Kristen Koster (née Johnson)
Class of 1990
Major/Minor: Economics and Business Management
Kristen Koster is an author of Regency Romance. She currently serves on the Board of The Beau Monde Chapter of RWA®.
How has your liberal arts education influenced you? How do you apply your LAE in your current career?
The liberal arts education I received at Washington College provided me with constant opportunities to explore interests far outside my declared major fields of study and probably got me in trouble for not fitting inside a neat and orderly box at graduate school or in the corporate world. I nearly had a minor in music and repeatedly found myself gravitating toward the various arts (musical, theater, graphic and literary). Even as far back as my freshman year, I felt at home in the O’Neill Literary House even though I had no thoughts at the time of writing as a career. Though by my junior year, I had started writing a romance novel that got pushed aside the next year for my thesis on why the Savings & Loan Industry kept failing. Little did I know then that I’d take a detour through video games only to end up putting many of my business skills to use on my path to becoming an historical romance author. And what a joy to find two other WC grads also writing in the Regency Era!
Who was your favorite faculty/staff member? Story?
I have so many fond memories of the amazing faculty and staff at Washington College that I can’t do them all justice in 1000 characters. Some of our favorite wedding gifts were from favorite faculty members. But what I remember most is how the whole WC community was a huge family – from the President and everyone in Bunting, to the faculty, to the dining hall staff, to the maids, to the security guards. WC looked out for its own.
After I graduated in ’90, I still spent a lot of time on campus as my husband Raph was two years behind me. I spent many of my days with Mike Kaylor in the Lit House press room. I loved the feel of the paper and the type, the smell of the ink and pipe smoke, and the hum of the press with Paul Simon and Sweet Honey in the Rock playing in the background. I found a sense of peace and belonging there and I gained a different perspective on the printed word and myself in that press room thanks to him.
What is your favorite Washington College memory?
How the first lab for my freshman biology class on the Chesapeake Bay turned out to be a crab feast? Upholding traditions by sledding in front of the Hill dorms on trays from the dining hall like my mother had in the ’60s? Sitting under the Elm to read The Elm? Midnight Breakfasts during final exams? Dancing to The Incorrigibles or The Sacred Cows in the Coffee House? Nancy Tatum taking her Shakespeare class to the Folger Library or the Morris-Mechanic for some theater in the round? Garry Clarke taking his Opera class to the Kennedy Center? Far too many to list them all.
All good memories, but our wedding at the Hynson Pavilion ranks at the very top. We set the date for a week before Raph’s graduation to make travel for both events easier on his family and so we could invite as many of our friends among the students and faculty as possible. Turns out it was also Mother’s Day and the best gift I ever gave my mom was a son-in-law.
Kristen is a member of Romance Writers of America® and belongs to the local San Diego chapter as well as The Beau Monde online chapter for writers of Regency Era romantic fiction.