A New Chapter

Anyone who really knows me is well aware that I’ve been writing a historical fiction novel. 2024 marks a new chapter in the epic journey that started twenty years ago.

At long last, this story will finally be published by Mindstir Media. At the time of this writing, the print book and eBook are done, and an audiobook is in the works. We’ve tentatively slated the launch for March 1. We’re planning an all-out juggernaut of promotion that includes press releases, YouTube commercials, social media campaigns, a virtual book tour. Join my mailing list to keep in touch.

What is this story? In short: Back in the fall of 2003, I learned that my paternal great granduncle (my father’s father’s uncle) was an American missionary who witnessed the rise and fall of Nazi Germany behind enemy lines. He was credited with saving the backwater Bavarian farm town of Schwarzenfeld from reprisals by Patton’s Third Army—and the only weapon he had to defend its population was his faith. His story was well-known to the town, but completely unknown here in the States—or even to his family. When he visited relatives in his hometown of Sharon, PA, he didn’t mention a word of this to anyone.

Until 2003, I had never heard of Fr. Viktor, the Passionists, or the town of Schwarzenfeld. Then a complete twist of fate brought this story to us and changed our lives forever. Since then, we’ve traveled from the Passionist Archives in Union City, NJ, to the National Archives in Washington, DC, to Schwarzenfeld itself. The archival research and witness accounts have all contributed to the historical fiction novel I’ve been working on over the last two decades—The Sower of Black Field.

If you’re interested in knowing more, you’ll want to check out two websites. The first is viktorkoch.com, which presents the bare-bones, unvarnished history (including some gritty Signal Corps photographs in the galleries—viewer discretion advised). You can also find peer-reviewed papers I’ve written for Gathered Fragments, the journal of the Catholic Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania. There’s no fiction on this website. Just archival photos and raw facts.

The second is this website, katherinekoch.com, a hub for me as a writer. In the blog I’ll share more about the discovery, the journey, the research, and the writing process. It’s also bound to reflect my eclectic interests – faith and technology, history and AI. This improbable mixture is the result of being a computer geek who writes scholarly papers and historical fiction. By day I work as a web administrator and digital marketer for an AI company in Austin, Texas. By night I study archival documentation—letters handwritten or typed on century-old yellowed paper. These days my research focus is the history of the Passionist congregation, especially members from my own family tree. In my free time I write stories about their lives.

I know. I’m weird.

The images on this website are (and will predominately be) produced by Midjourney, a generative AI program. It’s awesome—a good visual demonstration the power of artificial intelligence, and why it needs guard rails and human oversight. We’ll have some fun entries on that. The text, on the other hand, will be my authentic words, hammered out with minutes and hours and days of actual human effort. What do I think of AI and its impact on society as a computer scientist, artist, and creative writer? It’s an interesting topic, one I’m bound to write about on this site.

I hope you enjoy all the offerings on my two websites. Bookmark URLs and visit often. Better yet, sign up for the mailing list and I’ll zip you an email when I have something new to share. Like you, I’m a busy human being. I won’t serve up junk. If I carve out time to write, it’s because I have something worth reading. I promise.