based on her childhood memories of summer camp. Written for ages five to ten, Tagalong Caitlin is about a little girl with big ideas, determination, and a plan to reach her goal. Caitlin’s Buddy is about outdoor skills and friendship.

Her newest book, Wherever the Road Leads, A Memoir of Love, Travel, and a Van, recounts living and traveling in a Volkswagen microbus, an adventure that lasted two years and crossed four continents. The memoir reveals the ups and downs of a new marriage developing against the unusual background of exotic locations and van travel in a world before the Internet and cell phones.

Katie lives in Laguna Beach, only steps from her childhood home. She finds tranquility simply by looking out the large windows of her living room toward a view of her garden and Aliso Peak beyond.

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