One Book Started A Dream
In middle school, a Sunday School teacher gave me a copy of one of Eugenia Price’s novels. It changed my life. I was a teenage reader hooked on the excitement of historical romance novels covered with artwork of half-naked women in the arms of swashbuckling heroes. But Price’s novels were about true characters, thriving despite difficult circumstances, and I found them to be more thrilling than the best dime store novel.
Launched in a Cemetery
As a girl, I loved literature and writing, but hated history. To me, it was just lists of names of presidents, wars, and battlefields. Seeing my interest in Price’s books, my parents took to me to visit the settings of some of her novels. In a fit of enthusiasm, while standing in the cemetery of Christ Church on St. Simons Island, Georgia, I made a vow to one day share the knowledge that history could be alive and exciting.
Decades Later, Reality
After receiving my Master’s Degree in History, I found a job at a historical site in Bradenton, Florida. As a professional historian in Manatee County, Florida for over thirty years, my goal is to present history in creative ways – including, like Price, novels that portray real people enduring hardship, facing fear, and seeking joy.
Past Stories Made Present
On the “skeletons” found in details researched in historical documents, I add the “muscles and features” of my imagination to create stories based on true events and people. It is my prayer that these stories not only tell of the past, but encourage people of the present to look for God’s handiwork and love in everyday events. My life is very busy with a full time job and a houseful of young adults, four dogs, three horses and two cats, but the stories continue to bubble up from within me. With God’s help, they get written though I can often be found sitting amidst a chaotic, messy house, eyes closed, while fingers float over a keyboard!
More about Cathy
Cathy Slusser is a second generation Floridian who grew up in St. Petersburg, but spent holidays and vacations with her grandparents who lived in Manatee County. She moved to Terra Ceia Island in northwest Manatee County in 1979.
Cathy fell in love with history upon reading Eugenia Price novels in Middle School. When she traveled to St. Simons Island, Georgia and saw the places those characters lived, she knew that the subject of history could be alive and exciting. Ever since that time, she has made it her goal to share that message with others.
She has a Bachelor’s Degree in History from Furman University and a Master’s Degree in History from the University of South Florida. She has worked for the Manatee County Clerk of Circuit Court’s Office since 1984 and is Director of Historical Resources. In this role, she supervises five historical sites, the Manatee Village Historical Park, the Manatee County Historical Records Library, and the Florida Maritime Museum, the Palmetto Historical Park, and the Manatee County Agricultural Museum.
Cathy has two grown sons, Rob and Tim, a fabulous daughter-in-law, Miranda, and a daughter of the heart, Christina. She has been married to her husband, Glen, a third generation Floridian since 1981. She enjoys horseback riding, sewing and writing. Cathy is the author of three novels about Manatee County history and the Atzeroth family, first settlers of Terra Ceia Island published as a trilogy called From A Heavenly Land. Cathy is passionate about preserving Manatee County’s past and telling its stories to residents and visitors of all ages