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Patricia K. Morrison


"Born the heir of intergalactic royalty, I was abandoned by gypsies and raised by wolves. Well, no, I wasn't; I only act that way. For the record, I was born in New York City on 4 March 1946 at seven in the evening, which -- for the zodiacally inclined -- makes me Pisces, Virgo rising, Moon in Aries." So writes Patricia Kennealy Morrison in her 1992 Dutton memoir, Strange Days: My Life With and Without Jim Morrison. The author of the Keltiad fantasy series, Kennealy grew up on Long Island in a strict, traditional Irish Catholic family. She spent two years at Saint Bonaventure University, where she majored in journalism, became a practicing Celtic witch and, as the captain of the women's rifle team, learned to shoot M-1s and M-16s -- and very well, too. She graduated with a B.A. in English literature from Harpur College (now SUNY-Binghamton) in June 1967, having worked her way through senior year as a go-go dancer ("not topless!") in local roadhouses. After a few months as a harmless drudge of a lexicographer working on a dictionary at Macmillan, she landed "the best job in this world or any other": editorial assistant on a progressive rock music magazine called Jazz & Pop; and in 1968, at the ripe old age of twenty-two, she became its editor-in-chief. In the line of duty, as editor and rock critic (one of the first woman rock critics ever), Kennealy was forced to go to the Fillmore East every weekend (sometimes to all four shows, oh-the-horror) and clubs and concerts all week long, compelled (egads!) to attend Woodstock and other legendary moments of the 60s, and required to interview people like Grace Slick, Janis Joplin, James Taylor, Alvin Lee, Jeff Beck, Jerry Garcia, Jimmy Page -- and, oh yeah, Jim Morrison. Not in the line of duty, the rock critic and the Lizard King fell in love; after a slightly old-fashioned and deeply untraditional courtship ("We were the first of the bicoastal couples"), they were married in a Celtic ceremony on June 24, 1970, in New York. Thirteen months later, Morrison died in Paris of a heroin overdose, although he was not a user; the true cause and circumstances of his death were covered up for many years and it is Patricia's unshakable belief that he was in fact murdered.

She began seriously to write her Keltiad novels in the early 80s ("though Jim was the first person to hear about them, back in 1970, when I first had the idea"), after a career in advertising that earned her two Cleo nominations. The first book of The Keltiad, The Copper Crown (a Compton Crook finalist), appeared in 1984; the paperback edition of that work saw the beginning of her long-standing author-artist partnership with illustrator Thomas Canty. "I saw his paintings on the very last day of a fantasy art show here in New York and cried out at once in a mighty voice, 'THAT'S the guy for my Kelts!' And so he has been, ever since." Other books in the series to date are The Throne of Scone (1986), he Silver Branch (1988), The Hawk's Gray Feather (1990), The Oak above the Kings (1994), and The Hedge of Mist (1995), all from ROC Books.

In 1989, she became involved with director Oliver Stone's 1991 film The Doors. She also had a small cameo part in the film officiating at her own marriage ceremony, and was herself portrayed by actress Kathleen Quinlan. (She gives Quinlan high marks for her acting, but Stone low marks indeed for the screenplay.) At present, Kennealy Morrison is working on her next fantasy novel, a pair of screenplays and a book on Celtic magic. She is a Chevaliere of the Ordo Supremus Militaris Templi Hierosolymitani (the real, original Knights Templar -- which makes her "Dame Patricia"), a High Priestess in Celtic pagan tradition, a member of Mensa and "with all those seriously disturbed individuals worshipping my Jim -- literally! -- as a god, I'd say that makes me a goddess by marriage. But my preferred title is, of course, Lizard Queen!"

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