Dreamer. Creator. Believer.
From a very young age, stories and storytelling pursued me like a child’s imaginary friend. I created make-believe characters for every toy that my sister and I owned. Each had an individual personality, back-story, hopes, dreams, and reason for being. The villains were even more intriguing than the heroes and heroines. Why were they so evil? Had something horrible happened to them in their past? How were they connected to their victims? But enough of teddy bears and beanie babies!
Like many children, I was drawn to animals. After my first puppy, I never looked back. My family lived in a rural area and frequently fostered abandoned dogs and orphaned kittens. In time, I learned to care for, show, and judge dairy heifers; raised exotic breeds of chickens; judged poultry; and nurtured injured and abandoned wild animals.
My menagerie of critters grew along with my fascination with all beasts—mythical as well as real. Even now, if you ask which my favorite is, the answer remains a dragon. I read every story and collected every book I could find about them including encyclopedias of mythical beasts and beings. That opened the door to legends, folklore, and world mythologies filled with magic, mystery, and fantasy.
While most of my friends left the world of make-believe behind, I resolutely continued on my path of tom-boyishness and refused to stop believing in the unseen. I imagined worlds intertwined in an immense universe filled with talking animals, unending adventures, and enchanted weapons. My favorite character had twelve special possessions that helped her on her quests. I can still name them all, but that’s for another time. What is important is that I fully embraced her spirit and wanted to do everything that she could do. That included archery. So for six years, I competed in recurve archery tournaments. In 2007, I was honored to represent Georgia at a national tournament in Rapid City, SD. Our team – the only all-female team - placed third, and I was the highest scoring female competitor. The dynamics of competition would give rise to similar situations in Issaura’s Claws.
One other passion came into play. I wanted other people to see what I imagined. Fortunately, I loved to draw. Now, it was time to take my interest in art seriously.
During my college years at Mercer University, these different threads were woven together. I majored in fine art, which gave me the opportunity to hone raw skill and develop my own personal style. However, I also double majored in psychology with an emphasis in animal behavior. My curiosity about animals challenged me to learn how they thought and thus behaved. One result was that I became a licensed wildlife rehabilitator in the state of Georgia. My summers were filled with caring for and raising numerous wild mammals and domestic birds for release into the wild. Finally, I began to work on the characters, ideas, and plots that would become the Incarn Saga.
Shortly after graduation another special animal entered my life: Alli, a rescued American bulldog/pit mix. I had the opportunity to train and work with the sweetest dog ever. In the meantime, I provided marketing services for the Steffen Thomas Museum of Art located in Buckhead, Georgia. When the Ogden Museum in New Orleans had a show of Thomas’s work, I attended the opening reception. I was hooked. Here was a city that had the same eclectic flavor and lust for life as I had. I accepted an internship at the Audubon Zoo and Alli and I relocated to the “Big Easy”.
I am now a full-time writer and artist. Staying true to who I am, my reverse-glass paintings, especially those using recycled windows from Hurricane Katrina, feature an array of domestic and wild animals often with a New Orleans theme. Envision squirrels playing with Mardi Gras beads flung into a tree, or my dog, Alli, with a chef’s hat quizzically studying the fixin’s for a crayfish boil. Commissions include everything from pet portraits to swamp gators! Better yet, check out my website at katharinewibell.wixsite.com/kwibellart or visit Zele and/or RHINO Contemporary Crafts Co. on Magazine Street if you visit the Crescent City.
Most importantly, I have focused my time on getting The Incarn Saga published. You can purchase Issaura’s Claws , Ullr's Fangs and Crocotta's Hackles now. The final book, Giahem's Talons, will be published in 2019.
The Incarn Saga is a young adult fantasy series inspired by ancient myths, filled with fast-paced action and adventure, and enriched by an understanding of animal behavior that defines the shape-shifting Theriomorphs. I hope you enjoy it!