This is rather long … well, I do write novels, after all … you have been warned!


The very English “Headlee” surname comes courtesy of my husband, Christopher Randolph Headlee. As for myself—Kim Deirdre Iverson Headlee—I am mostly German, with varying bits of Norwegian, Russian and Spanish thrown in for good measure. Some of my ancestors were explorers, accompanying Coronado and, centuries more recently, Thor Heyerdahl. The German side produced a line of military officers back in the days when commissions were hereditary. Tradition also asserts there were the requisite horse-thieves and politicians swinging through the family tree throughout the American midwest, and even a Heisman Trophy winner (Bruce Smith, Minnesota, 1941). On the Russian side, I am the great-great-great niece of composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.

Perhaps my German military ancestry influenced me—though not consciously!—to apply for admittance in the US Air Force Academy. Due to my decade-plus experience as a competitive swimmer, my abysmal eyesight was waived so that I could be accepted into the Class of '81, the second class to admit women.

During the two years I spent at the Academy, by far the most important thing that happened to me was the decision to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I've held memberships in Lutheran, Baptist, Presbyterian and non-denominational churches over the years, and I have enjoyed worshiping with many other Christian groups as circumstances permit, including worship services at St. Peter's Cathedral in London, the Chapel at the Tower of London, and the Russian Orthodox Church in Talinn, Estonia … delivered in Estonian! As an avowed non-denominationalist, I try to remain sensitive to the Spirit's leading in this regard.

The second most important "meeting" during my Academy days was of my (then) future husband, Chris. In 1979 he graduated and went on to his first posting at Griffiss AFB, Rome, NY, blissfully unaware at the time that he was fated to marry me. I disenrolled and went in the opposite direction, back home to Seattle, where I launched my computer career at Boeing. We finally got our acts (and ourselves) together three years later to be married in the Griffiss chapel on 12 June 1982. No, I did not leave the Academy to get married! In fact if I had been pilot-qualified, I probably would have stayed. As a cadet I got opportunities to fly T-37 and T-33 jet trainers, and absolutely LOVED it.

But then, who knows what this page would have looked like? <grin>

Another memorable meeting occurred during the summer between doolie and three-degree (freshman and sophomore, for you non-Academy types) years, when I had the unique honor of spending the day with (then) Prince Reza Pahlavi II, now His Majesty Reza Shah II, son of the late Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi of Iran. I will spare you the details: as part of the Academy's requisite survival training program it was no genteel tea party, I assure you!

After Griffiss, Chris was selected to get his Master's degree at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, while I kept my computer contractor job and minded the home fires (plus dog and two cats) in Rome.

Then we hoofed it back to the Academy so that Chris could be a Math instructor. I was fortunate enough to land another computer consulting job, but without an undergrad degree to my name I knew my luck would run out sooner or later. So with my Academy credits, plus miscellaneous courses I'd taken at the University of Washington and the State University of New York, I applied to Colorado Technical College of Colorado Springs (now Colorado Technical University), and enrolled in their program of Defense Systems Management, a cross between computer programming and DoD contracting. In 1989—after a grueling year of being employed full-time, enrolled as a full-time student, and mother of our (then) 3-year-old son, I finally finished the degree as one of the first graduates of such a program in the country.

My drawn-out and at times extremely intensive academic career can be best summed up as: "Kids, don't do this at home!" In all seriousness, if you're in high school now, please do yourself a favor: graduate from high school, go to college when you're able to afford it, and get it over with!! You'll be a lot better off in the long run; trust me.

Besides being a mom, a computer software engineer and student, an activity I became involved with while in Colorado Springs was classical oratorio singing. As a first-soprano member of the Soli Deo Gloria Chorus, I performed (among other works) Joseph Haydn's The Creation, Felix Mendelssohn's Elijah, and George F. Handel's Messiah. I also helped premiere a new Christmas oratorio written by a member of the USAFA concert band, and participated with members of three other choruses in a concert to commemorate the bicentennial of the signing of the Constitution.

From Colorado Springs we moved to Fayetteville, NC, where Chris was assigned to Pope AFB—on the eve of Operation Desert Shield, which ultimately became Desert Storm. Since Fort Bragg deployed the first troops to the Middle East, it was a very interesting time indeed.

