History as a Story

Katharine Brophy Dubois uses historical facts to feed her fiction writing

Katharine Brophy Dubois, who writes under the pen name "Katharine Ashe," has published seven full-length historical romance novels.

Name: Katharine Brophy DuboisPosition: Visiting assistant professor, Department of HistoryYears at Duke: 5

What I do at Duke: I principally teach undergrads, focusing on courses on medieval Christianity, how medieval Christianity is represented in film and fiction and sexuality and gender. I also write historical fiction. I always loved reading it growing up and my first full-length novel was historical fiction.

If I had $5 million, I would: First, I would pay off the debt of any of my loved ones. I would donate what I had left over to social relief organizations where the money could go directly to those in need. I would focus on housing and hunger, especially in children. That children in this state and country live in poverty is dreadful.

My first ever job: I was a cashier at a Roy Rogers fast food restaurant where I grew up in St. Davids, Pennsylvania. I had to wear a straw cowboy hat, red polyester shirt and a denim jumper dress. It was so awful to wear as a 16-year old. I worked there my sophomore year of high school because I needed to make some money and have an activity outside of school.

My dream job: I have my dream jobs. I love teaching university students and I have always wanted to write historical fiction. At this time I don't want to do anything else.

If someone wanted to start a conversation with me they should ask me about: My family, which is hugely important to me. I could go on and on about my husband, our son, my sisters and brother or my mom.

The best advice I ever received: You should do what drives you, what gives you energy and gives you joy. You shouldn't let anybody convince you to love something you don't or think you don't know what is right for you.

What I love about Duke: I love that it's both a place of exciting intellectual endeavor and also a place where people are human. There's a great connectivity of the intellectual, social and spiritual realms here. It's a truly humanistic university.

When I'm not at work, I like to: I like to run and do a little gardening. I also love to be at the beach. The Atlantic Ocean is my favorite, but I'm happy with any saltwater beach.

If I could have one superpower, it would be: The ability to erase hatred, intolerance and fear from humanity.

Something most people don't know about me: For a long time, peers within the university community didn't know I write romance fiction. I hesitated to share that because of the bad reputation it has. But it's a broad genre with all sorts of readers. Romance fiction is a huge industry and holds a lion's share of the popular fiction market. Despite that - or perhaps because of it - romance often gets a bad rap.