With school out of the way—which left spouse, child and professional duties to contend with (not to mention writing!)—I became involved in the effort to establish an oratorio chorus in Fayetteville, the Cumberland Oratorio Singers, organized in the wake of an emotional performance of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Requiem to commemorate the 200th anniversary of his death (1991). I served on the Steering Committee and later on the first Board of Directors. The group performed Messiah and The Creation before Chris was transferred to the Washington, DC area in the fall of 1993.

We lived in Centreville, VA with our kids, cats and a fluid population of freshwater tropical fish for the next 11 years. Our daughter was born in December 1995—9.5 years almost to the day after the birth of her brother—and none of our lives have been the same since! A few of my favorite DC-area sites to visit, in person as well as via the Web, are the Smithsonian, Wolf Trap Park (featuring a 6-day run of Robert Goulet's Camelot in September 1998, which I enjoyed immensely; my comprehensive review is available here), and the National Cathedral.

In 2005 we were blessed to be able to sell our Centreville house for enough profit to "buy the farm"—i.e., we paid off the loan we had taken out in 2000 to purchase a hundred-acre farm just outside Wytheville, VA. So now we own the dirt, plus a half-acre pond, the remains of a 250-year-old house site, a cave (which our kids have explored), nine cats, sixteen goats, ±ten fish, and God knows how many furry & feathery "visitors" we get from time to time. Still paying off the main house, but we do have a workable Plan B, should we ever have to sell it. When we first bought the land, we built a small but fully appointed vacation house on a back pasture, which is now lien-free … if a bit tricky to get to in sloppy weather, unless one has four hooves and four stomachs.

Although I always will be a City Girl at heart in general, and a Seattlite in particular, I do enjoy the peace & quiet here. In addition to writing, I help Chris with his high school teaching tasks, such as revamping his resource site, Headlee's Math Mansion.

Welcome to Rural America, indeed.
Thank God we now (finally!) have DSL broadband Internet.

And thank God I love to travel. I have been fortunate to have visited more than 30 countries worldwide, as well as most states in the US. Some of my favorite places include, in no particular order, Snoqualmie Falls (WA, US), New York City (NY, US), London (England), Cairo (Egypt), Luxembourg (Luxembourg), Edinburgh (Scotland), Victoria (Canada), Harpers Ferry (WV, US), Hong Kong (China), Boston (MA, US), Rome (Italy), Baltimore Inner Harbor (MD, US), Paris (France), Cabo San Lucas (Mexico), Bermuda (UK), Vail (CO, US), Mont St. Michel (France), the Blue Ridge Parkway (mid-Atlantic US), Harrison Hot Springs (Canada), St. Petersburg (Russia), and any place that serves as a portal to the ruins of ancient civilizations (Maya, Roman, Egyptian, Celtic, Pictish, etc.) or where one can swim with dolphins.

As far as visual media goes, I'm a great fan of (surprise!) anything Arthurian, including off-beat productions such as First Knight and Quest For Camelot. My should-be-sainted father sat with me through a viewing of Clive Owen's King Arthur movie when it was first released to theatres in July 2004 … and he had to put up with my ranting that certain aspects of the movie had been liberally "borrowed" from Dawnflight, first published in 1999 and it had existed in complete draft form since January 1990. It all became clear when I recognized the name of an Internet acquaintance in the movie's credits, listed as one of the historical consultants for the film. Later, I received fan mail from someone who had never contacted me before, and even this complete stranger noticed the similarities. The irony is that if I had been paid for the privilege of adapting my novel to the screen, the movie would have been far, FAR better. imHo :)

I also like animated movies in general (especially Disney neo-classics like Beauty and the Beast and Dreamworks' Viking-themed How to Train Your Dragon), the original Star Wars installments, and television shows Eureka, Star Trek:Deep Space Nine, Babylon 5, Burn Notice, Psych, the sundry Stargate incarnations (except for the should-have-been-drowned-at-birth “Stargate Galactica”—i.e., Stargate:Universe), and the now-ended Monk.

And yes, as implied in an article posted elsewhere on this site, I really did make my wedding dress, and I spent about six months on the local craft circuit in 1994, mostly with crib quilts and art-deco-ish stuffed coyotes. Other interests include downhill skiing, gardening, collecting unicorns, and reading. Oh yeah, and writing. <grin> I'll bet you couldn't tell that at all, could you? Nope, not at all!

Revised 11 March 2013